A major transformation of Melbourne’s beautiful Regent Theatre is now complete, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley was at the Regent today to see the results of the eight-month project that has repaired the façade of the heritage-listed theatre, increased seating capacity to more than 2,300 and given it the flexibility to reconfigure to host productions and events of all sizes.
The bar and foyer areas have also been improved, more women’s bathrooms added and the balcony extended to create a more intimate setting for audiences.
The Labor Government has contributed $14.45 million to the $19.4 million project, which was the theatre’s first upgrade since the heritage site reopened to the public in 1996.
The theatre has been an iconic part of Melbourne’s history since its construction in 1929, surviving a flood, potential demolition, and a fire that destroyed the auditorium and its organ in 1945.
As part of the project, the Government also worked with Marriner Group to give more Victorians the chance to experience the magic of live performance with 10,000 free or low-cost tickets to state school students and 1,000 free tickets to children in state care and their carers.
The Government and City of Melbourne are joint owners of the Regent, which is operated by Marriner Group. The council and Marriner Group also contributed to the refurbishment.
The project comes as the UK’s National Theatre prepares to bump in the acclaimed production War Horse, which will launch the reborn theatre on 10 January ahead of a packed calendar of performances and events in 2020.
The Regent Theatre will host the Australian premiere of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, based on the smash hit film by Australian director Baz Luhrmann, in 2021.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley
“Melbourne is home to the best theatres in Australia and we’re proud to be investing in the future of this cultural icon.”
“This refurbishment spells a new era for the Regent and secures its future. It’s also given us the opportunity to make productions more accessible and introduce a new generation of Victorians to the magic of theatre.”
Quotes attributable to Marriner Group chief executive Jason Marriner
“The Regent is such a beautiful theatre, but now it really is optimised for live performance. The changes are subtle but substantial, and I think audiences will be delighted with the improvement.”
“It is a thrill to have been able to work with the owners, the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne, to refurbish the theatre for the audiences of the future to enjoy.”