Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) are finalising a $6 million refurbishment of the Empire Theatre with productions set to resume this month.
TRC Property Services Chair, Cr Geoff McDonald said Stage 1 and 2 of a rolling renewal program will ensure the 108-year-old Empire Theatres complex retains its unique character and its reputation as the leading regional performance centre in the country.
“The recent work will improve facilities and the overall experience for performers and audiences, Cr McDonald said.
“The upgrade involved a major refurbishment of the main auditorium, including seating and carpet replacement, and improvements to the north bar and all foyer areas. Patrons will also enjoy the added feature to the theatre of a new South Bar.
“The refurbishment also allows for increased patron comfort with the seat replacement, additional female toilet facilities provided and improvements to accessibility during the theatre interval times.
“A number of local contractors, consultants and sub-contractors were involved in the project and, when available, materials were sourced locally as a preference, Cr McDonald said.
“Council is committed to preserving the heritage listed buildings and features of the treasured complex.
“Local architects experienced in working with heritage listed buildings and theatres were engaged to oversee the recent refurbishments work.
“The works were required to maintain the theatre as the premium venue for the region as outlined in a building condition report completed in 2014.
“This report identified the need for a program of works that were to be implemented over a number of years. The completed works are part of a rolling program of upgrade work at the Empire Theatre.
“Our Region enjoys an enviable reputation as a culturally rich and vibrant community and we are fortunate to have the Empire Theatre as a leading venue for high-quality productions.”
Empire Theatres General Manager, Kerry Saul said the reopening of the refurbished main theatre was an exciting event for Empire Theatre patrons.
“The theatre reopens for audiences with the opening night of the Empire Theatres and Heritage Bank hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, opening on March 22, Mr Saul said.
“Throughout the Kinky Boots season, there will be more than 5000 audience members making full use of the new and improved facilities.
“We have great expectations that the refurbished theatre will please our patrons and improve their overall experience at the Empire Theatre,
“The new Ticket Office is open and operational and our other venues, the Empire Church Theatre and the Armitage Centre have been well utilised while the Empire Theatre has been receiving its facelift.”
The Empire Theatres have a full and comprehensive selection of performances on offer for the remainder of 2019.
For more information about the Empire Theatre go to www.empiretheatre.com.au