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Marriner Group unveils refurbishment of Melbourne’s historic Regent Theatre

Marriner Group unveils refurbishment of Melbourne’s historic Regent Theatre
December 23, 2019

Theatre operator the Marriner Group has unveiled its $19.4 million upgrade of Melbourne theatre, The Regent.

Redeveloped in partnership between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne, the project has been three years in the planning and eight months in construction theatre.

Works undertaken has included an increased capacity - with 192 new seats - allowing for flexible seating configurations, installation of brand-new seating including new leather lounge chairs in the Dress Circle, the bars and foyers have been upgraded, there has been extensive repair and restoration of the ornate plasterwork and the grand and glittering crystal chandelier in the auditorium has undergone a full restoration.

Hosting a media preview of the refurbished venue last week, Marriner Group Chief Executive, Jason Marriner stated “the Regent is such a beautiful theatre, but now it really is optimised for live performance. The changes are subtle but substantial, and I think audiences will be delighted with the improvement.

“It is a thrill to have been able to work with the owners, the State Government and the City of Melbourne to refurbish the theatre for the audiences of the future to enjoy.”

Undertaking the tour, Victoria Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley commented “Melbourne is home to the best theatres in the country and we’re proud to be investing in the future of this great cultural icon.

“This refurbishment spells a new era for the Regent and secures its future. It’s also provided the opportunity to work with Marriner Group to open up access and introduce a new generation of Victorians to the magic of theatre.”

Aiming to ensure the theatre continues to be one of Melbourne's cultural icons and a world-class live performance venue for generations to come, the refurbishment includes:

• 4 metre balcony extension
• 32,000 meters of cabling
• 102 tonnes of steel
• 6,400 metre² of carpet
• 3,700 individual crystals cleaned, polished and rewired in the chandelier
• 10.5 tonnes of plaster casting
• 192 new seats closer to stage

Minister Foley went on to say “the Regent is owned by the people of Melbourne and Victoria and this refurbishment has not only increased its capacity and flexibility, it will ensure that we can continue to attract and host top productions for many years to come.”

The Regent Theatre was built in 1929. The Regent was designed by Charles Ballantyne. It features a Louis XVI style auditorium and Spanish Baroque style Ballroom. It theatre closed in 1970 and was reopened in 1996 after David Marriner, who had restored the Princess Theatre, struck a deal with the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government. It is listed on the National Trust of Australia

Marriner Group, in partnership with Department of Education, has also launched a State Schools Access Program, which will provide 10,000 free or low cost tickets to Victorian state school students throughout 2019 and 2020 and will offer 1,000 free tickets to Victorian children in state care and their carers. This program has already provided the opportunity for many students to have their first live theatre experience, and the feedback from both students and their teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.

The Regent will reopen on 10th January with the international theatrical event War Horse, followed by the inspiring Billy Elliot the Musical. These productions follow in the footsteps of some the world's most prestigious theatrical events hosted at the Regent in past years, including Sunset Boulevard, Wicked, Love Never Dies, Singin' In The Rain and The Lion King.

While mainly used for theatre, Lou Reed, Deep Purple, David Byrne and George Benson have performed concerts there.

The Regent Theatre images courtesy of the Mariner Group.

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