Readers call for Seymour redevelopment


A whopping 83 per cent of readers believe the Seymour Centre in Sydney should be completely redeveloped as it continues to struggle for a presence in the city.

The poll on the website suggests it is time for a complete facelift for the theatre centre that was once the home of now defunct national musical theatre company Kookaburra.

Kookaburra calling the venue home was another failed chance to revive the iconic venue, which has also lost Short & Sweet this year – with that concept being split between the Newtown Theatre and NIDA.

The Seymour Centre has announced a 2010 program of shows, but it is a far cry from when it had the theatre world talking when Julie Mullins launched a program in late 2007 that was set to revitalise the performing arts centre.

Mullins announced the Seymour’s inaugural subscription season, and a week later seemingly disappeared. That season appeared to signal a change of focus for the Seymour, which has for the past three decades primarily run as a venue for hire.

On that night in October 2007, there was little doubt that the Seymour had shown its hand as a future Sydney theatre powerhouse, and Mullins did the concept every possible favour by delivering a stirring and memorable speech at the launch that earned audience attention that would be the envy of any other artistic director.

But Mullins’ departure soon after was the first in a series of setbacks for the Seymour, which included Kookaburra’s collapse last year. It threw a spanner in the works as far as the stability of the venue was concerned.

In March 2008, there was speculation that the University of Sydney was planning to demolish and redevelop the Seymour Centre, but that was denied.

Tim Jones is the current General Manager of the Seymour Centre, and he faces great challenges, including making the Seymour Centre appealing to general theatre audiences.

With an overwhelming majority of people suggesting it needs to be redeveloped, perhaps a fresh coat of paint for the Seymour Centre is a good place to start.

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