“I liked the metaphorical notion that every time you went into the place to see a play, you went on some kind of journey.”
When the Sydney Theatre Company staged its first productions at the Wharf Theatre in 1985, the thing that formed the strongest impression on me was the sheer distance from street entrance to the actual theatre (about 200 metres). Richard Wherrett, quoted above, is right about the effect the walk has. And what I found most intriguing about this long walkway were the floor boards, which are set diagonally. I was told or read at the time that this feature was a legacy of the site’s history as a working finger wharf: diagonal boarding was best for rolling barrels and wheeled trolleys. I’ve never tried to verify this but it seems plausible, and the thought inevitably comes to mind whenever I go to a production there. Occasionally, when I’ve been running late, I’ve fantasised about being able to literally “barrel” along to the end.
Photo note: the “faded” patches in the foreground are a trick of light created by a gobo mounted high on the wall. They enact the STC’s new logo: three follow spots loosely gathered on a central point. I confess it took me a while to “get” this logo, mainly because there is a much-used simplified (solid) version, which doesn’t look like lights falling on a surface so much as three random ellipses.