Government Announces New $150m Cultural Centre Theatre

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A concept impression of how the new QPAC theatre at the Cultural Centre could look like

Already Australia’s busiest theatre complex, QPAC is set to become the nation’s largest with the Queensland Government announcing a new $150 million state of the art 1500-1700 seat theatre for Brisbane.

The Premier announced an investment of $125 million towards its construction on the Playhouse Green site at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) with the bulk of the funding committed for its construction part of next month’s State Budget.

“The go-ahead for the new theatre is a wonderful outcome for audiences and for all our arts companies, artists and arts workers,” the Premier said.

“Brisbane is an important market for touring productions especially major musicals.

“And QPAC reports it is nearing full capacity in all its theatres, with a strong forward program of bookings to 2022 and beyond.

“Building a new theatre is a must to ensure we can keep attracting even more big shows and more visitors to our capital city.

“My government is committed to supporting a vibrant arts and cultural sector in Queensland and I recognise the critical role of infrastructure in making this happen,” she said.

“This investment in a new theatre follows the recommendations of the detailed business case for a 1500-1700 seat theatre at this site, to be operated by QPAC, who will contribute $25 million to the new venue.

A concept impression of how the new QPAC theatre at the Cultural Centre could look like

“A national design competition would be undertaken to deliver an outstanding architectural solution for the new theatre.

“The design for the new theatre within the Heritage Listed Queensland Cultural Centre, will also be guided by the Conservation Management Plan, which was developed by heritage consultants last year.

“Queenslanders love live theatre and performance, particularly musicals, and this new theatre will also meet the ever-growing demand to present multiple art forms including theatre, opera, ballet and musicals.”

The Premier said the new venue would support the state’s four home companies – Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre – by providing access across five QPAC venues.

“I have said Queensland Ballet needs a new home, having outgrown the 850-seat Playhouse Theatre, the new larger theatre will enable the company to perform to an audience of double the size within a season.

“We have an active performing arts sector with companies that collaborate on a national and international level and we have a community keen and always ready to experience the wonderful arts on offer,” the Premier said.

Deputy Premier, and Member for South Brisbane, Jackie Trad said the new theatre would be a wonderful addition to our internationally recognised Queensland Cultural Centre that last year saw 6.5 million visitors.

“The new theatre will further enhance visitor attraction to the Centre, and with the growth of our local companies, we want as many visitors and tourists to experience our local artists and performing arts product as possible,” Ms Trad said.

“QPAC schedules over 1000 performances annually and saw 1.3 million people through its doors in 2017.

“Its current theatres are nearing capacity, however with the addition of this new theatre QPAC would become Australia’s largest performing arts centre with the potential to welcome an additional 300,000 visitors each year when fully operational from 2022.”

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said our home companies were on significant growth trajectory and the new theatre would further support this while enabling larger audiences to experience their inspiring performances.

Former Liberal Government plan for the Cultural Centre which included a new theatre on this site

“We are a state that has some incredible talent and unique stories to tell, which gives Queensland a competitive edge in the arts sector.

“These stories need to be fostered and developed and find a home where they can be told to others, and this is what this new venue will help to deliver.

“The Queensland Ballet is playing to sell-out audiences, recording audience growth of 57per cent over the last four years, while Queensland Theatre’s Ladies in Black performed to audiences of more than 30,000 in QPAC’s Playhouse Theatre in 2017.

“From 2019, Opera Queensland will deliver a third mainstage performance and the critically-acclaimed Queensland Symphony Orchestra continues to attract the world’s greats to perform in Queensland,” MS Enoch said.

“In addition to supporting our home companies, QPAC has also entered into residencies to support Circa, Expressions Dance Company, Camerata and Southern Cross Soloists, as well as its own program of commissioned performing arts festivals including Out of the Box and Clancestry.

“The more theatre space, the more scope there is to continue growing the performing arts industry in Queensland and provide more opportunity to meet audience demand.”

Opinion: Critical design features to get right

  • Rooftop activation through a restaurant, bar, cafe or observation area on the roof which looks over South Bank, the river and towards the CBD
  • Street level activation through ground floor retail and footpath dining
  • Comply with Brisbane City Council’s Buildings that Breathe Guidelines
  • Bold and daring architecture to make a statement and to complement the Robin Gibson designed heritage QPAC complex.
  • Public art installations to reinforce the cultural centre as an Australian culture and arts hub

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  • “A national design competition would be undertaken to deliver an outstanding architectural solution for the new theatre.”

    This statement worries me. You don’t put a project of this size to a ‘competition’. It’s a total discredit to to the skill and the amount of hours that goes in to the process of design. Aside from that, holding a competition, you miss out on a vital part of ensuring the solution is appropriate – a detailed brief from the client, and proper consultation with the client, community and stakeholders.

    The concept renderings shown in this article are attractive, but anyone with a 3D rendering program can make something that looks good. If it’s built though, will it work? Who’s to know…

  • Check out the following example in Singapore that is located in the suburbs “Buona Vista” – 5000 seat theater called the The Star Performing Arts Centre
    This is what is required in Brisbane city to attract more international acts.
    The Star at Buona Vista is a spectacular multi purpose complex. Well worth a look for any company looking a putting in a proposal/design.

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