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Brisbane Powerhouse Is Launching a Permanent Outdoor Cinema and Twice-Yearly Night Food Market

The New Farm venue will also set up a new semi-permanent (and glow-in-the-dark) performance venue that'll host shows and give Brisbanites a new hangout spot.
By Sarah Ward
June 19, 2022
By Sarah Ward
June 19, 2022

For years, Brisbane Powerhouse played host to Moonlight Cinema, with an outdoor big screen set up outside the New Farm venue's Stores Building each summer. That annual setup has since shifted to Roma Street Parklands, so Powerhouse is opening its own replacement. Even better — that new outdoor cinema will be sticking around permanently.

Set to launch this coming spring and run year-round, this new excuse to watch movies under the stars — and take advantage of the fact that that's something you can do no matter the season in Brissie, even in winter — will screen everything from big-name blockbusters to arthouse flicks. It'll be run with a major exhibitor, with exactly who that'll be yet to be revealed.

Still, get ready to enjoy film festivals, themed nights and events, and concert flicks and live events as well, giving movie buffs multiple reasons to head by. Whatever you choose to watch, you'll sit on chairs, cushions and rugs eating gourmet food and sipping champagne — so, all the outdoor movie staples will be covered.

The outdoor cinema is one of four new additions to Brisbane Powerhouse that've just been announced, which also includes the Hap Wah Night Market. It's set to debut in March 2023, running for the entire month. It'll then pop up again in October, and also return in the Powerhouse forecourt and surrounding parks in those two months every year.

Here, Brisbanites can look forward to a food-focused night market that'll score its own village precinct each time that it's up and running, and have Blade Runner-meets-Queensland theming with a dash of Cantonese culture, too. The name stems from a north Queensland sugar plantation from the 19th century, aka the state's first Chinese business, and the markets will also feature free and cheap art installations, music and films.

Also on its way: the Pleasuredome, which'll make its presence known from this spring alongside the outdoor cinema. It'll take over the Powerhouse's Performance Lawn by the river, and span a cluster of glow-in-the-dark Nordic-style tents as well as a sailcloth-topped central venue, all of which will host regular shows and cater to 360 people at once.

Sitting beneath Moreton Bay fig trees, it'll be able to stage long-table dinners, cabaret and theatre-style gigs, complete with full-service bars serving drinks. There'll be alfresco lounging zones, and it'll play a big part in Powerhouse's big fests such as Brisbane Comedy Fest. As well as being set up for shows and festivals for ten months of the year, it'll be used for weddings and private events, and give patrons a hangout space in-between.

Last but by no means least, Keith Courtney's Kaleidoscope is also coming to the venue — this one just for a couple of months. The latest installation by the Melbourne artist, and arriving fresh from his home town, it's a 700-square-metre expanse of glass, steel, mirrors and moving prisms that features a maze of corridors decked out in a revolving showcase of lights and colours. Expect to have your senses disoriented while you're wandering through, including both motion and gravity.

Kaleidoscope will sit on the Performance Lawn — before the Pleasuredome's debut — from Friday, August 12–Monday, October 3 in association with Brisbane Festival.

All of these new additions — permanent and temporary alike — have been locked in under Brisbane Powerhouse CEO/Artistic Director Kate Gould's new reign, and mark the venue's first hefty changes since she was appointed in the role in mid-2021. They're also funded with help from the Brisbane City Council and the Australian Government's Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.

"Returning to Brisbane last year after an 18-year absence reminded me of our city's natural beauty. With its sultry climate and luscious landscape, it seems a shame to always head indoors for our cultural fix," Gould said.

"Brisbane Powerhouse will bring art outside, creating a series of external venues for performance, film and feasting. We are grateful to Brisbane City Council for backing our vision to revitalise Brisbane Powerhouse and its environs. And there are more surprises to come."

Brisbane Powerhouse's outdoor cinema and Pleasuredome performance space will launch in spring 2022, while Kaleidoscope will run from Friday, August 12–Monday, October 3 — and the Hap Wah Night Market will debut in March 2023, all at 119 Lamington Street, New Farm. For more information about the venue, head to the Brisbane Powerhouse website.

Published on June 19, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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