(11.30am, Saturday 8 December 2012, Burton & Palmer Streets, Darlinghurst)
Hello, everyone, welcome to our Open Day. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.
Today, we wanted to give, the local residents, an opportunity to see the work that's been completed so far in this historic building.
Despite some delays caused by contaminated soil, additional plaster rectification, and the discovery of archaeological remains in the back-of-house area, work is still proceeding well and the original completion date of March next year has only been put back by a month to April.
The archaeological remains found in April this year were the sandstone foundations of terrace houses demolished when the rear building was constructed.
We can't get access to the upper floors today because of works to the plaster up there. The original plaster had a high salt content which needed to be removed. This is done by applying a poultice, a bit like papier-mache, which sits on the wall for two to three weeks, drawing out the salts. This work is being done by DLH Plastering, a specialist family company doing this sort of work over five generations.
When it's complete, the Playhouse will include:
- A theatre box office, cafÃ©, bar and public facilities in the basement level
- Restored heritage features
- 30 pods for a rainwater re-use system, located under the lower ground slab. These will collect stormwater run-off from the main roof areas for
re-use in toilets and hose taps
- The playhouse will also have energy-efficient lighting and solar panels on the roof
- We're creating a new backstage area, with dressing rooms, facilities for performers and offices and
- We're also installing stairs, a lift and a foyer to improve accessibility.
The Darlinghurst Theatre Company will be producing theatre here in collaboration with community groups and emerging artists. It will be a thrilling day for all of us when the curtains open next year.
So thank you all again for your interest in coming here today.
Thank you for your patience during the works and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of you, and your families, a very happy Christmas.