The Australian Performing Arts Collection is an internationally-significant, constantly evolving contemporary artistic resource.

Arts Centre Melbourne is the proud custodian of the Australian Performing Arts Collection (APAC), which is dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of Australia’s circus, dance, music, opera and theatre heritage.

Collecting began in the late 1970s and two early major acquisitions were the J. C. Williamson Theatre Archive and the Dame Nellie Melba Collection. Today, the collection holds over 680,000 items, including major acquisitions from Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, Barry Humphries, Bell Shakespeare and The Australian Ballet.

Drawing on the APAC, we tell the stories of performance and performers through the extraordinary objects that have shaped lives and organisations, from concept designs to costumes, from personal and production archives to photography.

In addition to exhibitions, displays and a searchable online catalogue, the Australian Performing Arts Collection is accessible through a dedicated Research Centre.

Proscenium video by Benjamin Ducroz. Commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne, 2012


Explore the Circus Collection.


Explore the Dance Collection.


Explore the Music Collection.


Explore the Opera Collection.


Explore the Theatre Collection.

Search the Collections

Browse through our Online Collections.