Marian Street Theatre

The history of Marian Street Theatre

The Marian Street Theatre is located in Killara and has a long history since its construction as a community hall in 1906. Following its development as a theatre in 1965, it played a significant role in the area’s cultural life as a staple of the North Shore theatre scene. It is fondly remembered by former patrons and theatre lovers across Sydney.

When Northside Theatre Company ceased trading in 2001, the Marian Street Theatre for Young People occupied the building, presenting plays and providing theatre tuition for young people. Ku-ring-gai Council continues to be a strong supporter of the Marian Street Theatre for Young People, providing annual grant funding and other support. 

Marian Street Theatre was closed due to public safety concerns in December 2013.

In 2018 Council resolved to undertake renewal of the theatre and to allocate funds to the project in Council’s Long Term Financial Plan. Council staff have since carried out investigation into the state of the building followed by design work and the development application to reopen the building. The DA was approved in August 2021.   

The vision for the new theatre

The renovated MST will focus on building a vibrant, multi-use arts venue with a strong focus on drama. The vision is set out below:

“MST will be Ku-ring-gai’s innovative new community performance space. It will provide a stage for a diverse range of expressive entertainers, from professional artists to talented community performers, who will deliver a program of stimulating and engaging productions for the community.

As well as a theatre experience visitors will enjoy café facilities and multi-purpose spaces, all connecting sensitively with the surrounding natural environment. MST will honour its live theatrical traditions.

The focus will be on content diversity, which will include live performances, musical experiences and new productions. Our goal will be promoting creativity, originality and inclusivity for anyone who enjoys the delight of great live performances.”

The project vision is further emphasised as:

“The new image for a ‘theatre’ is that of a community living room – a place that is open as needed and always active - with informal programming, a variety of live performance genre, and an atmosphere that is buzzing and welcoming. New spaces have enlarged lobbies where high quality drinks and snacks are available for sale over longer periods of time. These spaces are informal but physically attractive and inclusive in the ways they are designed and animated. They are warm and inspirational - welcoming a variety of live performance media and diverse audiences - rather than one-dimensional, cold and institutional, thereby inviting the community to interact.”

Key components

Multiple rehearsal and performance spaces have been carefully selected to build a ‘theatre eco-system’. These are:

  • a main theatre auditorium space with 249 seats;
  • a smaller experimental theatrette space with 63 seats;
  • an acoustically resonant rehearsal space with 60 seats on flat floor;
  • a flexible community space;
  • a commercial cafe;
  • a main foyer space with connection to the main auditorium;
  • an outdoor amphitheatre, which connects the cafe through to the park and existing children’s playground.

Community consultation

Consultation with the community and theatre experts has occurred on numerous occasions with regard to the future of live theatre in Ku-ring-gai. 

Specific to this project, Council established a Marian Street Theatre Committee Reference Group. The reference group consisted of Councillors, members of the Save Marian Street Theatre Committee, theatre and arts cultural specialists, and members of the community. This committee had a role in informing the direction and outcomes of the rejuvenated theatre. 

An event day was also held in Selkirk Park on Sunday 17 November 2019 to inform the broader community of progress and design of the project.

Further community consultation was undertaken as part of due process through public notification of the DA. 


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Find out about Marian Street Theatre for Young People's classes.