THEATRE’S MOD­ERN MAKEOVER

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | ESCAPE -

From the minute you step into Mel­bourne’s Princess Theatre, you are be­ing trans­ported into the wiz­ard­ing world.

The his­toric theatre un­der­went a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar re­fur­bish­ment to ac­com­mo­date Harry Pot­ter and the Cursed Child. The ex­te­rior has a fresh coat of paint in­clud­ing gold touches on the fa­cade’s or­nate plas­ter­work, and a gi­ant bird’s nest sculp­ture has been in­stalled.

In­side, changes in­clude new stained glass lunette win­dows and light fix­tures, new seats and Hog­warts-themed wall­pa­per and car­pet.

Un­seen in­fra­struc­ture was also up­graded to ac­com­mo­date the play’s tech­ni­cal ef­fects.

“There were so many tal­ented peo­ple in­volved through­out the ren­o­va­tion process,” theatre de­sign­ers Chris­tine Jones and Brett J Banakis said. “We proudly worked with nu­mer­ous lo­cal trades­peo­ple in­clud­ing our team of Mel­bourne-based en­gi­neers, con­trac­tors, car­pen­ters and crafts­men.

“To­gether, we have built a home for artists and au­di­ences now, and we hope, for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

The ex­ten­sive works needed to se­cure the award-win­ning pro­duc­tion are al­ready pay­ing off. Ex­perts fore­cast The Cursed Child will in­ject mil­lions, even po­ten­tially bil­lions, into the Victorian econ­omy over its long run.

“Typ­i­cally, tourists from in­ter­state and over­seas make up 30 per cent of au­di­ences for Mel­bourne’s theatre shows,” a Visit Vic­to­ria spokesman re­cently told the Her­ald Sun. “But Harry Pot­ter and the Cursed Child is ex­pected to draw much higher num­bers, given 75 per cent of ticket hold­ers for the play in New York are tourists.”

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