The removal of the existing events marquee at the north-eastern corner of Bennelong Point will make way for the Opera House’s new indoor Function Centre.

The centre will be able to facilitate events such as community celebrations, intimate gatherings and small-scale performances. 

The Function Centre is the second project in the $273 million program of building works planned for the Opera House’s Decade of Renewal. Patterson Building Group (PBG) has been appointed to deliver the centre, which has been designed by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, who did the 2015 fit-out of the Opera House’s award-winning Bennelong restaurant. 

Features of the new centre include:

  • Capacity for 190 people seated and 500 standing 
  • Available year-round, unlike the existing external function marquee, which is weather-dependent
  • Allow removal of the existing marquee from the Northern Broadwalk, which impedes external views of the building
  • Provide dramatic views of Sydney Harbour from the inside, with floor-to-ceiling windows and direct access to the Northern Broadwalk
  • Includes a 320sqm main function room and a 250sqm kitchen

The existing events marquee is in the process of being removed. Image: Sydney Opera House

Referred to as “unsightly” and “intrusive” by heritage experts and members of the public alike, the existing events marquee has received criticism for its obstruction of Sydney Harbour.

“The [Opera House] is loved by people everywhere, in so many ways, and it’s important it continues to inspire people well into the 21st century,” says Sydney Opera House Heritage Consultant, Alan Croker.

“The changes now underway with the redevelopment of the Function Centre respect Utzon’s vision and support the conservation of the Opera House by removing the intrusive marquee from the Northern Broadwalk.”

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron expressed the same sentiment, stating, “We are delighted to have completed significant upgrades to the Joan Sutherland Theatre. The next project in our Decade of Renewal involves removing the existing intrusive marquee and creating a first-class functions facility within the building.”

Construction of the Function Centre will begin in 2018.