Pleasure Playhouse will be hosted in the abandoned Harbour City Cinema in Haymarket, and is a six week arts and entertainment festival.

The festival forms part of a drive by the NSW Government’s ‘CBD Revitalisation Program’ to restore Sydney’s nightlife. Pleasure Playhouse is being curated by Kat Dopper, Creative Director and Events Producer who created Heaps Gay & Summer Camp Festival.

Pleasure Playhouse will run from 22 September to October 31, featuring a different show each night, including the likes of Alex Lahey, Nai Palm and BBGB Worldwide.

From the food and beverage world, the festival will host ‘Send Noods Cinema’ – arthouse movies on Tuesday nights with natural wines provided by P & V Merchants, and food from Biang Biang noodles. Archie Rose has also been involved, with standalone bars to be found within the venue.

Festival organisers also said that Pleasures Playhouse will ‘celebrate the local restaurants of Haymarket’ by working with venues to offer food in the cinema itself. The details of more events, including Yum Cha pop-ups, will be announced shortly. Esteemed Sydney chef, Maurice Terzini, owner of Bondi Icebergs, is also named as a guest curator.

Dopper said that she was enthused by the prospect of bringing this festival to the heart of the city.

“This is one of the most exciting projects, I’ve been able to work on, literally a dream,” Dopper said.

“Collaborating with all my favs to take over an unused space in Sydney to bring together some of the best of our arts scene to create a new cultural destination that promotes artistic excellence.”

Dopper also outline how important events like this were for supporting the arts industry in Sydney, saying: “After the loss of over 180 venues since lock outs in 2015, its vital that we create new spaces for the next generation of artists to create and connect with audiences.”

Alongside music, food and cinema, Pleasures Playhouse will also host ‘underground sex’ and body positivity parties from Leak Your Own Nudes and Show Us Ya Tips (often found at the Oxford Tavern). Additional community events such as Bypass, Heaps Gay and Queer Power Point will also be held, alongside cabaret shows with a live band.

Sydney DJ Carolina Gasolina is also excited by the prospect of Pleasures Playhouse, saying: “I’m so keen to be throwing this party and being part of this activation revitalising the City by throwing a party in an abandoned cinema.”

“Stoked that I even got asked to be a part of this moment! I think each curator is really going to provide an unforgettable night!”

Carolina Gasolina is the curator of the ‘Altura’ event on 28 October.

Pleasures Playhouse is the first event to be held in Chinatown’s Harbour City Cinema for 15 years, and NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner, Michael Rodrigues, is hopeful that the festival will demonstrate how spaces can be reimagined in the city.

“The Pleasures Playhouse at Harbour City Cinema is an example of great business collaboration,” Rodrigues said.

“Via the creative transformation of the Harbour City Cinema and Dixon Mall, this event will bring together some of the best arts, music and food and beverage offer from across the precinct and draw audiences back to a space that has been dormant for 15 years.”

“I am delighted that the NSW Government’s CBDs Revitalisation Program is supporting the Pleasures Playhouse at Harbour City Cinema,” Rodrigues concluded.

The organisers have also sought to ensure the festival is accessible for all, with no ticket prices above $30 and many free events. Tickets will be available from Monday, 5 September at 10 AM through the Pleasures Playhouse website.

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