56 Neil Street, Toowoomba City, Toowoomba
To accommodate the expectations of today's audiences, inside the theatre architects added glass towers to the original building to house complimentary foyers on two levels complete with four bars, supper and lounge areas. While the foyers and auditorium remain faithful to their art deco origins, backstage has been completely redesigned to include the modern facilities required to stage the most complex of productions.
The stage is over 13 metres wide and 8 metres high with more than 15 metres of wing space combined. It has 80 fly lines including 5 overhead lighting bars and an orchestra pit that can be hydraulically raised to audience floor or stage thrust levels. Visiting crews find bumping in fast and easy with direct loading dock access to the stage on the same level. Unloading can be assisted by the dock door scissor lift and smaller trucks can simply drive onto stage to unload.
Performers are also well catered for with individual facilities for 65 people in eight dressing rooms and below-stage orchestra dressing and tuning rooms. All dressing rooms are equipped with their own shower, toilet facilities, hanging space and lockers for personal belongings.
One of the Empire Theatre's most striking features, the grand proscenium arch is magnificent. The lattice-look plaster patterning of the arch, back lit with a parade of colours, creates a frame for performers on stage.
The walls throughout the building are painted with the original cream and metallic gold colours which were determined by paint scrapings of the peeling paint that were taken from heritage fittings and walls. The Empire Theatre reincarnation is the work of architect/designers Hassall Pty Ltd who ensured the three design periods of its history remained evident.
In partnership with organisations including the Toowoomba Central Plaza Apartment Hotel and Encores at the Empire Restaurant, the Empire Theatre extends their services to assist with accommodation and meals for touring artists and can coordinate conferences and corporate launches.
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