Posts Tagged ‘Lyric Theatre’
The NSW Government has approved expenditure and called for tenders for the planned walkway between Wynyard Station and Barangaroo.
Early works on the pedestrian link between Wynyard Station and Barangaroo will begin in May, after the State government shortlisted three applicants to design and construct the project.
The so-called Wynyard Walk will enter the station through Clarence Street, feeding directly onto the station concourse.
A nine-metre wide tunnel will also run from Wynyard to the intersection of Kent and Napoleon streets.
The tunnel will link to a pedestrian bridge across Sussex Street. There will be lifts and escalators down to the ground level of Barangaroo.
The project, then known as the ”Barangaroo Pedestrian Link”, was approved at a total cost of $286 million (Yes, thats right $286 Million for a six minute walkway !!) by the Keneally Labor government. NONE of the cost will be borne by the Barangaroo developer, Lend Lease.
The new walkway will allow pedestrians to walk between Wynyard Station and the Barangaroo waterfront in approximately six minutes, avoiding current steep inclines and numerous road crossings. When completed, Barangaroo is expected to accommodate 23,000 office workers and attract up to 33,000 visitors daily.
Shame these 33,000 visitors and 23,000 office walkers will have no entertainment facilities in this new, major city mega-redevelopment.
Meanwhile yesterday, Disney Theatrical Productions announced the return of THE LION KING after a seven-year hiatus.
The musical, is to open in Sydney in December 2013 with an Australian cast, and will be competing for audiences with big-stage local productions KING KONG and STRICTLY BALLROOM, both produced by Australian-owned Global Creatures.
Veteran producer John Frost is preparing for the world premiere in Sydney in May of a new stage musical based on the Hollywood movie AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. THE ADDAMS FAMILY is also scheduled for the Capitol Theatre in March 2013.
Despite the recent announcement of plans to revitalise/rebuild the stage and backstage facilities of the State Theatre in Market Street ( see http://operainsider.info/index.php/state-theatre-sydney-to-get-major-backstage-renovations/ ), Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet continuing to work in a grossly sub-standard so-called lyric theatre in the Sydney Opera House, and audience growth rates for musicals estimated at 10% annually, no decision has been reached to build a new 2,000 seat lyric theatre at Barangaroo ! It seems incongruous that NSW can afford $286 million for a 6 minute walkway, but is incapable of spending much less for a theatre which would add a cultural hotspot for Barangaroo and make it a thriving district at night. Or perhaps as Mr Keating suggests, the clowns involved in this decision making probably feel another 20 Cargo Bars is good enough !
Wake up Mr O’Farrell and Mr Souris and give Barangaroo, Sydney and NSW the theatre facilities it sorely needs and deserves. Better still build a new Arts Centre at Barangaroo and provide NSW with the Arts Centre we should have had built in the 1960′s.
This situation wouldn’t happen in Victoria.
PICTURE: Sydney’s State Theatre
A $32 MILLION proposal to extend the State Theatre’s stage and backstage facilities could breathe new life into one of Sydney’s most beautiful venues.
A development application from the State Theatre owner, Amalgamated Holdings (AHL), to extend the stage includes a proposal to demolish the two-storey Mick Simmons building, including the wall between the theatre and the store. That would make room for renovations to the theatre before a new 16-storey retail and commercial building was built facing George Street.
The proposal is part of a long-term plan by AHL, dating back to 2005 when it bought the Mick Simmons building for $12.5 million, to make the State Theatre suitable for major theatre and musical productions. The theatre suffers from a lack of wing space, a proscenium arch opening no bigger than the Opera Theatre of the Sydney Opera House, a triangular shaped stage and a small loading dock. AHL is also converting the upper levels of the heritage-listed theatre and the Gowings building next door into a 196-suite boutique hotel.
Theatre and opera producers have been calling for a third lyric theatre to be built in Sydney. Currently, the State Theatre stage and back-of-house facilities are not sufficient to accommodate some large and/or international productions. As a result, the theatre and Sydney are not able to attract certain entertainment productions to its stage and are losing these productions to other theatres and Australian states. Opera Australia will stage Wagner’s epic RING CYCLE in Melbourne next year because the production is too big for the Opera Theatre at the Sydney Opera House. In recent years Melbourne has beaten Sydney to more musical premieres because it has more large theatres.
AHL has declined to comment while the development application is before the City of Sydney Council. The DA for the work was lodged with the City of Sydney Council on the 24th November 2011.
(http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Development/DAsOnExhibition/DASearch/Detail.aspx?id=1035603). In documents lodged with the council it said it wanted to extend the theatre to ”accommodate a greater variety of productions and ensure the long-term viability of the historically significant State Theatre”.
The theatre producer John Frost said audiences experienced a ”sense of awe” when they entered the State Theatre and it would be fantastic if the extensions enabled major musical productions to be staged there. ”I think everything [AHL] are doing sounds spot-on, but I would like to think they would get the right advice on how to do it from a technical and theatrical point of view,” he said.
