Potts Point rally to urge restoration of Metro-Minerva Theatre

The Metro-Minerva (then the Minvera Theatre) pictured on its opening night: Thursday, 18 May, 1939. Photo: dictionaryofsydney.org.

A Sunday, 5 December rally in Fitzroy Gardens will hear from performers, politicians, architects and local businesspeople, who will outline the social, cultural and economic benefits of restoring the Metro-Minerva Theatre as a functioning performing arts venue. By John Moyle.

A rally to raise community awareness of the viability of Potts Point’s Metro-Minerva Theatre as a
1,000 seat live venue will see two of the original cast members of Hair share the stage for the first time
in many years.

Marcia Hines and John Waters have remained good friends since they first trod the boards of the magnificent Streamline Moderne theatre in 1969 for what would be a record breaking two year run for the Broadway musical.

Also appearing in Fitzroy Gardens at 12.30pm on Sunday, 5 December will be star of cabaret and comedy Bob Downe, multi-award winning artist and producer Catherine Alcorn, singer and comedian Christa Hughes, and opera singer David Carroll.

An impressive roster of speakers will outline the case for the revitalisation of the theatre and will demolish the argument from would-be developers Central Element and architectural engineers Arup that it is impossible to restore the theatre as a performance space.

Internationally renowned cabaret and comedy star Bob Downe, pictured, will appear at the rally. Photo: Bob Downe/Facebook.

First up will be Metro-Minerva Theatre Action Group president and Potts Point Partnership chairman Brandon Martignago, who will put forward a case for the importance of the theatre as a central focus of the area and how a working theatre would benefit the business and cultural life of Potts Point and surrounds.

Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney, will outline the social, cultural and economic importance of a working theatre to the area and, indeed, to the state.

Renowned architect Andrew Andersons AO says the argument by Central Element and Arup that a hotel conversion is viable, while restoring the venue as a working theatre is not, is fallacious. He will explain in layman’s terms how and why the theatre can work again.

Olivia Ansell, the newly elected director of the Sydney Festival will speak on how important a 1,000 seat theatre is to the cultural landscape of Sydney and why it should be the Metro-Minerva.

The rally is the work the Metro-Minerva Theatre Action Group formed around the time of the theatre’s sale to Abacus Property Group, who have given Central Element a right to purchase until April next year.

The action group believes it is not too late to strengthen community support for the theatre option rather than just another hotel conversion that will keep the Art Deco exterior but destroy the internal spaces forever.

Media coordination for this important rally is being conducted by veteran arts patron and publicist Bruce Pollack AM, who can be contacted at bruce@pollackconsulting.com.

The rally to reinstate Metro-Minerva Theatre will be held from 12.30pm to 1.15pm on Sunday, 5 December at Fitzroy Gardens, Potts Point. For more information, visit the Metro-Minerva Theatre Action group website, located at www.metrominerva.com.

A Change.org petition to restore the Metro-Minerva as a functioning theatre can be signed online at www.change.org/p/lord-mayor-of-sydney-make-the-metro-minerva-theatre-live-again, while a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the cause is located at https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-metro-minerva.

John Moyle is the associate editor and special writer for the Sydney Sentinel. He is a committee member of Metro-Minerva Theatre Action Group.