Here's What's in Store as Part of Arts Centre Melbourne's New Major Upgrade Works

The Theatres Building and its heritage State Theatre are getting a facelift under the $1.7-billion Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation project.
Libby Curran
May 01, 2023

She's one of the grand dames of Melbourne's cultural scene, having hosted countless big-name artists and theatre stars over the decades; not to mention all the audiences that have packed her seats for shows of all genres during that time. Now, Arts Centre Melbourne is set to score her next facelift, as part of the Victorian Government's $1.7-billion Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation project.

Much of the works will be focused beneath the iconic spire, breathing new life into the precinct's Theatres Building and its heritage State Theatre, which was opened in 1984. The upgrades will help keep everything in top shape and kicking on strong for future cultural visitors.

"Arts Centre Melbourne is a much-loved institution and destination, with a rich history and legacy," explained Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Karen Quinlan AM. "These upgrades to the Theatres Building are a major step forward in our reimagining, to ensure we are fit-for-purpose for presenters and audiences alike for the next 40 years."

The theatre itself is set to score new seating, flooring and state-of-the-art lighting, as well as improvements to the sound system. Its current air-con situation will also be given a boost to help ensure audiences remain cool as cucumbers through the summer months.

Accessibility is another major focus of the project, which involve building new lifts and adding more wheelchair positions, giving those patrons seating options on all three levels for the first time ever. What's more, mobility-impaired audience members can look forward to having a choice of seating rows with extra space between them, which'll make it easier to move around.

The building is also getting two new hospitality venues, as well as a suite of back-of-house upgrades, such as a huge new rehearsal space and an enlarged loading dock.

Head contractor for the project, Lendlease, has already started initial works, with the final product to be unveiled at some stage in 2027.

Charlie Kinross

The upgrades to Arts Centre Melbourne's Theatres Building are part of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation and are set to be completed in 2027. You can find out more over at the website.

Published on May 01, 2023 by Libby Curran
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