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Show goes on as Riverside Theatres redevelopment plans move forward

Media Release 16 May 2022

After three decades of performances, events and screenings, Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres is preparing for a set change of epic proportions as plans to redesign and expand the popular arts centre progress to the next stage.

Riverside Theatres

The Council owned and operated theatre, which welcomes more than 180,000 patrons through its doors each year, is about to undergo a transformation that will see it become the centrepiece of Parramatta’s revitalised arts and culture precinct, across the river from the new Powerhouse Parramatta. 

“Riverside Theatres has been the leading centre of arts and entertainment in Western Sydney for the last 30 years and has become an integral piece of our City’s cultural fabric,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Donna Davis said.

“Our City has changed significantly since Riverside was first built, and we need to ensure it, and our other community facilities, change with it.

“With increasing demand for the performing arts and creative spaces in Western Sydney, Riverside Theatres has outgrown its original home and desperately needs a revamp to allow it to reach its full potential – but we need state and federal government support to make it happen.”

This week Council approved the concept proposal validation work for the redevelopment of Riverside Theatres, along with permission to proceed with the development of a detailed business case, project plan and budget for Council’s review. It will also prepare for the launch of a Design Competition, which will follow approval of the business case. 

Riverside Theatres Director Craig McMaster said the delivery of a state-of-the-art performing arts centre for Western Sydney is long overdue.

“As the centre of global Sydney, Parramatta needs a world-class venue to support Australian and international productions, nurture talent, develop new works, and meet the needs of current and future artists and audiences,” he said.

“Our proposed redevelopment concept plan will see Riverside Theatres’ capacity more than double and include the addition of a 1,350-seat lyric theatre, refurbishment of the Riverside Playhouse, an all-new drama theatre, and a digital studio and cinema. 

Cr Davis said the time has come for Riverside Theatres to get the funding it deserves. 

“We are cultivating the next generation of artists, performers and creators, but we need a venue with the technology and facilities to do that.

“I am calling on the state and federal governments to invest in arts in the West by helping fund the delivery of this much-needed cultural facility, so we can continue to entertain audiences and share local stories for the next 30 years and beyond as Western Sydney continues to thrive and grow.”

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