Work will soon begin on the first major renewal project at the Sydney Opera House: the upgrade and re-fit of the Joan Sutherland Theatre (JST). As part of the project, the theatre will be upgraded with new machinery and associated infrastructure.

The JST upgrade is the first project in a larger, $202-million program of renewal works funded by the NSW government.

Today, NSW arts minister Don Harwin joined with Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron and The Australian Ballet artistic director David McAllister to present final plans for the multi-million dollar renewal upgrade, which will get off the ground later this month.

A key objective of the Joan Sutherland Theatre upgrade - designed by Scott Carver Architects - is the replacement of ageing theatre machinery. Additional works will be carried out to improve the functionality, accessibility, safety and acoustics at the world-renowned venue.

Particular highlights of the upgraded space will be a new theatre flying system; an improved grid deck; and a better rigging system. Regarding this latter, a new bridge will be installed for rigging lights. Smaller, upgraded equipment will also free up space for the reconfiguration of the performance area.

The Joan Sutherland Theatre will be closed for seven months from May until December 2017 for the renewal, but the rest of the Opera House - including on-site restaurants - will remain open throughout construction.