Newtown Entertainment Precinct Association

THEATRE, STREET LIFE, SYNERGIES, VIBRANCY

The Newtown Precinct has been described as: 'The creative hotbed of Australia with its powerhouse of artists, performers, theatres, venues and creative industries'. The Australia Council 2011

It has the highest population of artists and performers in Australia and the highest concentration of independent theatres and live performance spaces in Sydney.

Some of our statistics:

  • 24 performance venues with total capacity for 9,600 persons;
  • Generating 507,000 paid attendances / visitations per annum;
  • Spending over $24.5M in Box Office tickets per annum;

The Newtown Entertainment Precinct Association (NEPA)

In 2002, Newtown Entertainment Precinct Association was formed by the operators of the local venues out of developing synergies and working relationships that were occurring spontaneously throughout the group. These included long-term theatre operators: Cleveland St Theatre, Enmore Theatre, New Theatre, Newtown Theatre,  PACT Theatre, Seymour Theatre Centre and Sidetrack Theatre.

Originally set-up to promote Newtown as an entertainment destination and provide a voice for theatre arts and live music, NEPA has travelled a long journey and instigated some ground-breaking initiatives detailed further below.

NEPA and the Newtown Precinct Business Association (NPBA)

Traditionally there has been a great synergy between theatres and vibrant street life precincts. NEPA has been committed to enhance this synergy, celebrate the diversity of street life and provide greater co-operation and support between the businesses and various groups in the precinct.

The creation of this official and definitive portal to the Newtown Precinct has been a demonstration of the partnering and collaboration that exists between NEPA and NPBA.

Newtown Entertainment Precinct’s achievements

NEPA’s, journey from 2002 saw it reveal the Precinct as a many-layered cultural and creative ferment. The venues were only the tip of the iceberg! The artists’ and performers’ population, creative industries and practitioners, arts and cultural education, underground activity, the emergence of artist run spaces, all were revealed in NEPA’s work on the Precinct. This work could not have happened without Marrickville Council. Council has supported and worked closely with NEPA from day one. With its strong cultural vision and real backing, Council has enabled NEPA to achieve:

  • Cooperation and promotion between all the venues and joint marketing and promotions;
  • A strong voice for and advocacy of the Precinct and its cultural and artistic life;
  • The move into providing bureau services to artists and artist run spaces;
  • The formal cooperation between Marrickville Council and City of Sydney to provide a clear and unified approach to the whole Newtown Precinct (split between these two Councils);
  • Participation in the ground-breaking Marrickville Council’s Cultural Mapping Exercise;
  • The creation by NEPA of a broadly-based business association – the NPBA;
  • The creation and inauguration of the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Along this journey the City of Sydney entered the scene (when South Sydney Council was dissolved) and together both Councils have been keen supporters of NEPA, the Newtown Precinct and its extraordinary, rich cultural and civic life.

The Sydney Fringe Festival

In 2008, NEPA with the assistance of both Councils conducted an extensive study into determining the need for an alternative-type arts festival in Sydney. The study found that it was greatly needed and that there was strong support for such a festival.

The report is a fascinating study on Fringe festivals the world over and has provided a bedrock on which we have built our Sydney Fringe. The second part of the study investigated where the Festival should be housed. The unanimous feedback was that it should be in the Newtown Precinct and the Festival should be centred and have its critical mass in the Newtown Precinct –  as the Precinct uniquely combines performance spaces from arts centres to artist run spaces, extensive public transport, along with a vibrant civic streetscape and by ways with a tremendous array of hotels, cafes, small bars, restaurants of many nationalities along with every retail and service imaginable from dreadlocks to rubber wear and Grace Kelly vintage, book shops, cinema, supermarkets and specialty.

The inaugural Sydney Fringe was held in September 2010 and is now in its 3rd year. Visit www.sydneyfringe.com

The Theatres and Entertainment of the Precinct

There are over a dozen  major performance spaces or complexes  in the Newtown precinct from the intimate New Theatre, the oldest performing company in Australia to the new addition of Carriageworks, to the 2,200-seat art-deco Enmore Theatre and its eclectic productions.

The precinct is a hub of entertainment and complimenting the theatres is a host of performance spaces in hotels and cafes together with outdoor festivals and events and street entertainment. The diversity of entertainment from drag to drama, Rolling Stones to street buskers attracts a great cross-section of patrons to the Newtown precinct, who then have the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and activities of the precinct.

The Association consists of:

  • Seymour Theatre Centre-the performing arts complex at the University of Sydney,
  • CarriageWorks the performing arts centre at Wilson Street Newtown comprising 3 large flexible spaces home to the Performance Space and a number of other theatre and performance companies
  • New Theatre-the oldest theatre company in Australia;
  • Factory Theatre Complex, the new complex at lower Enmore which includes 3 performance spaces;
  • Vanguard-one of the City’s leading intimate music/cabaret spaces;
  • Dendy Cinemas-leading independent cinema exhibitors;
  • King Street Theatre-independent alternative theatre
  • Sidetrack Studio Theatre at Addison Rd Centre,
  • Enmore Theatre-the oldest heritage theatre in Sydney
  • PACT Youth Theatre in Erskineville;
  • Cleveland Street Theatre;
  • Red Rattler