Thursday, 19 December 2013

Riverside Theatres needs funds

The “core” of Parramatta’s entertainment precinct has a problem – not the lack of fans, but funds. 
Parramatta City Council, which owns the popular Riverside Theatres, will be eagerly awaiting any allocation from James Packer’s $30 million donation to the arts in Western Sydney.
The 25-year-old venue, destined to be the core component of the new cultural and events precinct centred on the Parramatta River, is showing its age.
The basic infrastructure risks becoming architecturally, technologically and functionally out of date, according to a Parramatta City Council report
The venue, which opened in 1988 as part of Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations with the customary fanfare and plaudits about its contribution to the city’s cultural life, needs a multi-million dollar injection of funds to protect its function “as the core of Parramatta’s entertainment precinct.”
Its progressive deterioration puts at risk the presentation “of high quality performing arts, entertainment, community and culturally specific programs which engage audiences, visitors and local talent.”
Despite the problems, the venue manages successfully to support a very busy program with a modest investment in improvements each year.
Cox Richardson, in association with Schuler Shook, in identifying three options for the venue’s redevelopment, recognised the venue served a wider footprint than Parramatta saying the upgrading was “imperative to meet the demand of Greater Sydney’s growing population”
The three development options in their masterplan require very substantial financial investment of $38 million, $55 million and $72 million but so far appeals has been unable to attract any investment.

Parramatta Lord Mayor, John Chedid, said, in another context: “We seem to be forgotten out here.” 


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