Inspire the next generation

Reimagining the gateway to the Melbourne Arts Precinct

The Victorian Government has announced the fast-tracking of elements of Reimagining Arts Centre Melbourne, including bringing forward refurbishment of the State Theatre Auditorium, and the introduction of new rehearsal spaces, loading dock and green room.

Read more about the details of the 15 November announcement


Arts Centre Melbourne is proud to be the gateway to the Melbourne Arts Precinct, home to one of the largest concentrations of cultural and creative organisations in the world.

Together with the Victorian Government, we’re Reimagining Arts Centre Melbourne as a centrepiece of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation – a city-changing project that will cement Melbourne’s unique positioning as Australia’s cultural and creative capital.

We’re committed to revitalising the heart of Melbourne by showcasing local arts and culture, attracting world-class exhibitions and touring performances, and connecting people from around the state, the nation and the world.

What we’re doing

  • Completely refurbishing our beloved Theatres Building (home to the State Theatre, Playhouse, and Fairfax Studio).
  • Building a new Centre for Creativity at 1 City Road, including a new gallery for the cherished Australian Performing Arts Collection and a permanent and expanded home to the Australian Music Vault.
  • Creating a suite of new state-of-the-art education, workshop and rehearsal studios.
  • Creating a Theatres Building western entrance onto a new elevated public realm.
  • Ensuring an environmentally, financially and socially sustainable future for our venues and the broader precinct.

A once-in-a-generation project

Reimagining Arts Centre Melbourne is just one part of a city-shaping project to transform the Melbourne Arts Precinct. Hear from key stakeholders about why a refreshed and refurbished Theatres Building will be central to success.

Reimagining: our theatres

Melbourne’s NH Architecture and Norway’s Snøhetta were appointed as the design team for the Theatres Building in 2018 and aim to transform it for a new generation, opening it up to the city and community it serves.

Respecting the original heritage architecture of Sir Roy Grounds and interiors of acclaimed designer John Truscott, the upgrades will double the number of performances, events and exhibitions that are possible – with audiences, artists and the wider creative sector set to benefit.

  • More open spaces for circulation and safe people movement.
  • Contactless customer experience.
  • New seating, aisles, wayfinding and climate control.
  • More inclusive and equitable access for visitors and presenters.
  • Contemporary rehearsal and dressing rooms.
  • State-of-the-art flying systems for the State Theatre and Playhouse.
  • Live-theatre broadcast capability to stage performances off the stages and into screens and homes.
  • Safer, flexible staging and technology.

Reimagining: the Centre for Creativity

To complement our existing facilities of Hamer Hall, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and the Theatres Building, we’re creating Arts Centre Melbourne’s fourth campus at the adjacent 1 City Road site, to be known as the Centre for Creativity. It will feature:

  • a new Australian Performing Arts Gallery to display the Australian Performing Arts Collection
  • an expanded permanent home for the Australian Music Vault
  • new flexible, adaptable and multipurpose facilities for Arts Centre Melbourne, Resident Companies, presenters, independent artists and the small-to-medium sector

Reimagining: arts learning

The arts encourages creativity, critical thinking and artistic expression. We will:

  • introduce expanded spaces for creative learning programs for students, artists, adults and families, doubling our capacity for schools engagement
  • increase annual participation numbers in arts learning programs, inspiring more minds of tomorrow.

Reimagining: access

Diversity and inclusion enriches us all. A reimagined Arts Centre Melbourne will offer:

  • an expanded program of inclusive theatre
  • increased wheelchair positions across all theatres and ticket levels, and dedicated wheelchair lifts
  • a “Changing Places” accessible adult change facility for people with profound disability
  • mobility hubs where audiences can take a break during their visit.

Public realm: Melbourne’s new meeting place

Australian architecture practice HASSELL in association with US architects SO-IL were announced in 2019 as the team to design the public realm: 18,000 square metres of new and renewed pedestrian space that better connects the precinct’s many cultural institutions. The design offers:

  • 18,000 square metres of elevated pedestrian and garden areas, event spaces, restaurants and bars
  • improved amenity for local residents and workers
  • a seamless connection from St Kilda Road to Sturt Street and the surrounding cultural institutions
  • a “goal zero” target: zero operational energy, operational water, waste-to-landfill, emissions.

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