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Walsh Bay Arts Precinct concept gets green light

Walsh Bay Arts Precinct concept gets green light
May 22, 2015

The NSW government has approved a multimillion-dollar plan from Arts NSW to transform Walsh Bay into a world-class arts precinct.

The $139 million revamp aims to turn the waterfront between the Harbour Bridge and Barangaroo into a cultural hub for international festivals and events.

Monies will come from the NSW’s $600 million Arts and Cultural Infrastructure Fund.

Planning approval for the ambitious undertaking was announced on Thursday evening (21st May) in a joint statement from acting NSW Premier and Arts Minister Troy Grant and NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

Introducing the plan, Minister Grant said the concept plan provides significant new facilities for the arts in the heart of Sydney, stating “the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct will be an exciting destination for Sydneysiders and visitors, hosting up to two million people every year.

“This investment will make Walsh Bay a renowned cultural precinct in the Asia Pacific, giving the NSW public better access to exceptional artists and performances.”

The approved concept includes:

• A public square over the water between Wharf 4/5 and Pier 2/3, with large steps leading down to the water;
• An outdoor performance area;
• Using the precinct for arts festivals and events, as well as establishing restaurants, cafés and bars;
• Changing the internal layout of Pier 2/3, the last undeveloped pier at Walsh Bay, for arts and cultural uses including events and performances
• Modifying the roof of Pier 2/3 to provide enhanced acoustics for the Australian Chamber Orchestra auditorium
• Changing the internal layout of Pier 2/3, for arts and cultural events like the Sydney Writers' Festival.
• Reconfiguring Wharf 4/5 - which is currently occupied by a number of arts organisations including the Sydney Theatre Company, Australian Theatre for Young People and Bangarra Dance Company – to include:

  • Upgraded rehearsal, production and performance spaces;
  • Revamped Bangarra dance and Bell Shakespeare theatres;
  • A 200-seat theatre and studio space for the Australian Theatre for Young People;
  • A 450-seat concert hall for the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The site design was informed by other international refurbishments of industrial areas that have become arts precincts, such as the Tate Modern in London and the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen. It was pitched as a long-term venue for Biennale of Sydney.

Minister Grant had previously said that within five years of the upgrades being completed, the government expected visitor numbers at Walsh Bay to more than double to 2 million.

Minister Stokes said the plan would be a boom for the arts and the broader community, adding "Walsh Bay is also a key part of the development of a Sydney CBD arts precinct, to encompass our internationally renowned cultural institutions.

“The precinct is part of the NSW Government’s vision to activate and open up the Sydney Harbour foreshore, alongside the Barangaroo redevelopment and Bays Precinct.”

For more information about the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct concept go to www.arts.nsw.gov.au/index.php/about-us/our-work/completion-of-the-walsh-bay-arts-precinct/

29th March 2015 - RE-ELECTED NSW PREMIER TO NOW DELIVER ON ELECTION COMMITMENTS TO LEISURE

25th February 2015 - $600 MILLION PLAN TO UPGRADE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE AND ARTS VENUES

25th November 2014 - ART AND SPORT TO BENEFIT AS PART OF $20 BILLION NSW INFRASTRUCTURE VISION

26th October 2014 - BARANGAROO DEVELOPMENT TO INCLUDE NEW SYDNEY THEATRE?


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