Sydney has a new theatre! The Sydney Coliseum at West HQ in Rooty Hill gave its first public performance last night, unveiling a new, multi-purpose, 2000-seat venue that is a great addition to Western Sydney and the Sydney theatre scene generally.

David Campbell and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Coliseum. Photo © Robert Catto

Designed by Cox Architecture, the Sydney Coliseum adjoins the Rooty Hill RSL, which financed the new venue. Built in just over two years, it’s an astonishing investment and achievement. Front of house staff all seemed proud of the new theatre and were all incredibly helpful and friendly as they pointed the audience to the spacious three-level foyer with its grand staircase adorned by The Field of Stars chandelier made from green crystals. The theatre itself, which has acoustic wooden panels on the auditorium walls, has a large stage and a fly tower, and can stage concerts or operate as a lyric theatre for shows including musicals.

The first concert, Christmas at the Coliseum, was an entertaining event featuring David Campbell and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – just the right, relaxing way to kick things off at this festive time. Campbell is a consummate showman and the perfect entertainer for such a concert, winning the audience over immediately with his laid-back, amusing patter, and his stunning vocals. He chose a selection of well-known Christmas songs such as White Christmas, Jingle Bells, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, as well included some that are less familiar – Harry Connick Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas and Rick Price’s Baby It’s Christmas (which Campbell recorded on his Christmas album of the same name).

David Campbell and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Coliseum. Photo © Robert Catto

He also performed a couple of carols (Silent Night, O Come, All Ye Faithful) and some non-Christmas numbers such Pure Imagination from the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel. He even out-Mariah-ed Mariah Carey at the end of the concert with a sensational version of All I Want for Christmas, which had the audience on their feet cheering.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Buc, played with infectious verve and joy, opening the concert with Sleigh Bells. Three of the cellists really got into the festive mood, sporting foam reindeer antlers. Joining them were David Campbell’s regular Music Director Joe Accaria on drums along with Nick Southcott on piano, Brett Hirst on bass, and Dan Maher on electric and acoustic guitar.

David Campbell and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Coliseum. Photo © Robert Catto

Campbell had fun and games in his patter about being the first performer to star at the Sydney Coliseum – and he and the SSO won the first standing ovation from the sold-out crowd. They perform again tonight.  Over the coming days there are performances by Tina Arena, Dame Edna, John Butler and Keith Urban. Also scheduled are Circa in Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus and The Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet, The Nutcracker. Let’s hope plenty of producers take shows there, including some big musicals and help build an audience at the impressive new venue.

David Campbell and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform again at the Sydney Coliseum tonight