On Saturday, Tim Ross (Rosso) and Kit Warhurst performed Man About the Sirius Apartments to a full house. Almost 200 people squeezed into the Phillip Room, the ground-floor community room of the Sirius Apartments, to hear Tim explain, “We have presented this show inside iconic building across Australia, and now we are starting to do them across the world.” The difference this time was that it was the first time they had performed in an iconic building in danger of being demolished.
Blending comedy, music and a very healthy dose of design talk the show has played to literally full houses designed by architects such as Harry Seidler, Robin Boyd, Glenn Murcutt, John Lautner, Erno Goldfinger, John Wardle, Roy Grounds, Clare Cousins, James Russell and Esmond Dorney. Until now, it has been a celebration of modern architecture, but for Sirius it became something much more important. Tim was “saddened about the way the government was removing people from their homes” in Sirius at the same time that it was rejecting the NSW Heritage Council recommendation to list as an item of state significance. “The State Government has ignored this advice and has destined this iconic building to be demolished.”
Amongst some wonderful songs about modernism and architecture, Tim explained that the decision to remove the residents from Sirius in preparation for its demolition was “a decision based on a couple of people not understanding this building.” Ministers Mark Speakman and Dominic Perrottet were easy targets for Rosso’s comedy, but this was entirely their own fault for the foolishness with which they have acted. Mark Speakman, Minister for Heritage and the Environment, said he wants the money for the site and he wants Sirius demolished, “whatever its heritage value.” He left it to Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet to talk about aesthetics and what should be built in its place: “Our city deserves better, and we now have a chance to deliver a building that genuinely complements our dazzling harbour rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.” Perritot wants a stone-clad, “heritage-style” building that makes nonsense of The Rocks heritage. Tim comments, “The absurdity of the heritage minister talking about money and the finance minister taking a stance on aesthetics makes it seem like these two bananas are playing a rather lame game of good vandal/bad vandal.”
Tim thought it should not be left to a couple of middle-aged men to decide what is worth saving, what is important. We have a group of experts, appointed by the government, and we should listen to what they have to say.
Tim said “Sirius is an iconic building, and it’s important that it’s saved.” However, he noted it was in the most dangerous age for building that should be kept. Buildings that are thirty or forty years old that are at risk. People don’t realise that they might be important to keep, and when they are lost, they are gone forever. People now understand the heritage value of the 19th-century buildings in The Rocks, but they don’t necessarily understand that a building like Sirius is woven into the story of Sydney, it’s a social marker. It’s a timeless building but also speaks of its time. It is as if it provides a way to go back in time, but take the static away.
Everyone who came to this event in the Phillip Room was invited to visit Myra in her tenth-floor apartment, and nearly everyone came up.
It was a great joy for everyone involved to see Sirius filled with music and people, which made it alive again in a very special way.
Click here to read more about Sirius by Tim Ross (Rosso).
Below are a few photos from Man About the Sirius Apartments.
Shaun talking to Millers Point residents Flo and Geraldine.
At interval and after the show, nearly everyone accepted Myra’s invitation to visit her 10th-floor apartment.
Blue Lucine filmed and interviewed Myra and Tim.