(6.30pm, Hayes Theatre)
Thank you, David, [Campbell], and hello, everyone. It's wonderful to be celebrating this first anniversary of the Hayes Theatre with you all. In just one year, the theatre has established itself - and the City of Sydney - as Australia's premier destination for music theatre and cabaret.This building was originally a community hall, built in 1967 by Sydney City Council and named after Reg Murphy, a local alderman as was custom then! I held many, often heated Kings Cross/Potts Point community meetings here as a Member for Bligh during the 90's. In 2004, it became the Darlinghurst Theatre and when the theatre company moved to our newly created Eternity Playhouse, we looked for a new life for this building. Many people in the local community, and in the performing arts, urged us to keep it as a theatre and in 2011, Council endorsed my recommendation that we retain the building as a theatre and find the best management model for it. We received nine expressions of interest from cultural and creative organisations and selected Independent Music Theatre - now the Hayes Theatre Company - from a strong field. Clearly we made the right choice. In just one year, the company has given us no less than eight main-stage productions and more than 21 cabaret productions, playing to over 25,000 audience members. But it's not just about the numbers: the venue has established its reputation on the sheer verve and quality of its work, whether it's a re-imagined classic, a new work from Australia or overseas, or a production designed for children. Its productions were nominated for eight Helpmann Awards and won three, and no less than 23 Sydney Theatre Awards, of which it won nine. And last week Hayes productions received four Glugs awards, along with the SBW lifetime achievement award for Hayes Theatre Chair Neil Gooding. It's productions have transferred to main stages here and inter-state and regionally and it has developed strong relationships with local businesses through the Potts Point Partnership and local venue partners. These are the sort of partnerships than can only enrich life in Sydney, and build on the distinctive nature of this neighbourhood which already has so much to offer. We want our city to be recognised internationally for its cultural life, just as it is already recognised for its natural beauty. To that end, we are really pleased about the transformation of the Baptist Tabernacle into Eternity Playhouse to add to Sydney's unique cultural venues, and that we were able to negotiate five floors of creative space in the Bathurst Street redevelopment of the former Water Board site for a peppercorn rent for 99 years, that will have studio and rehearsal space for artists of all kinds, to ensure they can continue to work in the city and continue to enrich all our lives. So I thank everyone involved with the Hayes Theatre - artists, management, front and back of house and your wonderful supporters - for a terrific first year. I look forward to 2015 and your further success.