TUESDAY 26 MARCH: By Julius Grafton.
CX today had an unofficial visit to the building site that is the Western Sydney Performing Arts Centre, and we can confirm that the rumours are true and untrue. The volume of chatter around this project has become loud in recent weeks, leading us to go and have a look.
Rumours were the design was wrong. Maybe some aspects were, but now the 30 capacity orchestra bit and 45 line fly-tower have been significantly upgraded – we can’t say, but the pit and the tower we saw are way larger than that. There is a 96 box immersive sound system ordered, but we can’t tell you which one. The dimmer room is empty as the theatre will boast 100% LED.
The design is thorough, complex, and generous – with considerable ambience already evident in what is now a concrete shell. The management are seasoned, careful, and speaking realistically about what will be a major game change that is designed to grow the market and not compete with any other venue. There is a deep back story to this, that we look forward to exploring soon.
Scheduled to open late this year, the theatre is on budget at $71 million with a $24 million car park. Rumours had the project in trouble. The opposite is true.
The location is at West HQ which is a complex of entertainment based on the Rooty Hill RSL Club (extensively upgraded, with further work underway), a Novotel Hotel, a Pullman Hotel under development, and extensive sporting facilities. WSPAC have a major announcement due soon with initial bookings and program for 2020 which – should they deliver what we heard about today – will surprise the industry.
What we saw today surpasses anything we had heard about, and sets a new standard. Hyperbole this is not. It’s very likely that once completed it will be the best 2,000 seat lyric theatre in Australia. It’s fair to say this is simply an amazing project, built without a single dollar from any government.
When has that happened before now?