Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay was first imagined to fulfil the
need for a medium sized drama and dance venue to
provide the missing link between the Drama Theatre at the Sydney
Opera House and larger venues such as the Opera and Capitol
Theatres. It now sits at the heart of the burgeoning Walsh Bay Arts
Precinct, a vibrant cultural hub that is home to many of
Australia's leading arts companies.
The name, Sydney Theatre, acknowledges and celebrates the
premier role the theatre plays in Sydney's cultural life. It also
pays homage to Australia's first theatre built in
1798, located nearby.
Designed by architects Peddle Thorp and Walker (City Recital
Hall, Capitol Theatre), led by Andrew Andersons, and utilising
state-of-the-art theatre and design technology, Sydney Theatre
provides an optimal experience for audiences with
excellent sight lines for dance and visual theatre and exceptional
acoustics for spoken word drama.
Sydney Theatre occupies the sites of two of the working
buildings of the historic Walsh Bay area. The impressive
auditorium, stage, fly tower and public foyer areas are located
where a 1950s warehouse called Bond Store 4 once stood, and the
back of house is located in the lower floors of Parbury No.3 Bond
The No. 3 Bond Store is an impressive late nineteenth
century brick and stone Queen Anne style building,
originally called Central Wharf. It was constructed by private
merchants for the wool trade which was thriving despite the
Depression and drought in the 1890s. In the early 1910s Sydney
Harbour Trust bought the Store. It was renovated in the 1920s and
used as one of the wharves of Walsh Bay.
Following World War II, the modern style Bond Store 4 was
constructed in Bond Store 3's north yard. The six storey
concrete framed building was connected to Bond 3. In the 1980s Bond
Store 4 was used for arts and display but was
demolished in 2000 to make way for the
construction of Sydney Theatre.
Much of the site's history is still visible at Sydney Theatre
where the preservation of the area's maritime
heritage was central to the new building's development. From
beautiful bare brick walls to intact warehouse machinery, the
building speaks of its past while presenting some of the most
exciting contemporary performance from around the world.
Two spaces within Sydney Theatre have been specially named in
memory of two greats of Australian Theatre. The
theatre's function room, The Ruth Cracknell Room, is proudly named
after one of Australia's most-loved actors and former Board
Director and Patron of STC. Sydney Theatre Company's first
artistic director Richard Wherrett is honoured for his significant
influence on Australian theatre and STC in particular by the naming
of the Richard Wherrett Studio, a rehearsal space located on the
Owned by the NSW State Government, Sydney Theatre is operated by
Sydney Theatre Company, Australia's flagship theatre company.