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Artist's impression of the arts precinct. Artist's impression of the arts precinct. Featured
16 March 2013 Posted by 

Grand vision for regional arts precinct

By Mike Walls

A MULTIMILLION dollar vision to transform the Riverside Theatre to a world-class arts and entertainment precinct to service Greater Western Sydney has been endorsed by Parramatta City Council.

The master plan proposes three options to redevelop Riverside Theatres in Parramatta with  each option including significant building upgrades to the existing 25-year-old complex.

Increased seating capacity, enhancements to the public domain, connectivity to the riverfront and the Parramatta CBD and the expansion of back of house functions are included in the vision.

Parramatta Council now plans to engage with potential funding partners to explore opportunities to develop the Riverside precinct.

“The development of an entertainment precinct is critical to meeting the demands of the fast-growing population in Western Sydney,” said Parramatta Lord Mayor John Chedid.

“Parramatta is already a well-known regional arts centre, with over 1,000 performances and events held in the city each year.

“But we recognise that there is a strong need to modernise and build venues and facilities that attract world-class acts and performances to Parramatta as well as providing opportunities for local performers.

“We’re also conscious that we need to cater for audiences who want to experience arts and culture without having to travel to the Sydney’s CBD.”

Council executives will meet with the Federal and State Governments over the coming months to discuss the draft master plan.

“I’d like to see the Federal and State Governments invest in the arts and cultural development of Western Sydney. This type of infrastructure will also reap enormous benefits for local residents and businesses,” Cr Chedid said.

Riverside Theatres were built in 1988 as a Bicentennial initiative. The complex was built to give Western Sydney residents access to the best entertainment; locally, nationally and from around the world.

Since opening more than 15,000 productions have been staged attracting more than two-million visitors.

“Over the next 20 years, Sydney’s population will double, and half of its residents will be living in Western Sydney,” said Cr Chedid.

The planed upgrade has been welcomed by Hills Shire Mayor, Dr Michelle Byrne, who said a regional solution may be the best option to support performing arts in the Hills.

“The Riverside Theatre is just 11km away from the Castle Hill,” Dr Byrne said. “We will soon be considering a number of options to support performing arts in the Hills - and a major regional precinct like the Riverside Theatres could assist in providing solutions.”

Dr Byrne said that she would meet with Clr Chedid to work at finding a solution that will provide the best outcome for the region.  



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Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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