Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Sydney Opera House upgrades to impact 2017 performances

Sydney Opera House upgrades to impact 2017 performances
June 25, 2015

Maintenance of key stage equipment in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at Sydney Opera House may force Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet to seek new performance venues for much of 2017.

The $45 million Theatre Machinery Project, part of the Opera House’s overarching plan for the renewal of its venues and spaces, will improve the reliability, functionality and safety of the 1,500 seat Joan Sutherland Theatre’s equipment and operations.

Commenting on the upgrade, Sydney Opera House Chief Executive Louise Herron stated "the Joan Sutherland Theatre is one of the most intensively used of the Opera House’s seven venues, delivering an average of 330 performances a year, while still using the original equipment. Artists’ and audiences’ needs and expectations have changed and the equipment has aged."

The theatre’s current machinery systems – used to move and fly scenery, equipment and performers above and onto the stage – are now more than 40 years old and nearing the end of their operational life.

During the 2017 capital works, the lighting bridge located above the proscenium, obsolete lighting dimmers and other facilities will also be upgraded or replaced. ‚Äč

The Theatre Machinery Project involves two years of preparation to allow the necessary time for organisational planning, procurement of specialised equipment and performance scheduling. The theatre will then close for seven months, from May to December 2017, while the existing theatre machinery is removed, new systems are installed and tested, and production crews receive training.

Details about the impact of these capital works on Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet’s 2017 seasons have not yet been finalised, although both companies have given public support to the project.

Opera Australia Chief Executive Craig Hassall released a statement that read "this is a critical maintenance project and we fully support it.

"Since the Opera House opened in 1973 the Joan Sutherland Theatre has provided us with an iconic stage to present some of the world’s best loved operas. Much of the machinery is original and needs to be upgraded. We recognise the many advantages of replacing this ageing machinery with more reliable systems and the latest technology."

Similarly, The Australian Ballet’s Executive Director Libby Christie stated "we are working closely with the Opera House to ensure the theatre machinery upgrades meet all our production needs.

"This is an important step in the renewal of this iconic building that will deliver both increased reliability and enhanced functionality behind the curtain."

For more information go to



Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues



Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security


Aflex Inflatables

Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks


WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks



Swimplex Aquatics are a world-class company dedicated to the commercial pool, waterslide industry. We are Australian market leaders servicing all states Australia wide. Swimplex provide a full…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Design / Play / Waterparks



revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology



ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business