Over the last six weeks the contractors have removed the exceptional art deco stained glass doors from the front entrance and the first-floor balcony. They have been stored to ensure they remain safe until the strengthening is completed, said Focus Project Management’s Herman Wismeyer.
The tiles on the foyer floor have also been removed and replacement tiles which are still available in Italy have been ordered to ensure the look remains the same. The old tiles were uneven and broken so trying to conserve them was impossible, said Mr Wismeyer. The floor had been photographed in detail to ensure the tilers can replicate the design.
The preparation will lead to a start on strengthening the unreinforced brick walls of the historic theatre and foyer.
As part of the first stage, the public toilets off the foyer will also be revamped. The old ticket booth under the staircase will be incorporated into the ladies’ bathroom, and the fixtures, fittings and décor updated. The men’s toilets will also get a facelift.
The $11.4 million project started on August 2 with the removal of the original art from the safety fence in front of the opera house. That had been stored and would be reinstated into the building precinct after construction was finished.
Hastings District Council has organised time lapse videos of the work to be uploaded to the Council website monthly so residents can see how the project is going, said Hastings District councillor and chairman of Council’s Opera House and arts precinct subcommittee chairman Malcolm Dixon.
“The videos are aimed at keeping the community continually updated with the opera house strengthening project. There is no better way than having an inside bird’s eye view. It’s going to be great to enjoy watching the progress on a regular basis,” he said.
As well as the time lapse videos, QR codes have been attached to the wall of The Plaza which take users through to the main Opera House web page and onto updates on the project.