Waagner-Biro Austria Stage Systems goes to Australia

Sydney Opera House, ©Sydney Opera House Trust; used under licence

Waagner-Biro Stage Systems recently won international competitive tenders for not one but two big renovation projects in Australia. We will be equipping both the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, as well as the State Theatre in Arts Centre Melbourne, with new stage technology.


Anyone who thinks of Australia inevitably thinks of Sydney Opera House, which was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. With more than 10.9 million visitors every year, it is one of the most visited centres for performing arts, and Australia’s premier tourist attraction. Austrian company Waagner-Biro delivered the original stage machinery for the Opera House’s venues ahead of its opening in 1973. Winning this prestigious tender in the 1960s contributed to the international breakthrough of Waagner-Biro in the field of stage technology. In 2015, Waagner-Biro Stage Systems was appointed to modernise theatre machinery in the Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre. This was successfully completed by the end of 2017.


The next project in the Opera House’s Renewal program is upgrading the world famous Concert Hall. Waagner-Biro Stage Systems will be responsible for upgrading the lower machinery, all the production rigging and the loud speaker and lighting hoists of the upper machinery. One of the biggest challenges will be to install modern machine hoists that can carry much higher loads, into the architecture of the building.  The planning and preparation phase has begun, with physicals works within the venue to begin in February 2020 and expected to take up to two years.[MW1] 


Arts Centre Melbourne is not new to us either. The Arts Centre comprises of several venues and in 2013 Waagner-Biro Stage Systems delivered a modern CAT control system to them for the Hamer Hall, the complex’s concert hall. The current project involves the renewal of over 100 decoration hoists in the theatre’s upper machinery. This includes dismantling the existing technology, installation of the new machines, and the complete renovation of the electrical and control systems. A deadline of just under 7 months is provided for all related renovation work.


Following this, State Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne will not only have the latest stage technology, but also the latest control system generation, the CAT-v5. The CAT control system has contributed significantly to winning the international tender. The newly developed Gallery Console CAT 500 is also put into use for the first time for this project.