At the time of writing this Sydney venues are opening up to audience capacities of 75%. With Covid 19 check ins it is advisable to arrive a half an hour before the scheduled performance time.
One is hurried in and may miss one of the additional pleasures, in particular a spectacular foyer.
The grand- daddy of them all is the State Theatre in Market Street, Sydney. The building was completed in 1929 after a two year build.
It is an unusual blend of Art Deco and Heraldic decoration obviously reflecting the interests of the architect Henry Eli White. It was heritage listed and there are tours of the foyer, but whether these have recommenced is an uncertainty.
Like the State Theatre, the Randwick Ritz was heritage listed in 1999. It is located at 43 St Pauls Street, Randwick, the area colloquially known as the Spot. It was designed by Aaron Bolot in a classic Art Deco design in 1937, featuring Egyptian motifs with their sharp, angular lines complementing those of the Art Deco movement.
In 2008 the Australian Film Walk Of Fame was created outside the theatre’s foyer, with plaques honouring members of the Australian film industry.
Those honoured include Charles Tingwell, Michael Caton , Claudia Karvan, Jack Thompson , Barry Otto and Deborah Mailman, to name but a few.
The next two theatres are not heritage listed and, in fact, one of them, the Camelot Lounge, had to move to its current premises because the previous venue was declared a fire trap. It is located at 103 Marrickville Road, Marrickville.
It is not a traditional foyer as such. As you enter the venue after climbing a steep flight of stairs, you are confronted with a jumble of camels and Botero paintings with their oversize subjects and flamboyance.
It is co-owned by Tony Hecimovic and Yaron Hallis, who is the lead singer and founder of Monsieur Camembert. The band is depicted on the Lounge’s wall and the real Yaron Hallis can be seen on many nights serving pizzas and the like .
The Factory Theatre located at 105 Victoria Road, Marrickville is not a traditional foyer as such as it has no roof. However, at night, when you enter this space you are dazzled by a cornucopia of fairy lights and decorations.
It reminded me of the nocturnal decorations of Luna Park. The space opens up to a number of venues and once again you may be rushing to find the appropriate performance space thus missing the fairyland above you.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Palace Central foyer in the Central Park complex . At this venue you are greeted by long wall apertures of colour alternating neon lights. You don’t have to look up to see or feel the impact of this foyer.
Photos and text by Ben Apfelbaum.