The Formative Years
Iconic venues pt.
On terra australis, there are quite a few iconic venues.
When it comes to medium-sized ones, Sydney’s style Enmore Theatre is amongst my favourite for shows. Given that it was erected at the beginning of the century, it is not only heritage-listed but also one of the longest running theatres in the Southern hemisphere. Designed by architects Kaberry and Chard it was originally incepted during a period where Australia was on a quest to determine a “national style”, which was influenced by both classical as well as the contemporary styles prevalent in the old world of the time and eventually resulted in the Enmore’s unique melange of art deco, Edwardian and art nouveau styles with its trademark rendered masonry and raised parapet.
Closely linked with the cultural and arts buzz that Newtown radiates, I have seen some of my favourite live shows there. As The Enmore is often chosen for secret or side shows of bigger acts, I was fortunate enough to witness acts as diverse as Bob Dylan, Dizzie Rascal, Icehouse, Lilly Allen, Sonic Youth, TLC and Oasis in its beautiful, intimate environment.
Apart from being a venue for performances, the late twentieth century saw The Enmore being used by the local community with the advent of independent thinking and activism, e.g. for local acts and performances in support of community interests. Location-wise, while being located outside Sydney’s CBD, it is easily reachable via public transport.
The State Theatre located smack bang in Sydney’s central business district is another heritage-listed theatre, where it hosts film screenings, live theatre and musical performances, and on an annual basis the formidable Sydney Film Festival.
Designed by the architect Henry Eli White in the late 1920s, who has an extensive track record of designing theatres, the State Theatre is a feast for the eyes as with its fly-tower stages, balconies and extravagant interior. With its Baroque details, a Gothic Hall, mosaic tiling, tiered seating and doomed ceiling it is a magnificent and ornate venue, which is an exercise par excellence when it comes to consistent composition, down to the street frontage.
I witnessed some fantastic shows there, including seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds stage-side as well as comedy shows that could not have found a grander ambience. The cherries on top is a four-tonne heavy crystal chandelier as well as one of the bigger Wurlitzer organs in the Southern hemisphere.
photos from respective venue website
pictured: Enmore Theatre (top), State Theatre (bottom)