Back in 1984 the Nimrod Theatre in Surry Hills was on the brink of being demolished. Sue Hill and Chris Westwood saw huge potential and convinced 50 of their buddies to invest $1000 to put a deposit on the building. 6 months following, a further 550 investors from the arts and entertainment industry jumped on the same band-wagon.
And so, the syndicate purchased the building and formed Belvoir Street Theatre Limited. Among the 600 owners are these amazing talents: Robyn Archer, Gillian Armstrong, Peter Carey, Ruth Cracknell, Judy Davis, Mel Gibson, Max Gillies, Dorothy Hewitt, Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Dame Joan Sutherland, Patrick White, David Williamson, Neil Armfield, Mike Willesee, Colin Friels, and Gwen Plumb.
Company B manages the theatre and produces the shows for the Belvoir Theatre. Artistic Director Neil Armfield, with his highly talented team, has created not only in Australia but internationally, one of the most respected and innovative theatre companies.
Company B engages Australia’s most prominent and promising directors, actors and designers and presents an artistic 12 month season that is popular, enthusiastic and stimulating to all.
The company’s vision is to: create contemporary, politically sharp, hard edged Australian theatre; to develop new forms of theatrical expression; to create work by and about Aboriginal Australians; contemporary music theatre; work created by women; radical interpretations of the classics and work that is surprising, diverse and passionate.
Up to 3,000 people a week, pass through the Belvoir foyer to see a show at either the Upstairs or Downstairs theatre.
Twenty years on, the beloved and well loved theatre is in need of some TLC. As of July next year the theatre will be fully refurbished and upgraded.
The Belvoir Theatre has 2 venues. Upstairs is run by Company B and seats up to 356. A three sided gradated seating arrangement with cushioned benches makes for top comfort and great visibility from every seat.
The pocket-sized theatre downstairs seats up to 80 and showcases the new wave of talent in independent theatrical works in a mainstream environment. The acts focus on new Australian works, re-invented classics and cutting-edge contemporary international writing. These productions are all high quality and offer an alternative to the big expensive shows.
Downstairs have ‘Cheap Choosedays’. Tuesday night is pay-what-you-can (min. $10) night for all B Sharp shows. Tickets cannot be booked in advance and are available one hour prior to the performance.
Tuesday to Saturday evenings The Belvoir St Theatre has a gourmet BBQ serving tasty sausage sandwiches, salads, wraps and noodle dishes. Open from 6:30pm until the end of the interval. The theatre bar serves up an assortment of beverages also!
Diana Simmonds from The Sunday Telegraph said “It’s truly amazing how year after year Belvoir, Up and Downstairs, remains central to artistic life and nourishment under Neil Armfield’s twinkly eye. The consistent standard maintained by the theatre… is something to be forever grateful for.”