The Show Goes On for Sydney's Theatre Royal


After three years with its curtains drawn, the show will go on at Sydney's 1100-seat Theatre Royal, which will finally be reopened.

The theatre space, which is part of the MLC Centre, has been closed since mid-2016 as owners Dexus and GPT deliberated on the best outcome for the building.

The shutdown of the theatre left Sydney with only two venues suitable for big-name productions, the Capitol and Lyric, compared with Melbourne’s four.

While the co-owners did not have a legal requirement to reopen the theatre, it seems bolstering Sydney’s nightlife and live entertainment scene was always on the programme.

Dexus have now announced the company has entered into a conditional agreement for a 45-year lease with the NSW government to refurbish and run Australia’s oldest theatre institution, which was originally established in 1827.

Related: Shortlist Unveiled for New QPAC Theatre

Dexus has entered into a conditional agreement for a 45-year lease with the NSW government.
Dexus has entered into a conditional agreement for a 45-year lease with the NSW government.

The Harry Seidler-designed theatre will now be refurbished with the potential for expansion from its current 1,100 seat capacity, while also activating the retail and dining area adjacent to the Theatre Royal.

Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg said the new deal was a “great outcome the theatre-going public, for Sydney, and its night-time economy”.

“We look forward to activating our development plans for a vibrant retail and dining precinct to support the success of a future theatre offering, as well as the wider Martin Place precinct and the many workers and visitors to this area every day.”

Dexus now hopes the theatre will attract high-calibre shows to Sydney, providing a boost for the economy and “giving the community even better entertainment night-time options”.

The reopening of the theatre will also inject an enormous amount of money into the local economy with the current average price for a ticket to a musical in Sydney sitting at $130.

Figures released late last year revealed NSW's live performance industry drew $616 million 2017, compared to $639 million in Victoria.

Major international shows generate, on average, around $20 million in visitor expenditure over a six-month run.

The NSW government will now begin a tender process for an operator for the Theatre Royal post-election.

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