Powerbroker tries to save two art deco theaters

Asked if his vote was dependent on saving the two theatres, Greenwich said: “The government knows that investment in art is very important for everyone.”

Western Sydney manager David Borger said it would be a “crime” to acquire the Metro Theater and not the Roxy.

Parramatta Lord Mayor said to Donna Davis: “There is nothing our city would like more than to preserve and bring to life the beautiful Roxy Theater. It is an asset to our city.”

Last Monday, the council approved draft plans for a refurbishment of the Riverside Theatres, which opened as a bicentennial project.

The plans provide for a new lyrical theatre, a new drama theater and studio and cinema, and a renovated playhouse for an expected population explosion due to new planning controls allowing skyscrapers of up to 69 floors for mixed residential buildings and 52 floors for commercial offices in an expanded CBD. .

Western Sydney does not have a large theater capable of performing blockbuster musicals, ballet or major opera, with large theaters clustered around Sydney’s CBD.

The council’s plans are in effect doubling the size of the council-owned and operated performing arts center which sits diagonally across the river from the site of the new Parramatta Powerhouse.

The Riverside Theaters now comprises three auditoriums, the largest of which seats 761 people and is not large enough to stage major productions.

Davis said Parramatta as the “inner west of the west” was large enough to house a revitalized Roxy and a lyrical theater, both pieces of critical arts infrastructure that needed government support.

Davis said her focus was on getting the additional funding needed to provide the arts and cultural infrastructure this city and western Sydney needed.

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“There has been no better time to advocate for this funding the week the planning minister released the CBD planning proposal outlining growth, employment and housing in the CBD. It all goes hand in hand.

“If you want to build that unique city, we need those arts and cultural institutions, as well as the sports facilities, parks and heritage to bring people to the city.”

Parramatta Council is now moving forward with a detailed business case for the Riverside redevelopment. The Council will use $100 million it has saved from the proceeds from the sale of the Powerhouse land, but would likely need to find a gap of about $40 million to allow for the redevelopment.

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