The National Theatre, which has become synonymous with films about the military, is taking another hit.
It’s been stripped of its marquee and its theatre marquee and is being replaced by a new cinema.
It will have a capacity of 15,000 people, but the new theatre will have only 20 seats.
The move comes after a two-month trial that saw the theatre open in April and then close the following month.
The Theatre Trust has said the changes will save the theatre an estimated £100,000 per year.
The National will be replaced by an outdoor entertainment center that will have two screens, a cinema, a bar and cafe, and a stage and theatre marquee.
The Trust said it would have the capacity of 30,000 seats and it had agreed to lease an adjacent space to the National.
However, it has also said the venue will have to be converted into a theatre, and the Trust is now seeking advice from the Royal Theatre Company (RTCC) on how to move forward with the conversion.
What does this mean for theatregoers?
For the first time in its 40-year history, the National is to close for refurbishment.
The theatre has been a fixture at the Royal and Victoria theatres for decades.
Its current building has been used as a cinema for the last four decades, but it has recently been under renovation to house a new stage and a theatre marquee, and has a small cinema, according to a press release.
The national theatre has had a long history of playing films about soldiers, sailors, and marines, and many have seen it as a home for films about war, said Mr M.O.R. James, the director of theatre and opera at the Trust.
“I don’t think there will be any real changes to that,” he said.
“It will still be a very good place to see movies.”
But he said that would change if the theatre closes.
“You could say that the National has been the place to go for decades,” he told the ABC.
“But that may change if it closes.”
What will happen to the theatre’s marquee?
The new cinema will be the largest theatre in Australia, but will still have a marquee.
Photo from the Trust website.
Photo by the Trust and the ABC/The National Theatre.
Mr James said he would have liked to see the theatre in the same location as the Royal but the Trust was not in a position to offer that.
“The National has a very large marquee, but we don’t have the space to build a bigger one,” he added.
The decision to close the National came after the Trust sought advice from a specialist architectural firm.
The Royal theatre Company has said it will consider the proposal, and that it will consult with stakeholders.
Mr M O R James said the Trust hoped the decision would help save the National, which he described as “a unique and wonderful place to visit”.
“It’s a very special place,” he noted.
How does it compare to other theatres in Australia? “
That’s why we want to keep it here and we want it to be here.”
How does it compare to other theatres in Australia?
It is the largest cinema in Australia.
Theatre Trust chairman and CEO Mark Smith said the new marquee would be about the size of the one at the Victoria Theatre.
“We want it bigger and to look more like the Victoria Grand Theatre,” he explained.
“What that means is it will have an auditorium stage and stage and marquee.
It won’t have any of the big screen, but there will still look like the Grand Theatre.”
What else is happening?
The National has had to take a two month trial to open the new venue.
It closed in April after opening to more than half its capacity.
The new theatre is scheduled to open on June 1.
Mr Smith said that the new Theatre Trust would not have been able to do the trials and trials would not be possible in the current financial environment.
The company said it was not making any financial commitments for the new theatres.
Mr O R, James said there would be no changes to the existing theatres and that the Trust had agreed a deal with the RTCC for the remaining space.
The RTCC told the Trust that it had not committed to any funding from the government, but Mr James suggested the Trust would look at other options if funding was not forthcoming.
“This has been about the trust coming together with a number of different organisations and trying to come up with a solution,” he concluded.
The Trust has also been working with the Victorian Government on the redevelopment of the Victoria Harbourfront, and plans to convert the Harbourfront to an urban park.”
So, I think we’re looking at other ways of getting the theatre back up and running.”
The Trust has also been working with the Victorian Government on the redevelopment of the Victoria Harbourfront, and plans to convert the Harbourfront to an urban park.