Vision for Riverside Theatres revitalisation gets green light

The City of Parramatta is driving forward its ambitious redevelopment of the iconic Riverside Theatres after Council approved the next steps to progress its new concept proposal.

The Riverside Theatres Redevelopment Concept Proposal outlines Council’s vision for a major upgrade and significant expansion of Riverside Theatres, which includes new venues and increased capacity at the existing site.

Council agreed last night to begin exploring design options, developing functional specifications and validating cost estimates.

“Riverside Theatres is the heart and soul of performance culture in Western Sydney and for more than 30 years has attracted some of the world’s best artists, nurtured local talent and showcased the diverse and vibrant stories of Sydney’s Central River City,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said.

“We are ready to take Riverside into the future and are excited to reinvigorate plans for its redevelopment.

“Council remains committed to investing the $100 million generated by the sale of land for the Powerhouse Parramatta into a redeveloped Riverside Theatres. We look forward to working with partners in the government and private sectors to breathe new life into the iconic theatre.

“Our vision is that Riverside Theatres will become the centrepiece of Parramatta’s revitalised arts and culture precinct: a hub of performance excellence that attracts talent and investment, complements the Powerhouse Parramatta, and welcomes the whole community.”

Riverside Theatres’ incoming director Craig McMaster said the aim of the redevelopment is to build on the Riverside legacy.

“We are creating a centre for living culture and aspire to make the theatres accessible and inclusive for all,” Mr McMaster said.

“The performing arts in Western Sydney have been growing significantly over the past 30 years and we need a world-class space that will nurture local culture, support performance development, and provide the capacity needed for the growing Central River City.”

The Riverside redevelopment is an important community priority reflected in Council’s Cultural Plan for Parramatta’s CBD 2017-2022.

Council proposes bringing a Riverside redevelopment scheme, budget and operating model to Councillors for endorsement early next year.

The Council owned and operated theatre, which opened in 1988, attracts more than 180,000 patrons to up to 1000 performances and events every year.

Riverside Theatres is home to the National Theatre of Parramatta, which cultivates Western Sydney’s next generation of artists, performers and creators, and FORM Dance Projects, a presenter of independent contemporary dance. It also offers an extensive educational program for young people and people with disability.

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