News June 26, 2018

Century Venues eyeing Wollongong’s Regent Theatre

Century Venues eyeing Wollongong’s Regent Theatre

Sydney venue operator Century Venues is looking at the possibility of renovating Wollongong’s Regent Theatre.

The company owns and operates four Sydney venues: the Enmore, Metro and Factory Theatres, and the Comedy Store.

It bought the heritage listed Victoria Theatre in Newcastle in 2015 to rejuvenate it.

It has similar plans for the 1,200-seat Regent, with executive director Greg Khoury looking at a larger network where a concert tour or production can, after its Sydney run, also extend to Newcastle and Wollongong.

Khoury told the Illawarra Mercury that the company would be having talks with local council about having regular live music shows there.

The Regent, which started life as a cinema in the late 1950s showcased the occasional music act under previous owner, the Gateway City Church who bought it in 2005 for $3.5 million and spent another $1 million tarting it up.

The Keira Street theatre recently changed hands, but the church will continue to use it until development plans for the theatre are firmed.

But to become a regular music venue, it would need more backstage facilities such as a green room and air conditioning.

News of the Regent’s revitalisation comes just as the 933-seat Wollongong Town Hall is also to be revitalised as a live music venue.

Aside from its 824-seat main auditorium, the building – which is in the Wollongong arts precinct – also has a Music Lounge which seats 165.

Merrigong Theatre Company’s director Simon Hinton told the Mercury that the plan to spend $2 million over the next four years to upgrade its lighting and sound system.

The news was greeted with enthusiasm by the local live music and tourism sectors, which despair how the ‘Gong’s music consumers prefer to drive to Sydney to catch gigs.

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