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Construction commences for brand new production of West Side Story on Sydney Harbour

March 1, 2019 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email


This week, the foundations are being laid at Mrs Macquaries Point for the eighth Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, which will present a Broadway musical for the first time in 2019.

Boasting a stage that is almost two and a half times larger than any indoor stage in Australia, the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour series is one of the biggest outdoor theatrical events in the country, and a highlight of the Australian cultural calendar.

The stage and venue are constructed from the ground up in just 25 days by a crew of approximately 150 people for an exclusive four week performance season.

The West Side Story set, designed by award-winning designer Brian Thomson, will begin to take shape in the coming weeks with an urban New York City-inspired stage design that features a highway overpass that weighs approximately ten tonnes and soars 15 metres above the stage, three custombuilt subway cars and the West Side Story letters spelled across the back of the stage.

Cranes position the 80 tonne foundation of the stage onto 9 pylons in the water to create a seemingly floating stage which can support up to 150 tonne in weight. Throughout the performance, the stage is accessed via a floating walkway that connects land and sea.

The custom-built venue includes the expansive stage which sits above the Harbour, an orchestra pit, which is hidden in the ‘underworld’ directly beneath the stage, plus on land there’s site and crew offices, dressing rooms, and grandstand seating for approximately 3,000 people.

The site also includes infrastructure for a range of dining outlets that cater for the thousands of attendees that flock to the event from around Australia and across the globe, including fine dining offerings in the Travel Associates Platinum Club, relaxed dining in the Northern and Southern Terraces, Northern Cantina, Qantas Garden Bar and Sparkling Wine and Oyster carts dotted throughout the venue.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and Dr Haruhisa Handa through the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.



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