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News August 15, 2022

Venues Update: Stadiums and Theatres Plugging In For More Live Entertainment

Senior Journalist, B2B
Venues Update: Stadiums and Theatres Plugging In For More Live Entertainment

More stadiums and theatres in Australia have plans to host live entertainment events, with Sydney’s Allianz Stadium gearing up for a massive launch.

Arriving in a blaze of publicity is Sydney’s 42,500 seat state-of-the-art Allianz Stadium which offers fans a closer-to-the-action experience with a steep incline on three levels of seating on each side, and two levels at the ends.

There’s also a 360-degree open concourse inside and outside, better accessibility, and food and beverages from the Merivale hospitality group.

Music punters get to check out the new Allianz Stadium at the free Sunday, Aug. 28 community Open Day and Night with Guy Sebastian and Baker Boy.

But the real razzmatazz comes in mid-October with two shows from Bruno Mars via TEG Dainty, which will inject $16 million into the NSW economy as fans flock from all over the country.

The stadium closed in 2018 with a one-off Michael Bublé gig.

The 30,000-seat McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle was also in the news as Elton John is playing there on Jan. 10, 2023 as part of Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour.

The last time it hosted music was in February 1990 when a Midnight Oil-headed star-studded bill drew a sell-out crowd to raise $800,000 for the Newcastle Earthquake Recovery Concert.

But things have been moving behind-the-scenes to get music into the stadium more regularly.

City of Newcastle and Venues NSW recently signed a new Major Events Partnership to bring world-class sports, music and entertainment to both McDonald Jones Stadium and the 7,500-seat Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Elton date “[showed] Australia and the world that we’re a global events city”.

“We’re on a cusp of a new era thanks to a strategic focus led by City of Newcastle attracting events, the backing of the local business and tourism industry, and Venues NSW expanding its vision beyond sports for McDonald Jones Stadium,” she added.

Also in Newcastle, the Victoria Theatre could fill the vacuum when the Cambridge Hotel closes next year as a premier live music venue to become student accommodation.

It was bought in 2015 by Sydney-based operator Century Venues (Enmore, Metro, Factory Theatres) which has slowly done renovations to make it a 900- capacity working venue.

But this month the NSW Government threw in $4 million as part of the $72 million Create NSW Creative Capital Fund to see through stage one.

Ben Franklin, NSW minister for the arts, said: “Performances are on track to return to the historic location within 12 months, bringing 170,000 visitors, artists and staff to the theatre in its first three years.”

In other news for Sydney, the 2,600-seat Concert Hall at the Opera House re-opened after a $300 million revamp, and construction will begin early next year on the new sports and concerts Penrith Stadium to seat 25,000 to 30,000 when it opens in 2025.

The 1,000-seat Comedy Theatre in Melbourne will cater for more major cabaret, musical theatre and comedy acts with a new larger stage and back of house areas as part of a $211 million revamp by owner the Marriner Group and developer LaSalle Investment Management.

The proposal includes 23 levels of office space, new rehearsal facilities and a restaurant, bar and event space.

The Woden Hellenic Club in Canberra has put forward a major proposal that will include an office tower, food precinct and luxury hotel, and an auditorium housing a 2,000-seat theatre.

Hobart could end up with a new 30,000-seat stadium as the Australian Football League has primly told the Tasmanian government that it’s a criteria before the island state gets its own team.

The venue will be part of a new arts and entertainment precinct.

Talks have begun for the construction of a 20,000-seat stadium inside the Brisbane Showgrounds from 2026 onwards to replace the Gabba which is undergoing a $1 billion redevelopment in time for the 2032 Olympics, the Courier Mail reported.

Barlow Park in Cairns, which hosts concerts and sports events, looks like having 5,000 extra seats to bring its capacity to 20,000 and $10 million for both new lighting and a modernisation of audio-visual facilities as the venue gets ready for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The Barlow Park upgrades appears to put a new 20,000-seat rectangular stadium on the backburner. Mooted last year, it was to have cost $130 million.

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