The Burton Street Tabernacle operated as a Baptist Church in the heart of Darlinghurst from 1887 until 1996. This was an area besieged by crime and was home to the infamous Tilly Devine, Kate Leigh and the razor gangs of the 1920s and 30s. Despite its location the Tabernacle remained a loyal place of worship for many Sydneysiders over the decades. It was also the source of inspiration for the iconic ‘Eternity’ chalk art by Sydney identity, Arthur Stace.
Burton Street Tabernacle and Sargents Factory in c1930. Image courtesy of the City of Sydney (© Adam Forrest Grant)
In 2004 the City of Sydney purchased the Tabernacle and following much community consultation it was decided that the building would be transformed into a theatre. In 2008 restoration work commenced to bring the 126 year old heritage listed building back to its former glory.
In 2009 Darlinghurst Theatre Company was selected by the City of Sydney to be the managing company of the new theatre due to the company's long history of supporting and collaborating with Sydney artists. Construction commenced in October 2010 and in December 2011 the City of Sydney resolved to rename the Tabernacle in tribute to Arthur Stace. The Eternity Playhouse opened in November 2013 with one of the most celebrated plays of the twentieth century, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.