Opened in June 1928, the Thebarton Theatre was considered the premier venue for concerts, films and theatre performances in Adelaide. As the years have passed by, the Thebby (as it’s locally known) has become treasured by artists and concert-goers alike. It has a place in the hearts of many which stirs up nostalgia, the memories of a first gig or indeed the essence of the live music experience. The Thebby has faced many challenges in its time but in recent times it has faced two of the largest challenges to date – the widening of South Road and the impact of COVID.
Sitting adjacent to the north-south arterial spine of Adelaide, South Road, the Thebby, located in the inner west suburb of Thebarton, is close to the CBD but enjoys its suburban location which gives great access to music fans from across the city. This location has more recently proved problematic with the encroaching road of progress endangering its very existence. In 2019 a battle to save the Thebby from demolition from the expanding South Road gained international attention which ultimately seems to have resulted in an alternative solution of tunnelling nearby. This reprieve was welcomed and celebrated but no one could foresee the impact of COVID that dominated 2020 and saw the near-extinction of events held at the Thebby from March 2020.
The Thebby remained resilient and, in February 2021, the Thebby saw the return of live events along with an upgraded technical production installation by long-time in-house production provider, Novatech Creative Event Technology. The shutdown during COVID proved the ideal time to reinvest into the Thebby with Novatech redesigning the installation and fully revamping the production with an improved audio and lighting system that is worthy of such an iconic music and performance destination.
Celebrating 20 years in business, Novatech has been a long-term partner of the Thebby and saw the chance to upgrade the venue as part of their long-term support of the arts and live music. The installation was designed with touring acts in mind and what would be used on the majority of shows. An industry leading audio system from L-Acoustics now includes a 16 element K2 line array for FOH with 6 KARA, 12 SB28’s, 2 Arcs focus and 4 8XT’s. 115XT-HiQ’s are used for stage monitors with FOH audio control being taken care of by a Digidesign D-Show with Sidecar.
Lighting features a Wholehog 4 for control and fixtures including Martin Mac Vipers, GLP Impression X4’s, SGM X-5 LED Strobes, Kupo blinders and Base Hazers on stage. This gives a highly flexible and versatile lighting solution to meet most riders. Each gig is easily supplemented with additional lighting, audio and vision equipment from Novatech’s vast inventory as well as technicians as required.
In upgrading the technology Novatech’s Managing Director, Leko Novakovic, remarked “We’re proud of our long association with the Thebby and more importantly saw this as an ideal time to improve what already is a sort-after live performance destination.” Leko continued “We wanted to upgrade the installed technology to give concert promoters, production managers and artists alike the best possible base installation for their shows as the recovery from COVID starts the long and hard road.”
The Thebarton Theatre recently received $4m in new funding via the State Government’s Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program for non-production related projects. This sets the scene for further refurbishment of the loved venue across many areas which has recently seen upgrade air-conditioning facilities across the Theatre. The future is bright for the Thebby and Novatech looks forward to contributing to further upgrades in the near future to ensure it remains the live music venue of choice in Adelaide.
Photo credit | Simon Casson