largest audience group of the Sydney Opera House is the daytime visitor –
the three to four million people who go to the House each year to enjoy Jørn
Utzon's tarnished architecture.
was to be the Trust's daytime venue, an entertainment space to present the story of the House and
stimulate interest in its business.
the enthusiastic backing of the Minister for the Arts, Peter Collins, the
proposal was developed by the Trust's Librarian, Paul Bentley and architect
Leif Kristensen - in part stimulated by The Building of the
Century Exhibition, curated by Bentley in 1988, and by Kristensen's 1989
scheme for an exhibition space devoted to the Sydney Opera House story under
museum and part theatre, TheatreWorks was intended to take visitors inside the
Opera House and engage them in the multifaceted worlds of theatre and music using
the latest technology, stage mechanics, special effects and interactive
In 1994, the
NSW Government committed $7.3 million towards the museum, an associated
architectural ideas initiated by Kristensen – the Western Broadwalk Foyer,
linking the Playhouse and Drama Theatre foyers, and improved backstage
facilities in the Concert Hall.
for the project included visits to over 100 museums in Europe, the United
States and Asia.
aspects of Sydney Opera House history and operations, the TheatreWorks
proposal had four major components:
An opening audio visual experience was to unveil a three dimensional
space in which the craft of theatre was to be demonstrated through a
variety of traditional and hi-tech theatrical illusions employing
cinematic projections on screens and gauzes, sets, revolving stages,
flies and lifts, light, sound effects and live performance.
modules. A series of modules was to provide interactive experiences
exploring the rich variety of the performing arts, including creativity,
writing and language, sound, speech and music, lighting, movement,
design and performance.
The big bang.
The concluding experience was to be of a rousing nature, taking place in
the Black Box, a 5.8 square metre space equipped with mobile catwalks
and projection screens for experimental performance
Wolanski Library. The TheatreWorks idea led to substantial changes
in the scope of the Dennis Wolanski Library. The transfer of performing
arts archival material to the State Library of New South Wales had
commenced. As an integral part of TheatreWorks, the library was to
complement its role of assisting visitors to obtain information on the
arts represented in the building by offering them the opportunity to see
and hear performances from around the world on laser disk.
and value management studies, economic appraisals, architectural design and
documentation and an exhibition design brief had been completed, exhibition
design teams short-listed and negotiations opened with major sponsors by March
1995, when the New South Wales State election was held. The new government
closed the project in favour of re-using the space as a performance venue.
Leif Kristensen completed designs for this space, now called The Studio.
also TheatreWorks Research