South Australian Government commits to redevelopment of Her Majesty’s Theatre

HMT - Artist Impression ExteriorThe South Australian Government has announced a $35.2 million redevelopment and expansion of Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre (HMT).

The upgrade will modernise all the facilities for artists and patrons and increase the capacity from the current 970 to around 1,500 seats. Work will include an additional balcony of seating, improved orchestral pit and technical facilities, a back of house upgrade as well as a new foyer and patron facilities such as toilets and bars.

The State Government is providing $32 million and the Adelaide Festival Centre will raise the remaining $3.2 million through other sources and fundraising efforts. Planning on the project will start immediately, with completion set for late 2019.

“The redevelopment and expansion of Her Majesty’s Theatre is great news for the performing arts community and for Adelaide audiences. It is also great news for the city,” says Douglas Gautier, CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre.

“Over recent years, a number of blockbuster musicals and other theatrical, comedy and music products have been bypassing Adelaide. We know the audience demand exists for these shows but  there is nowhere for them to play because the 2,000 seat Festival Theatre is Adelaide’s only large scale commercially viable theatre in South Australia and it is full to capacity.”

“An expanded HMT will transform the performing arts landscape in Adelaide. Shows like, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Les Miserables and Once, will now have a venue to perform in. A second large theatrical venue will also enable the South Australian performing arts companies, especially the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the State Opera of South Australia, greater access to the Festival Theatre so they can put on nationally significant works.”

“Every year more and more South Australians attend arts events. In 2015 over 980,000 people visited the Festival Centre which was our biggest year ever. With the redevelopment of the Adelaide Riverbank we think this number will grow even more in the future. The redeveloped HMT will allow the performing arts to flourish and provide audiences a vast range of arts, culture and entertainment.”

The Adelaide Festival Centre has spoken to many of Australia’s largest commercial producers and they have echoed the need for a second larger venue to be built in Adelaide. “Currently with just one 2,000 seat venue and one 1,000 seat venue, Adelaide, despite its claim to be a cultural capital, is the worst ‘venue resourced’ capital city in Australia,” said Andrew Kay, Chairman Live Performance Australia.

“Adelaide desperately needs a revitalised Her Majesty’s Theatre. The current 1,000 seats available at Her Majesty’s is inadequate and means Adelaide is unviable for a whole variety of mid-scale musicals, plays and mid-scale entertainment touring Australia.”   

The redevelopment will also provide 213 construction jobs and on-going employment for artists, production staff, front of house staff, programmers, publicity and marketing staff.  The additional activity will also bring substantial benefits in tourism related fields by attracting more tourists and retained tourism benefits because South Australians will no longer need to travel to see the shows that have been missing Adelaide.

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Image: An artist’s impression of the redeveloped Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide (supplied)