The historic Theatre Royal Sydney underwent a dramatic interior refurbishment and restoration to preserve the landmark theatre’s cultural status as a vibrant venue where theatre-goers can enjoy a live entertainment experience in state-of-the-art and sumptuous surrounds.
Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD at 25 Martin Place, Theatre Royal is one of Australia’s oldest theatrical institutions, dating back to 1832, and the current venue was built in 1976 with design by acclaimed architect Harry Seidler. The Theatre received formal heritage listing in 2020.
The design direction had to perform a delicate balancing act to pay homage and respect to the Theatre Royal’s rich architectural past, while transforming to meet current and future expectations of patrons and modern production requirements.
The scope of works to the Modernist-style auditorium encompassed a sensitive upgrade, including restoration of the heritage-listed, gold, ribbed ceiling structure and enhancement of the proscenium arch.
An extension to the balcony created a new front row to the circle alongside the installation of new seating throughout with accessible and flexible configurations for the needs of patrons and modern productions, taking the total seating capacity to just over 1,200.
Key theatrical production equipment and back-of-house areas were also updated, including new energy-efficient lighting, air-conditioning and audio-visual systems in the auditorium.
The Harry Seidler multi-storied drum foyer and ribbed lobby ceiling designed by Italian concrete engineer Pier Luigi Nervi were restored with the Mercator hanging artwork by US sculptor Charles Perry also reinstalled as a feature in the foyer by Woods Bagot Sydney.
The architectural studio opened the external foyer walls to King Street, allowing glimpses of the stunning architecture and design from the exterior for the first time. As well as adding a a digital video wall and seating to promote the theatrical vibrancy.
The refreshed patron experience includes the provision of three new bars, a merchandise counter and two VIP lounges that address the evolution of hospitality in today’s theatre experience while providing additional revenue streams.