Her Majesty’s Theatre Stage 3 Works

The Her Majesty’s Theatre Stage 3 works are the next phase of works to improve the capability and accessibility of the 148-year-old theatre.

The works will provide full accessibility to the theatre for patrons, staff and performers through the construction of two new lifts, an improved front of house area, new toilet facilities, administration area and associated works.

The focus of these works is for an integrated package of refurbishment and upgrade works that address the following identified priorities:

  • Improving accessibility.
  • Improving operational safety and compliance for audience, performers and staff.
  • Improving functionality.

The Stage 3 works were identified in a 2019 feasibility study prepared by a leading heritage architecture practice and follows on from previous stages identified in a 2006 feasibility study.  

Accessibility upgrades to improve the front-of-house (audience) access includes access and egress paths of travel within the venue and associated amenities

Back-of-house improvements include performer and administration access including paths of travel from the stage door to the operational areas below and at stage level.

The intent is to implement a Universal design approach that allows everyone to the greatest extent possible and regardless of age or disability, to use the building by providing more inclusive facilities. Accessibility includes physical, social, communication and information systems within the built environment.  

Functionality upgrades improve the operational efficiency and capacity of the venue.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is happening?

The Victorian State Government and City of Ballarat have committed to upgrade Her Majesty’s Theatre to improve accessibility, operational safety and functionality. This includes the construction of two new lifts, improved front of house area, new toilet facilities, administration area and associated works. 

Why is it happening?

Her Majesty’s Theatre is a significant and integral part of Ballarat’s creative and artistic life, but with a 147-year-old building comes certain structural challenges. The $14.8 million project will ensure the facility is suitably accessible to all people and will remain one of Ballarat’s premier assets long into the future.

When is it happening?

It is anticipated that the appointed contractor, Ballarat based Nicholson Construction will commence construction in early 2023. It is anticipated that works will be complete by mid-2024.

Will the Theatre remain open?

Her Majesty’s Theatre will be closed for the duration of the works with many of the theatre performances programmed into Civic Hall during this period. Please refer to www.hermaj.com for events information.

How may the works affect you?

Council will be working closely with the appointed contractor to limit impact on the public and surrounding neighbours and business owners. We will do this through regular site inspections throughout the works program.

Parking on Lewis Street and Lydiard Street may be restricted during the works to ensure safety of both contractors and members of the public. Any restrictions will be managed by Council.  

What are the main benefits to the community?

Currently the theatre has compromised access for patrons, staff and performers with mobility issues. There is no back of house DDA accessibility to the stage level for performers or staff and this has meant refusing bookings from artists with mobility needs in the past. The Stage 3 works will provide DDA access by way of a new lift, from the stage door on Lewis Street to stage level for performers with further access to accessible toilet facilities. The front of house area is similarly compromised for patrons, with the current lift at the end of it’s life cycle and in need of replacement. A new front of house lift will provide patrons with equitable access to the dress circle and balcony for patrons with mobility issues.  The front of house lift will also simplify access to the new accessible toilet facilities.

Additional works will upgrade the existing toilet facilities, improve emergency egress routes and provide a new front of house foyer, including bar and ticket box. The project will ensure the theatre is suitably accessible to all people and remain one of Ballarat’s premier assets long into the future.  

Who is funding it and for how much under what programs or initiatives?

The project is joint funded by the Victoria State Government and the City of Ballarat contributing $10m and $3.636m respectively.

Who are we working with?

The Stage 3 works have been designed with a specialist heritage architect, Conservation Studio, ensuring any changes are sympathetic to the character of the building. All works have been approved by Heritage Victoria and a heritage permit in place.  

The appointed contractor is local firm Nicholson Construction who worked with Council on previous stages of upgrades to the theatre and understand its importance as a heritage building and also as an asset for the Ballarat community.