The Red Rattler Theatre Inc is a not-for-profit, artist and activist run initiative operating a community-based warehouse venue and artists’ studios, thriving on the support of a team of volunteers.
The Red Rattler was established in 2009 as a creative playground for performers, musicians, artists, designers, multi-media makers, experimentalists, film-makers, theorists, activists, collective organisers, and local punters. It is fitted with a full PA, stage, LED lighting rig, projector and screen, licensed bar, a roof-top garden, and two non-residential artist studios currently supporting four practicing artists.
The Rat was the realisation of a collective dream of five local artists who wanted to create a legal warehouse venue to showcase alternative Sydney arts, performance and grassroots activism. The five 'Rats' had been hosting events for years at many of the illegal inner-city and inner-west warehouse spaces that have been shut down over the years (Lan Franchis, Space 3, love hotel, and many temporary squatted zones), and dreamed of creating an accessible venue that held all relevant licences to stay open, and would not be at the mercy of high rents and developers.
Since 2013, The Red Rattler Theatre Inc has acquired 60% ownership of the building it currently occupies, and aims to purchase the remaining 40% in the coming years, making this space a truly independent and community owned venue. It runs on a rotating directorship and a small army of volunteers who staff, manage and run the venue. The success and longevity of the space depends on the involvement and support of volunteers.
As a not-for-profit organisation there is a tiered fee structure being charged to community users. Additionally, guests are asked to contribute a 50c donation to an eco-plan to run the space largely on renewable water and energy sources.
Located in an industrial area (originally called Tramvale Estate in the early 1900s) and in close proximity to Sydenham station, the name of the theatre is inspired by the old Red Rattler trains. The rattle refers to us trying to shake things up in terms of accessible venues and creative spaces in Sydney, and the colour red has long associations with left politics, revolution and anarchism.
For details on upcoming events, subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter or visit what's on. To volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you’d like to help.