The Art House
and Tim Brand
Living on the Central Coast is the lifestyle equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. Beautiful beaches, great coffee, food with character, shop owners with purpose. And now, a world class theatre right in our backyard.
It’s no secret that Coasties also love art, design and culture. Just look at the sheer volume of successful and diverse artists who hail from the Central Coast.
You can see our flair for design in every newly renovated fixer upper that’s turned into a delightful coastal dwelling. And the countless restaurants, shops and venues that colour our streets with their bold paint jobs, matched only by their equally creative interiors.
In an area that has almost everything we desire on tap, one shortcoming is quality performance spaces. Small independent spaces are springing up to fill a need, but there has been a glaring omission when it comes to world class venues that give the community access to travelling productions and performers that otherwise would have simply passed us by, quite literally, as they continued up the M1 for a venue in the Hunter Valley or Newcastle.
So if we follow the pattern of Coasties having access to the things we love, the addition of The Art House really completes the picture. It packages up culture, design, entertainment and art and allows us the experiences we deserve close to home. It also gives our very deserving local performers a wonderful space to present their craft.
From the outside The Art House is an architectural gem, with a beautiful and bold design that is all angles and colours and lights. Architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer both embraced the brief and surpassed it, producing a building that is as much a work of art as the performances it hosts. During the day the building is modern and stylish, with spare, muted tones and natural timber finishes. On performance nights it comes to life in a riot of crimson and purple that highlights the strong yet elegant lines of the design.
The interior features a 500 seat theatre, a studio with 130 retractable seats, a gallery in the foyer with adjoining courtyard, a bar and a meeting room. With soaring ceilings and curved white walls, the public spaces are designed to stylishly defer to their inhabitants – stunning artworks, suited and bejewelled theatre-goers, and glasses of bubbly.
The theatres are … pure theatre! With a classic proscenium arch and luscious, purple upholstered seats sitting below a stunning, geometric, ‘wrapped’ ceiling of slatted timber. The bespoke spotted gum slats fan out across the entire ceiling, giving off a golden glow and creating a positively regal space.
The Art House continues the arts legacy left by the Wyong Community Hall, formerly on the site, which was in operation for over 65 years. And it is certainly a fitting successor.
The official opening, held in May, set the scene and standard for what patrons can expect from the year-round arts program.
It featured high profile locals Gina Jeffreys, Greg Gould, Joshua Horner and alternative electronic pop band Elaskia. Students from Coast-based NAISDA Dance College performed magnificently, as did local talent from Options Theatre Company, Central Coast Opera, Primal Dance Company, Wyong Musical Theatre Company, and Wyong Drama Group.
More than the sum of its parts, The Art House is a brick and mortar symbol, a clear and palpable display, of the Central Coast’s ability to cultivate, foster and celebrate artistic talent.
It will offer locals and visitors opportunities for soul enriching experiences thanks to the likes of Chekhov, Ibsen, Miller, Shakespeare, Beckett, Pinter, Brecht and Molière. And it will hopefully see international acts including the Coast as a viable whistle-stop on their tours.
It will allow young and old alike to be wistful, romantic, devastated and inspired as they experience a ballet or an opera or a dream time story brought to life. All while comfortably seated on one of those 500 gorgeous purple chairs, with choice of tipple in hand.
For information on the current program and to purchase tickets, go to the website.