The stage is set for Riverside Theatres’ transformation into Western Sydney’s pre-eminent arts and cultural precinct, with City of Parramatta Council approving the business case for its redevelopment.
City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Donna Davis said it was an exciting next step towards Riverside’s revitalisation, breathing new life into the well-loved theatre for audiences and communities to enjoy for generations to come.
“The City of Parramatta is another step closer to our commitment to nurture the creative talent of tomorrow and deliver the West End to Western Sydney in a newly-imagined Riverside Theatres,” Cr Davis said.
“Our much-loved theatre has been entertaining locals and visitors for more than 30 years and it’s time to move Riverside into the future. We are so excited about our plans to expand and modernise the theatres, so we can continue to foster our fantastic local talent and world-class creative work for decades to come.”
The project includes the construction of a 1350-seat lyric theatre, a newly refurbished 760-seat playhouse, a new 430-seat drama theatre, and state-of-the-art digital studio and cinema.
The City of Parramatta is seeking additional funding from state and federal governments, as well as philanthropic contributions, to support its significant investment in the project. The Riverside redevelopment was one of 36 projects Council put forward for funding from the NSW Government’s WestInvest grants program.
“Our hope is to open the doors to this fantastic new venue by 2027 and put Parramatta firmly on the map as a cultural and creative destination for performers, patrons and producers,” Cr Davis said.
“A project of this significance, however, needs the support of all levels of government. With a renewed focus on cultural activities across Western Sydney, we look forward to working with state and federal governments to deliver a magnificent redeveloped Riverside Theatres for the region.”
Riverside Theatres Director Craig McMaster said the calibre of the new complex will be a major drawcard for award-winning Australian and international productions.
“It’s not often that you get to reimagine an icon, so we look forward to the delivery of a fabulous, upgraded version of our original Riverside Theatres that has long been the city and community’s beating heart,” Mr McMaster said.
“Performing arts is growing in Western Sydney and a new, larger scale lyric theatre will more than double the capacity of our existing theatres. It will be at the centre of a world-class cultural precinct in the heart of Parramatta’s CBD, alongside Council’s new community, cultural and civic hub, PHIVE, and the new Powerhouse Parramatta.”
The community is invited to have their say on the planning proposal for the Riverside Theatres site until 2 February, ahead of the launch of a design excellence competition in 2023.