A Sydney theater is set for a major redevelopment after receiving a multi-million dollar donation.

Designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, the redevelopment of SBW Stables Theater in Sydney’s Kings Cross, home to the Griffin Theater Company, will see a 44% increase in seating capacity, as well as upgrades to changing rooms, rehearsal spaces and site accessibility. .

The Neilson Foundation’s $5 million gift is the largest philanthropic donation in the theater company’s history. The redevelopment is also backed by a $5 million commitment from the NSW State Government. The funding will also enable the company to purchase the venue from its current owner, the Seaborn, Broughton and Walford (SBW) Foundation.

Established in 1978, the Griffin Theater is the only theater company in Australia devoted exclusively to the development and staging of new Australian writing. He helped launch the careers of many Australian actors, including Cate Blanchett and Jacqueline McKenzie.

According to Griffin Theater Company artistic director Declan Greene, the company’s mission has been “threatened” repeatedly over the past three decades by funding cuts and potential evictions. “At this defining moment in the company’s history, the Neilsons have made it possible to carry out this mission in perpetuity,” said Greene.

“After the turmoil and disruption of lockdowns and restrictions over the past few years, we believe the opportunities for connection and exploration are more important than ever,” said Neilson Foundation benefactor Kerr Neilson. “Theatre allows people to explore new perspectives, stories and ideas in ways that digital media never could.”

If approved, redevelopment work will begin in 2023, during which time the theater will be closed. The SBW is expected to reopen again in 2025.