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The Capitaol Theatre Sydney


The renovation of The Capitol Theatre was a labour of love by many dedicated and skilled people including architects, builders and subcontractors. This section provides a brief insight into what was involved in the renovation.

• The Master Builders Association of NSW awarded its Restoration / Renovation and Outstanding Workmanship Awards to Fletcher Construction for their work on The Capitol Theatre.

• Fletcher Construction worked closely with architects Peddle Thorp, the Heritage Council and Sydney City Council to ensure a balance was achieved between retaining the heritage significance of the 1927 atmospheric lyric theatre interior and satisfying the sophisticated requirements of modern theatrical productions.

• The penetration of external noise into the theatre is controlled by the construction of a new roof mounted on the existing roof. This was built early in the works period to allow the time-consuming task of restoring and reconstructing the plaster statues to begin as soon as possible.

• Other work in the auditorium included the demolition and reconstruction of the stalls floor, construction of balcony boxes, ceiling hatches and roof, re-configuration of the proscenium arch and the painting of the ceiling in a rich deep blue to create the desired effect of a Mediterranean night sky.

• The circular boxes (balcony stalls) on each side of the dress circle were added to the original 1928 design.

Andrew Andersons Talks – Architect, Director of Peddle Thorp Architects and overall supervisor of the restoration project.

“We took in two bays of the Manning Building next door to fit in the new foyer and the working spaces – rehearsal rooms etc. But it was still pretty tight getting the detail planning right for the very specific interrelationships that are necessary behind the scenes in a theatre”

“Though the decorations in the new lobby are quite different from the old, certain devices remain the same. The carpet flows through both, and there’s theatrical new bracket lighting, which is the same kind of device as the period brackets in the old part, but completely different in style and effect. The new ceiling is cobalt blue, but overlaid with a stainless steel mesh, as opposed to having those little twinkling stars, and the walls use the same rich earth colours: terracottas, ochres etc’

“The old part of the building is rich in decorative works, sculptural embellishments, and it seemed very desirable that the new area should have a memorable example of today’s art. Laurens Tan’s marvellous sculpture titled ‘Octogene’ has certain linkages with 1928. The enormous baroque frame is the sort of thing you might well have seen in a grand old cinema, but it’s entirely contemporary in execution, being out of galvanised steel sheeting. State of the art technology is used in the video art which is a principle component.”