Construction is set to commence on the Sydney Opera House’s (SOH) major renewal project Stage 1, with the last curtain fall on the last performance in the Joan Sutherland Theatre (JST) this week.
The New South Wales Government has also injected a further $26 million towards additional upgrade works on the SOH which will improve functionality, accessibility, acoustics as well as safety in the theatre. Additional works – which are subject to required planning and heritage approvals – will include:
- Upgrades to the orchestra pit and installation of a state-of-the-art acoustic enhancement system to better distribute orchestral sound around the venue
- Partial replacement of the auditorium lighting, a new sound console and follow spot room
- A new passageway on the western side of the JST leading to a new lift that provides access – including wheelchair access – to all levels of the JST Northern Foyers (expected to be completed by mid-2018)
- Six additional female toilets and one accessible bathroom in the JST Northern Foyer
“Renewal will ensure this World Heritage-listed masterpiece is equipped to present the very best in performing arts as well as making it more accessible to all. These works include a new lift providing wheelchair access to all levels of the Foyers surrounding the Joan Sutherland Theatre for the first time, which will make a huge difference to the millions of people who come to the Opera House every year,” said NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin.
SOH will remain open throughout construction and all other performance venues as well as restaurants, bars and tours will be operating as normal.
The upgrade works on JST – worth approximately $45 million – is part of a larger renewal program with works funded by the NSW Government. The $273 million Stage 1 Renewal program will include upgrades to the Concert Hall, entry foyers and the arrival area under the Monumental Steps. The upgrade will also include new function and creative learning centres.
Laing O’Rourke was previously awarded the tender for Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) for the project and has now officially signed a contract with the SOH for the delivery of the first stage of the renewal program. Construction is expected to commence later in May 2017.
“This is critical work required to ensure this wonderful venue is able to meet all that is demanded of a contemporary theatre. Since the upgrades were announced more than two years ago, we have worked extremely closely with the Opera House on the project. This has also given us time to develop an exciting program of performances in other Opera House venues as well as The Capitol Theatre for our audiences to enjoy during the closure. We look forward to returning to the JST in December to reopen the theatre with our special New Year’s Eve gala,” said Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini.
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Source: Laing O’Rourke