Roleystone Theatre closed after structural review finds it unsafe in ‘certain weather’


Roleystone Theatre. Picture: Jon Hewson
Roleystone Theatre. Picture: Jon Hewson

THE Roleystone Theatre has closed after a structural review found it had a number of issues that made it unsafe in certain weather.

The structural assessment was requested after friable asbestos was discovered during a routine annual inspection of the theatre in 2016-17, with the City of Armadale setting aside $250,000 in the last budget for its removal, as well as to replace the venue’s roof.

Specialist structural consulting engineers were brought in to do a review of the building before the asbestos removal and roof replacement could be done, however their report identified a number of structural faults that needed to be fixed before any work could be done.

These immediate fixes included bracing the building, which was already showing signs of leaning, and removing part of the external and internal cladding.

According to Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones, City chief executive Ray Tame received a detailed report from the consultant on Monday that said the theatre was likely to be “unsafe under certain weather conditions, particularly high easterly winds” and that it recommended the building not be occupied until remedial action was taken.

“As a consequence, council resolved to approve that the proposed works relating to asbestos removal and roof replacement be placed on hold, pending the outcome of a detailed structural report, and notify the tenants of the Roleystone Theatre that the theatre auditorium, stage and fly tower are to be temporarily closed and not to be used by the theatre group or the general public with immediate effect,” Mr Zelones said.

“There is no danger to users from the asbestos but the possibility of structural movement in high easterly winds cannot be ignored and demands urgent attention.

“The action is regrettable but necessary in the light of the structural evaluation.”

Mr Zelones said council approved the urgent temporary bracing work at the theatre to ensure the structural integrity of the theatre, stage, and fly tower and that the works were estimated at approximately $100,000.

The Roleystone Theatre’s next production, Robin Hood: the truth behind the green tights, was scheduled to start on March 9.

The director declined to comment publicly about the closure but the theatre group announced via Facebook on Tuesday that it had suspended ticket sales for its next production until they knew more.

Mr Zelones confirmed the production would be affected by the closure but the City would work to find an alternative arrangement.

“There will be some disruption to the group’s season of Robin Hood: the truth behind the green tights and the impact on remaining shows for the 2018 season will only be known after further assessment,” he said.

“Once the schedule of the works is confirmed we will assist the group in promoting alternative arrangements for Robin Hood.”

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