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This Is What South Bank's New $150 Million Performing Arts Theatre Will Look Like in 2022

It'll become QPAC's fifth theatre, seating at least 1500 people and hosting around 260 extra performances each year.
By Sarah Ward
May 16, 2019
By Sarah Ward
May 16, 2019

If you're a music, theatre or comedy fan and you live in Brisbane, then you've probably become accustomed to missing out. Whether it's a band touring the country but leaving our fair city off of its itinerary, a comedian skipping straight to Sydney and Melbourne, or the latest acclaimed stage production bypassing our venues, plenty of big names don't make it to town — or if they do, like The Book of Mormon, it's after a hefty wait.

For years, the city's lack of theatres has been highlighted as an issue, and calls for a new venue date back just as far. In 2018, the Queensland Government announced a solution: a new 1500-plus seat addition to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, upping the South Bank site's spread to five theatres. Now, the first designs have been released.

Architecture firm Blight Rayner + Snøhetta has won the tender for the new theatre, which has been dubbed the New Performing Arts Venue (NPAV) for now. Replacing the grassed area currently known as the Playhouse Green, glass features heavily in the external design, letting Brisbanites see into the transparent foyer from the corner of Grey and Russell streets. The overall look takes inspiration from the nearby Brisbane River and ties into QPAC's original heritage-listed decor, but still makes its own impression.

Costing $150 million to build, with the State Government committing $125 million to the project, the NPAV will also boast two new studio spaces below street level, which'll also be visible from the outside spaces. As far as the main space goes, it'll include a single-balcony auditorium. Expect it to be busy, hosting around 260 performances and welcoming approximately 300,000 per year.

Just when construction will start hasn't been set as yet, with shortlisted contractors still being considered after a tender process — however, a rough date of 2020 has been floated. If you're eager to walk through the gleaming doors, take a seat and see a show that might've passed Brissie by otherwise, NPAV is working towards a 2022 opening.

When it does lift the curtain, NPAV will herald a huge change to the South Bank spot. QPAC first launched to Brisbanites in 1985 after ten years of development, and more than 26,000 performances have graced its stages and spaces in the 34 years since then.

The New Performing Arts Venue is set to open at QPAC, on the corner of Grey and Russell streets, in 2022. For further details, visit the project website.

Published on May 16, 2019 by Sarah Ward


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