Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide, Australia

Revival of a theatrical icon in Adelaide

There are stage veterans who still remember when Her Majesty's Theatre was the heart of Adelaide. Every performance used to overflow with local workers in the upper gallery seats, high up on level three, unofficially named 'the gods'. Constructed in 1913, Her Majesty’s is Adelaide’s oldest continually operating theatre.

After ‘the gods’ were shut down and essentially forgotten about for decades, they were recreated, together with the restoration and expansion of the iconic theatre and completed in early 2021.

Aurecon was part of the specialist team with designer Cox Architecture, restoring the theatre back to its Edwardian grandeur with new seating for 1 400 people, an auditorium spread over three storeys, rejuvenated foyers and a spacious backstage area. Aurecon took on the full building services design role, which encompassed electrical, audio visual, security, mechanical, fire, hydraulics and lifts.

The cornerstone of every design decision is ensuring an exceptional patron experience. The design team achieved this through acoustic performance, flexible and attractive lighting designs, foyer arrangements that ‘wow’ audiences, and auditorium seating geometry for the best possible viewing.

Aurecon’s solutions were integral in achieving this through:

  • Under-seat air cooling that achieves a balance between comfort and acoustics. The cooling system integrates emergency smoke management and has freed up floor space for auditorium geometry and extra seating capacity, which was a challenge due to the fixed dimensions of the existing theatre
  • Pedestrian modelling in the foyers to maximise circulation space for theatre audiences and ensure easy interaction with the ticketing desks, as well as with food, beverage and retail areas
  • Lighting design developed together with the interior design to enhance the heritage features of the building and provide flexibility to cater for a variety of performances
  • The backstage amenity that created a quality experience for visiting productions, and systems with technical capability, flexibility and capacity on the stage to handle the electrical and mechanical requirements of each performance
  • When designing the building services systems, Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology was used to make sure they are hidden from view and allow for the maximum use of space both onstage and in the backstage areas

This is a building for the cultural future of Adelaide. Her Majesty’s is once again hosting music, dance, comedy, theatre and musical productions and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Rendered images supplied by, and credited to, Cox Architecture.

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