NSW Government applauds – while sitting on hands
by Julius Grafton
Western Sydney is fast becoming a second city, larger than Adelaide or Perth. In December it gains a stunning 2,000 seat lyric theatre – The Sydney Coliseum – built at no cost to Government by West HQ – formerly known as Rooty Hill RSL Club. In six years, Nancy Bird Walton Airport will open as well, consolidating the megalopolis as the fasting growing city in Australia.
West HQ is a unique destination, built from a huge green-field site next to the Western Railway line. It is 19 minutes west of Parramatta, 23 minutes east of Penrith, and 23 minutes south of Rouse Hill. From the city of Sydney CBD it takes about 50 minutes by car, or 46 minutes on a train.
The program was launched last week at an event staged on the stage, which is still a building site. Held on a Builder’s Day Off, the vacuum cleaners were working overtime and temporary everything was installed. With a $100m build cost, the 2,000 seater will be launched in considerable style in December, with concerts by Tina Arena, David Campbell, Dame Edna Everage, and the opening with Keith Urban.
NSW Government Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, spoke at the launch and noted “the community decided to invest, not the Government”. He was referencing the sad fact that the entire cost of the venue is borne by West HQ and his Government have not spent a dollar. Compounding the now obvious reality that the NSW State Government does not care about the arts, the NSW Arts Minister did not attend the launch.
Nasty politics aside, the complex is a stunner and will be the first Lyric Theatre in the region to install an immersive sound system, with five hangs of 10 L-Acoustic Kara across the 15m proscenium. It will also feature Ayrton LED lighting, controlled by an MA3. Overhead are 83 fly lines, to be installed by Jands Theatre Projects. The pit can handle 55 musicians, and the rehearsal room is the same size as the stage.
A lot of industry savvy has been poured into this project, with theatre boss Craig McMaster backed up by Technical Manager Bicci Henderson. CX has a full feature on the project coming soon.