The chief executive of Opera Australia, Adrian Collette, said it had never used the State Theatre, but ”if the State Theatre get their DA approved … we would be silly not to look at it”.
The proposed backstage renovations will certainly enhance both the State Theatre’s and Sydney’s ability to stage a comparable number of musicals to Melbourne, but whether the planned works delivers a large enough stage or orchestra pit for the largest of musicals and large scale opera remains to be seen. The near for an additional NEW lyric theatre may still be required, particularly during any prolonged closure for several years of the Opera Theatre of the Sydney Opera House for the long recommended major rebuilding.
THE creation of a cultural precinct at Barangaroo and Walsh Bay that would include a new 2000-seat lyric theatre should be an ”utmost priority” for the state government, says a report the government commissioned.
PLANNING SYDNEY’S CULTURAL FACILITIES is the first study in 16 years looking at Sydney’s long-term cultural needs. It was commissioned by the former Labor government and prepared by Rob Brookman, the former general manager of the Sydney Theatre Company, for government agencies including Destination NSW, Tourism NSW, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the City of Sydney.
After holding 94 consultations with representatives from the performing arts, museums and galleries, Mr Brookman has compiled a list of Sydney’s cultural needs for the next 15 years.
The last such study was commissioned by the City of Sydney 16 years ago. Since then Sydney has added a recital hall, a lyric theatre at the casino, and the Sydney Theatre, as well as refurbishing the Capital Theatre, Belvoir Street Theatre and the Verbrugghen Hall.
It said the future use of the Domain for cultural events such as Opera in the Park was at risk because of the extremely high costs of staging events which could become uneconomic for the Sydney Festival, and Sydney has missed staging several musical premieres because of a lack of suitable theatre space.
Recommendations and comments in the report include:
* provision of a new Lyric Theatre which would cost about $150 million
* proposed that the new Lyric Theatre should be built in the central zone at Barangaroo – between the commercial towers in the south and new headland in the north – would be ideal for a theatre and a large capacity outdoor venue
* to keep pace with Melbourne and Brisbane, Sydney also needs to build outdoor multi-purpose venues including one that could hold 20,000 people for free and ticketed events, and another for circus tents
* within a 15-year time frame there may well be demand for two new Lyric Theatres
”Sydney has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create something of extraordinary value and this review argues strongly that the conscious development of Barangaroo/Walsh Bay as a cultural precinct should be of the utmost priority,” the report says.
The NSW Minister for the Arts, George Souris is quoted as saying it is too early to say which proposals might be supported, but ”We recognise that there are areas which have been neglected over the past 16 years and need updating and we will be considering the report’s recommendations over the coming months,”
The NSW Liberal Government is now reviewing the Barangaroo redevelopment. In the coming weeks the government and the Barangaroo developer, Lend Lease, will negotiate amongst other things, moving a proposed hotel from water to land.
The architect Andrew Andersons, a member of the design team for Barangaroo, says that will provide a perfect opportunity to debate the site for a new performance space that he and big theatrical producers say the city needs.
”Now is the moment,” he said. ”If you are going to accommodate a hotel on land, you have to vary the plan, shuffle things around. It’s a great opportunity to review it and put some genuine facilities in there.”
Sydney’s big need is for a new venue with about 2000 seats where large operas and ballets could be staged. Rather than spending about $700 million on ”incremental changes” at the Opera House, Sydney should build a new one from scratch.
Barangaroo was ideal, but not the cultural void in the headland. ”The idea that cultural facilities are in basements is a bit silly,” Mr Anderson said.
Better to put it in the central precinct, between the commercial towers in the south and the headland park in the north.
The musical producer John Frost, agrees that Sydney needs a new venue. However, rather than one at Barangaroo, he would like to see the restoration of the State Theatre and the purchase of adjoining land to allow back-of-house expansion.
The new discussions are a distinct shift in previous plans where the building of a new Lyric Theatre seemed to have dropped off the radar for the Barangaroo Redevelopment. The current discussions also hint that the preference is now for a 2,000 seat Lyric Theatre rather than the smaller theatre of 1,500 to 1,700 proposed by LIVE PERFORMANCE AUSTRALIA, and it seems that preference is being given to a theatre for LARGE SCALE opera and ballet performances rather than musicals.
As discussed in the Opera Insider Opinion article of July 20th:
the demand is really for TWO new Lyric Theatres. The first for large scale opera and ballet and also to decant from the Sydney Opera House if and when the proposed rebuilding of the current Opera Theatre occurs. The second, an additional theatre for musicals so Sydney has parity in theatre numbers with Melbourne for National touring and off-Broadway development of new musicals in Sydney.
At the end of the day, Sydney is now a World City with a burgeoning theatre and arts scene with an audience growth rate calculated at a 5.9% compounded annual growth rate. It is time for additional lyric theatres in Sydney and the redevelopment of the Sydney Opera House Opera Theatre.