An old beauty being brought back to life
The Victoria is the oldest theatre building in New South Wales, but until now we didn’t know how the auditorium and stage looked or just how beautiful the interiors were when the theatre first opened.
On Tuesday 13th November the doors to the Victoria Theatre Newcastle were opened once again with invitees given the opportunity to experience the once mighty Victoria Theatre.
Thanks to the University of Newcastle and their trail-blazing virtual reality project guests were able to experience first hand the 1891 opening night. Using the latest virtual reality technology developed by the University of Newcastle, the oldest theatre in NSW was brought back to life two generations after the Victoria closed.
Researchers from the School of Creative Industries and the UON Innovation Team have completed a virtual reality reconstruction of the original 1891 interior of the Victoria Theatre Newcastle.
In an extraordinary and stunning virtual recreation, guests were transported into the opulent and exotic interior of the late-19th century Victoria Theatre. Participants meandered through the foyers and three levels of stalls, circle and gallery before viewing the stage as it was nearly 130 years ago.
It was the aspiration of the members of the original Victoria Theatre syndicate to build a theatre for their city which equaled and surpassed anything else found in the country at the time. The University’s virtual recreation is a living testament to their success and to their vision and enterprise.
Dr Gillian Arrighi of the School of Creative Industries said:
“Researchers from theatre, natural history illustration, music, cultural history, and VR have worked together on this project—it’s been a truly collaborative journey of discovery. We’ve been excited by it and now it’s wonderful to see the excitement the digital recreation of the theatre is sparking elsewhere.
“The Victoria is the oldest theatre building in New South Wales, but until now we didn’t know how the auditorium and stage looked or just how beautiful the interiors were when the theatre first opened. We know the nation’s best architects and interior designers of the day worked on it and now this VR reconstruction allows us to experience spatial and visual immersion in the theatre using a gamified creative approach. It is enabling us to understand why this important cultural landmark attracted the best international and national artists of the day to Newcastle, and how it was used both by performers and by the public of Newcastle.”
As owners and custodians of the Victoria, the Century group was delighted to host the official launch on site at the theatre on Tuesday 13th November. The night provided the opportunity for invitees to experience the virtual reality first hand and talk with members of the project team.
“This magnificent recreation of the theatre gives an insight into what might yet become of this beautiful lady as plans for its restoration get underway”, Century Venues CEO Greg Koury said. The skills of the University of Newcastle team are second to none and this project is a blueprint for many other projects where the past needs to be brought back to life to enable reinterpretation of the many heritage buildings in Newcastle and beyond.