It’s going to be the largest program of upgrades to the Opera House since it opened in 1973, but is expected to prepare the iconic landmark for future generations.
The NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant today unveiled working designs for the $202 million renewal projects, which will open more of the Opera House to the public, improve access and ensure it meets the needs and expectations of audiences, artists and the 8.2 million people who visit each year.
Changes include upgrading acoustics, accessibility, efficiency and flexibility of the site’s internal performance space and Concert Hall, as well as current office space which will be transformed into a new Creative Learning Centre, a dedicated place for children, families and young people; and remove the existing “intrusive” marquee, instead building a premium Function Centre within the building envelope.
It will also change access routes, making it a car-free entrance under the Monumental Steps.
The Opera House contributes $775 million annually to the NSW economy and has a national-identity value of $4.6 billion (Deloitte Access Economics, 2013).
The largest of the four projects, the Concert Hall upgrade, is expected to take 18 months to complete. Construction will begin in mid-2019 and the hall will reopen with the SSO’s 2021 season.
The renewal works will be staged so that audiences and visitors can continue to enjoy experiences at the Opera House. When the Joan Sutherland Theatre closes for seven months in 2017, the Opera House’s five other performance stages, its food and beverage outlets, tours and on-site facilities will remain open and fully operational. This same will be the case during the Concert Hall closure.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said the plans will ensure the Opera House is able to meet the increasing popularity of Australia’s leading tourist destination and busiest performing arts centre.
“The Sydney Opera House is the symbol of modern Australia. It is our responsibility as custodians of this extraordinary place to maintain and renew it for all Australians,” Mr Grant said.
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “The Opera House, a ‘masterpiece of human creative genius’, belongs to us all and is central to our identity as Australians. These Renewal projects are designed to ensure the Opera House continues to evolve, welcoming and inspiring people in as many ways as possible.