The Old 505 Theatre has announced that it will hold its last event in March after the owners said ongoing lockdowns and the Omicron wave of COVID-19 had become “too much”.
In a statement released today, directors Cameron Undy and Kerri Glasscock said a decision had been made to stop presenting work at the Newtown venue, and that they are unlikely to have a “permanent bricks and mortar space again”.
“The past decade has been incredibly difficult for Sydney venues … but nothing has compared to the impacts we have felt this past two years,” the owners said via Facebook.
In response, Shadow Minister for Music John Graham called on the government to “step up the support for venues”, warning that Sydney could become “unrecognisable” otherwise.
“This is three venues down this week,” he said via Twitter. “All survived the lockouts, but are now closing their doors.”
Old 505 Theatre’s closure comes after The Lansdowne Hotel and Giant Dwarf announced they would be shutting their doors earlier this week.
Legendary Sydney music venue The Lansdowne Hotel will close in April after its operators chose not to renew the lease.
Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham – the team behind Mary’s and The Unicorn – said the decision is a result of the hotel’s landlords closing its upstairs live music venue to build more hostel accommodation.
“Our lease is due to expire in the coming months, and the Landlords have chosen to close the Gig Room to build more Hostel accommodation,” they said in a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday.
Smyth and Graham said that 2022 was set to be one of the busiest years at the Lansdowne, despite the effect of the Omicron wave on Sydney’s hospitality industry: “It is deeply upsetting to call time on an icon, at the height of her powers”.
Surry Hills comedy and theatre venue Giant Dwarf also announced on January 28 that it would not be reopening after it was forced to shut down during Sydney’s last lockdown.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the news that our doors will not be reopening,” Giant Dwarf said in a statement posted on the venue’s Facebook page.
“The second lockdown really hit us hard and we have been unable to find a way to continue,” the statement continued.
Lockdowns, a lack of funding and uncertainty around the future due to the pandemic were cited as reasons for the Giant Dwarf’s closure.