Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Genesian Theatre/Kursaal Theatre

The Genesian Theatre in Kent Street Sydney is a lovely slice of the past in the middle of modern Sydney.

The building was completed in 1868 and was originally a church and school.

You can see traces of its original function by looking at the exterior of the building.

Around 1932, as the Kursaal Theatre, it became the home of the Sydney Repertory Company led by Scott Alexander. As an independent theatre it showcased a wide range of plays and writers including Shakespeare, Ibsen and local Australian talent. Alexander also held acting and speech classes in the building.

Alexander died in November 1938 but by that time The Company had moved to North Sydney.

The theatre became a refuge for homeless people, until 1954 when it was returned to use as a theatre for the Genesian Theatre Company.

According to the Genesian's own history, the company was formed by a group of Catholic youth who adopted the name of  the patron saint of actors, Saint Genesius.

I was lucky enough to attend a performance at the Genesian last night, and it is a really delightful little place that retains a lot of old world charm.

The staff were kind enough to let a mad historian take some photos...

I have no idea how much it would cost to maintain the building, but it must be a lot. So if you are interested in Sydney theatre pop along and watch a performance. I saw Charley's Aunt last night, and it was high quality and very entertaining. Here is my review.

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