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The Sale of the Genesian Theatre's Historic Premises

Central Sydney's oldest operating community theatre, The Genesian Theatre Co has announced that the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has entered a contract of sale for its historic premises in Kent Street.

The heritage listed building which houses the Genesian Theatre Company was originally St John's Church, and dates from 1868. It served as both a church and a poor school until 1932 when it became the Kursaal Theatre, housing the Sydney Repertory Company. In 1938 it became the first Matthew Talbot Hostel. Since 1954 it has been the home of the Genesian Theatre Company which was formed in 1944.

The Genesian Theatre has introduced countless household names over the decades, trained numerous backstage and technical crew and has entertained over half a million people. Those who had their early theatrical experience at the Genesian include Bryan Brown, Baz Luhrmann, Nick Enright, Judi Farr, Peter Carroll and John Bell amongst others.

Playing most weekends of the year, the theatre is entirely volunteer and is one of the few low cost theatre options for patrons in the central City. It has a diverse repertoire and has staged Sydney premieres of works by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mel Morrow, Tim Firth as well as Shakespeare productions and regular sell out Agatha Christie adaptations.

Theatre Director Roger Gimblett said the company was devastated by the sale but it had not been entirely unexpected noting the surrounding real estate values. He said the Board of the Theatre was working constructively with both the Archdiocese and Sydney City Council to ensure the continuation of a theatre company that is a significant icon in the Sydney theatre scene.