Steel trusses are being lifted into Her Majesty’s Ballarat to strengthen the roof of the 144-year-old performing arts landmark, which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
As part of stage one emergency restorative works to the theatre, three timber trusses over the stage are being reinforced by three steel trusses, which are being constructed next to, and connected to, the timber trusses. The trusses will span the width of theatre – reaching more than 19m in length.
The steel trusses have been specifically designed for the complexities of the Her Majesty’s Ballarat emergency restorative works. The steel is being delivered in components that can be lifted off the street and delivered by crane through a south side opening to the scaffold platform, high above the stage.
Due to the difficulties of removing the roof and fly structure, it is not possible to install the trusses in one piece. Instead, they are being assembled in position like a Meccano set.
The trusses play an integral role in a complex system that not only supports the theatre roof but also the fly system and fly balcony, which enables equipment to be operated and raises and lowers the theatre equipment above the stage.
The original trusses have suffered from the toll of time as well as the additional loading. The new steel trusses will carry the loads that support the theatre roof, the fly system and fly balcony.
The major installation works come after restorative works in early 2018 uncovered a crack in one of the roof trusses – requiring immediate remediation
The emergency restorative works are jointly funded by a $2 million grant under the Victorian Government’s Living Heritage Program, and the City of Ballarat – which allocated $5.3 million in its 2018-2019 budget.
The City of Ballarat last year launched the Save Her Majesty’s Ballarat – The Time Is Now campaign. The campaign called on the Victorian and Australian governments to provide the additional $15 million required for the next, second stage of works, to secure the future of Ballarat’s foremost performing arts venue.
The Victorian Government committed $10 million in last year’s election campaign. The City of Ballarat is now calling on the Australian Government to provide the additional $5 million needed to ensure the theatre is safe and accessible to everyone in the community, including people with disabilities.
The Ballarat community and wider performing arts community has rallied to throw its support behind the campaign, with the Royal South Street Society launching a Change.org petition, which has now reached more than 1,800 signatures.
As part of the first stage of works, the historic raked stage has been reconstructed, allowing works above and below to progress at the same time. Birdcage scaffold on the completed stage has provided access to the roof trusses.
The Save Her Majesty’s Ballarat – The Time Is Now campaign will fund a range of major works to improve the quality, accessibility and functionality of the theatre, such as adding accessible toilets and accessible seating, upgrading the existing lifts at front and back of house, a new entrance and foyer works, including box office and refreshment bar, signage and display system. These works will also include improvements to the fly systems, dressing rooms and the Long Room.
For more information on the campaign, visit savehermaj.com