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Newtown’s The Hub To Re-Open As Live Venue

Written by Greg Moskovitch on March 24, 2014

Following a $500,000 renovation, the Vlattas family, who own the newly renovated Cleveland Street Theatre and have ties to the owners of the Enmore Theatre, have put hundred-year-old Newtown landmark The Hub out to tender, and want to see it re-open it as a live venue within three months.

As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, the Vlattas family have close ties to the Century Venues group, who own Newtown’s famous Enmore Theatre, and are presently involved in renovating the Marina Picture Palace in Rosebery, which they also hope to give a new life as a live venue.

In the meantime, family spokesman Chris Vlattas is hoping a theatre company wins the tender for the Hub. “Cate Blanchett could direct a show here and the quality would be there,” he tells Fairfax, adding that the venue could be used for music, cabaret or “live shows like MTV Unplugged.”

Located in the heart of Newtown, The Hub opened as the Bridge Theatre in 1913, staging vaudeville shows before switching to films in 1934. Chris’ grandfather, Chris Louis, bought the 1500-seater in 1969 to screen soccer matches and Greek films, before it was damaged by a bomb in 1971.

By the late ’70s it had been converted into a cinema for pornographic films until pressure from authorities saw it close in 1996. Since then “it’s been a location for nearly forty TV commercials from Europe,” as well as Fringe Theatre and Sydney Comedy Festival performances, says Chris.

Renovations have included attempting to restore the venue’s original colour scheme as well as 11 original, flying saucer-style ceiling lights. The venue has also undergone crucial soundproofing so that the new operator can feature live music performances without upsetting nearby residents.

The Vlattas’ previous restoration effort, the 350-seat Cleveland Street Theatre, has been hosting The Chaser’s Giant Dwarf group since January and hosts live shows and stand-up comedy. Commercial leasing agent Chris Yiallouros tells Fairfax there has been interest in the Hub tender from abroad.

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