Something old, something new. But still very much blue.
Two years ago, Northbridge’s The Blue Room Theatre celebrated its 30th birthday with a major fundraiser to transform the upstairs bar and balcony. Their supporters dug deep to fund the transformative renovations, and now The Blue Room Theatre is ready to unveil their new digs.
In true theatre style, WA Set Designer extraordinaire Bryan Woltjen has led the planning and design for the new space. “I cut my teeth at The Blue Room Theatre so it’s been an incredible project to design the bar as a project unto itself,” said Woltjen.
“It was important that the space design captured the essence of what audience and artists already loved about the space, reflected the theatre that the building is home to, while being welcoming and accessible to a range of new audiences.”
Anyone who has been to The Blue Room Bar knows it’s intimate and relaxed. Referred to as the lounge room of Perth theatre, it is the perfect place to catch up before a show and debrief after seeing some entertaining local performances. Woltjen and Executive Director of The Blue Room Theatre, Katt Osborne, have ensured this vibe remains:
“The Blue Room Theatre’s performance spaces and bar are intimate, cosy and welcoming. Being able to come in and see familiar faces, hang out with your favourite artists, and be immersed in theatre and conversation is what it’s all about,” said Osborne.
This atmosphere has partly been achieved by honouring snippets of memory and history throughout the room, including featuring two pieces of The Blue Room Theatre’s iconic 1994 mural by Tom Alberts set into the bar itself. Eclectic and full of charm, you’ll find new art pieces that reflect a recent history of performances alongside remnants of posters glued to the wall promoting shows from the early 1990s.
And don’t worry, the famous toasted sandwiches (rumoured to contain all the nutrients needed to get an artist through production week) are here to stay!
Something that is new is the liquor licence that will see the bar and balcony space open to everyone—not just those with a ticket for a Blue Room Theatre show—and for longer hours.
But a visit to the bar will likely tempt you to see a performance: perusing the first program for 2021 you’ll find a First Nations family drama, Kangaroo Stew; a rollicking roller derby adventure with Ugly Virgins; the elusive MoR, an exploration of brown motherhood through poetry and science; and The Summer of Our Lives, an ET inspired musical comedy.
There has not been a better time to visit the Perth Cultural Centre, The Blue Room Theatre’s homely hub of arts, culture and events in the heart of Northbridge. The WA Museum Boola Bardip reopened with much fanfare late last year and the Art Gallery of WA is expanding their gallery space complete with a massive rooftop venue and open-air sculpture park. Thoroughfares have been activated in recent months with FRINGE WORLD in the State Theatre Centre of WA and Perth Festival’s immersive site-specific experience, City of Lights.
Osborne said the new bar ensures The Blue Room Theatre remains a vibrant venue for the next generation, capitalising on these increased goings-on within the Perth Cultural Centre. “We’ve kept the essence of what makes The Blue Room Theatre bar so special, we’ve just brought it into the now. Our bar will continue to be a true artistic meeting place and hub in the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre and thanks to our generous supporters, it will be a space open to more of the community more of the time,” says Osborne.
The Blue Room Theatre’s fundraising campaign for the renovations raised $137,000, which included $50,000 of matched dollar-for-dollar funding through Creative Partnerships Australia’s Plus1 scheme.