Sydney Playhouse

Step-Free Access for Theatre


The objective was to create step-free access at Sydney’s Playhouse Theatre in line with original architect, the late Jorn Utzons’ Design Principles (a guide for any future build changes), from the foyer for the first time.

Working with contractors, John Holland and leading Australian architects, Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW), the Platform Lift Company was sub-contracted to specify a disability stair lift that would be both functional and aesthetically pleasing for the Playhouse Theatre.


After consideration, the Danish CAMA lift was specified as it met with the Design Principles and fitted in with the existing contemporary environment. CAMA Stairlifts can be fitted to all types of stairs (straight or curved) and are suited to internal or external environments. They are either floor or wall mounted and are easily operable by a wheelchair or mobility-impaired users.

For minimum disruption, the stair lift installation took place at night, as the theatre was in use during the day and evening.

To negotiate the existing building structure, specialist engineering was required in addition to a week of on-site modifications. This was due to a sloping floor and radiused wall to which the rail was to be fitted.


The stair lift was finished in black to match the Playhouse’s branding. To make best use of space, the lift was designed to fold neatly away on a smooth operating rail leaving the maximum width of the stairway for pedestrians.

The Stair lifts feature fold-out seats, allowing them to be used by both patrons who use wheelchairs and those who are less mobile. Four new wheelchair accessible seating positions have been installed with improved sightlines at the mid-theatre entry level.

The CAMA guide rails looked and fitted perfectly within the theatre décor and was architecturally sensitive to the building’s original features.