Announcing ‘The Rebel Theatre’ ATYP’s new home, named after Australian actor Rebel Wilson

The Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and Rebel Wilson have today announced the launch of a brand-new purpose-built theatre in Sydney: The Rebel Theatre.

ATYP’s new theatre will be named in honour of ATYP Ambassador, Australian actor, singer, writer, comedian and producer Rebel Wilson, who has been involved with the company since she was 19.

Rebel has donated one million dollars to ATYP to help the theatre company reach the goal of $2.6 million to set up the new home.

The theatre will be located in the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, a priority infrastructure project for the NSW Government. The precinct will create a public arts and cultural hub on Sydney’s famous waterfront, while preserving its iconic heritage.

The Rebel will open in February 2022 with The Deb, a new Australian musical by writer, actor and rising comedic talent Hannah Reilly and musician and songwriter Megan Washington. Hannah won ATYP’s Rebel Wilson Comedy Commission Scholarship in 2019.

Fraser Corfield, ATYP’s Artistic Director Says:

The opening of The Rebel Theatre heralds a new era for ATYP. This is the first time in the company’s 59 year history that we will have our own theatre.

We will have the capacity to stage our own professional productions in the heart of Sydney. We have an opportunity to establish a home for the very best in Australian youth theatre, launching productions to travel across the country and bringing the best in the world to Sydney.

The Rebel Theatre is an extraordinary gift to all young Australians, he said

Rebel Wilson agrees, saying the new theatre will provide a place where new generations of Aussie talent get to shine.

ATYP changed the direction of my life. I found a community of like-minded people there. I was inspired by them. I was helped by their friendship. I was encouraged by all the directors, tutors, staff, peers – everyone. I want more people to experience that.

And I want as many young people in Australia as possible to be given access to the creative arts. It helps young people with their self-esteem and self-expression and when young people can express themselves in a healthy, artistic way – everybody wins, she said.

The new theatre will feature amphitheatre style seating with a capacity of 200. Working with fit-out designer Tobhiyah Stone Feller, ATYP consulted a range of young people aged 10-26 to ensure all spaces are engaging and inspiring.

Wilson Said:

To have a theatre named after me – and to have the inaugural production in the new theatre be one that’s come out of my scholarship program – is so great. It’s so important for ATYP to have a proper home in Sydney.

When ATYP moves into its new home in Pier 2/3 it will take its place amongst Australia’s flagship performing arts companies, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) and Bell Shakespeare.

Corfield Says:

It will be a destination theatre. Any young Australian who wants to see the very best theatre featuring young actors will be able to see it at ATYP. Young Australians wanting to participate in workshop programs featuring our leading participating artists can do so at ATYP.

The Rebel Theatre is a platform for artistic excellence and a launchpad for artists and shows that will change our nation.

For a company that began in a suburban lounge room in 1963, ATYP is now the largest youth theatre of its kind in the world. Rebel Wilson, Rose Byrne, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Baz Luhrmann, Toni Colette, Abbie Cornish, Phoebe Tonkin, Hunter Page, and Nakkiah Lui are just some of the famous ATYP alumni. We’re excited to see what the next generation of young artists will bring, he added.

ATYP is seeking to raise $2.6m towards the fit-out and on-going maintenance of its new premises at Pier 2/3, including The Rebel Theatre. As a not-for-profit company, it currently costs ATYP $2.3m to open its doors each year – 35-40% of this is currently funded via its workshops and performances, the rest is made up of government funding and donations like Rebel’s.

Essential operational funding previously provided through the Australia Council at a federal level has been withdrawn, making this mammoth fundraising effort all the more critical for the long-term viability of the company.

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