Life & Style

Victoria Theatre Newcastle

Take a 3D historical look of the Victoria Theatre

Take a step back in time with the launch of Come Backstage!, a new behind-the-scenes video showcasing parts of Newcastle’s iconic Victoria Theatre as it stood in 1891.

The 12-minute flythrough of a 3D model of the theatre, complete with narration, provides viewers with a unique historical look at the venue’s original stage, backstage areas, dressing rooms and even the Theatre Manager’s office.

victoria theatre 3d historical flythrough video newcastle nsw
Gallery in the flytower - view of the sandbags the flymen swung on to operate the 'flying' system for scenery.

Viewers will also explore scenery from the venue’s first-ever theatre show, Evangeline, produced by the McMahon brothers who brought it to Newcastle all the way from Broadway; as well as the gas-lit footlights, stage machinery, staircases, ladders, and even the fly gantries where ‘flymen’ would operate the rope pulley system to fly scenery in and out of the stage.

The University of NSW’s Associate Professor, Gillian Arrighi, led the project and says that this video is the first time that we can see what a late-19th century Victorian theatre looked like backstage including its machinery, lighting and technology that were used to create the illusions on stage.

“Over the past 18 months, my team has completed painstaking and meticulous research to bring The Victoria’s historic stagehouse to life in 3D. Our artist hand-painted all of the scenery pieces, as well as the decoration on the proscenium arch, using original sources before rendering them digitally. Every digital item has been created for this project,” said Dr Arrighi.

victoria theatre 3d historical flythrough video newcastle nsw
Star actress's dressing room

In addition to Dr. Arrighi, the team behind the 3D modeling and video include John Senczuk (scenographer, designer, historian), Dr. Prue Sailer (illustrator and painter), Jean-Luc Schmid (3D modeler) and Dr. Zi Siang See (extended reality specialist).

The project Come Backstage! Behind the Scenes at the Victoria Theatre, 1891 is part of the national AusStage Phase 7, funded by the Australian Research Council through the Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities scheme.

To view Come Backstage, head to the website here, and learn more about this iconic Newcastle venue.