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NSW Government opens tender process for new Sydney Theatre Royal operator
Plans to reopen Sydney's Theatre Royal have moved closer with the NSW Government today announcing that it has reached a commercial agreement with the owners of the venue to commence a tender process to secure a new theatre operator.
Having initially invited a group of experienced theatre owners to submit expressions of interest to operate the venue, the NSW Government process has now been opened to all.
It has also advised that it has reached an agreement with building owners Dexus to increase the lease from 45 years, as originally planned, to 55 years.
While commercial arrangements with the theatre operator are subject to negotiations, it's thought the successful operator will need to cover the theatre's internal refurbishment, the lease, plus possible external works.
Potential operators are also understood to feel that the theatre’s capacity needs to be increased from 1100 seats to 1500 seats to be commercially viable.
In addition, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that potential operators are unsure about paying the NSW Government for the lease on top of being responsible for the renovations – which are likely to cost $40 million.
According to a spokesperson for Dexus, the company started renovations on the retail and office lobby in June and will start work on the theatre "component" of planned work now that the "NSW Government had confirmed its commitment to reopening the Theatre Royal.”
Once a successful operator is named early next year, work is likely to begin on refurbishment of the stage, backstage and seating. Doors are expected to open by 2021.
Advising that the revised lease term provided operational certainty for interested companies while safeguarding the future of the theatre, NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin stated “the (NSW) Government has worked hard to secure a deal that provides operational certainty for interested companies - a 55 year lease does that.
“This is great news for the Sydney theatre ecosystem and the night-time economy – we all know our sector needs more theatres - safeguarding the future of the much loved 1,100 seat theatre is a great step forward.”
Minister Harwin visited British theatre producers Cameron Mackintosh and Sir Howard Panter in June on an eight-day visit to London's museums and cultural precincts to discuss their involvement in the "future of live theatre in Sydney" that may also include a lyric theatre in Ultimo.
With only the Lyric at Star City Casino and The Capitol in Haymarket now capable of housing big Broadway-style musicals, Sydney has lost premiere productions to its cultural rival Melbourne.
The competitive request for tender will open in early December 2019, when more details will be available on the NSW Government eTendering website tenders.nsw.gov.au.
Image: Artist’s impression of the Theatre Royal, MLC Centre. Supplied.
30th July 2019 - NSW Tourism Minister talks of backing for new Sydney theatres
8th July 2019 - ICC Sydney Theatre to be renamed First State Super Theatre
24th May 2019 - Sydney secures staging of Broadway hit musical Hamilton
27th November 2018 - Thousands support campaign to re-open Sydney’s Theatre Royal
9th November 2018 - Artists and entertainers rally to save Sydney’s historic Theatre Royal
17th July 2018 - Sydney Theatre Company wins in 10 categories at 2018 Helpmann Awards
1st February 2016 - Sydney theatres underutilised and inaccessible
7th August 2015 - West End operator to manage Sydney’s upgraded Theatre Royal
26th October 2014 - Barangaroo development to include new Sydney theatre?
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