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Hobart’s Theatre Royal to close for six months for Hedberg creative industries project work

Hobart’s Theatre Royal to close for six months for Hedberg creative industries project work
June 28, 2018

Hobart's Theatre Royal will close for six months from October to accommodate building works on the $96 million Hedberg creative industries and performing arts centre.

Tasmanian Minister for the Arts Elise Archer announced the planned closure today, saying the Tasmanian Government would compensate the Theatre Royal for lost revenue to the tune of $181,000.

As part of the building works the Theatre Royal will be upgraded with a new public entrance with disability access, new multi-level foyer space with access to the dress circle and gallery, expanded bars, new public toilet facilities and balconies on each level.

The Backspace Theatre will be replaced by a modern, purpose-built studio theatre with capacity for 285 patrons while existing bars and ticketing booths will be removed from the foyers as well as backstage areas, including dressing rooms, being improved.

A box office will be located offsite during the closure.

Minister Archer said the new facilities would significantly increase the Theatre Royal's footprint, and would be a game-changer for Tasmania's performing arts scene "and a welcome contribution to the urban fabric of our capital city".

She explained "it is exciting because the new facilities give them much more expanded front and back of house, as well as working collaboratively with UTAS on site.

"There's enormous opportunities for opening up both to the public."

With the upgrades to increase the Theatre Royal's recurrent operating costs, the Tasmanian Government has committed $2.79m in funding over the next four years to help the Theatre Royal management board deal with the added expense.

The Hedberg will include the Theatre Royal, University Conservatorium of Music, and the Creative Exchange Institute.

The updated Theatre Royal, which first opened in 1837, is scheduled to reopen in May next year.

Images: Hobart's Theatre Royal (top) and the planned Hedberg Centre for Creative Industries and Performing Arts (below, courtesy of Liminal Architecture).

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