Queensland’s oldest-standing theatre, The Princess, is set to become Brisbane’s newest home for live music and the arts, with new owners and a bold new direction unveiled today.
Reopening to the public in August as a sister venue to Brisbane icon The Tivoli, the purchase and revitalisation of the 133-year-old Princess Theatre is helmed by The Tivoli owners, brothers Steve Sleswick and Dave Sleswick, alongside prominent Brisbane businessman Steve Wilson.
Located in the burgeoning historic district of Clarence Corner, adjacent to the Mater Hospital, The Princess is the jewel in the crown of Woolloongabba’s emerging entertainment and lifestyle precinct, just minutes’ walk to both South Bank and the new Woolloongabba Cross River Rail transport hub.
The Tivoli co-owner Dave Sleswick said culture and community were at the core of The
Princess’s redevelopment and rebirth.
“The Princess was created as a theatre in 1888, originally known as the South Brisbane Public Hall.
We feel it’s vital for us to reclaim the building for Brisbane’s vibrant world-class arts sector
and return it to the community to be used as it was originally intended,” Sleswick said.
“It shares the same independent spirit as The Tivoli and will have live music at its heart,
providing a home for Brisbane and Queensland artists, musicians and entertainers, as well as those from throughout Australia and across the world.”
The Princess Theatre renewal project extends on the Sleswick brother’s passion for preserving and revitalising iconic and historical music and arts spaces, just as they did in 2016 when they purchased The Tivoli Theatre in Fortitude Valley after it was earmarked for development.
The thoughtfully restored State Heritage building will be home to a state-of-the-art performance auditorium designed for a standing capacity of 900, and a seated theatre capacity of 500.
It will feature 4 bars, a public café, private event spaces, a rehearsal room, a co-working creative office and workshop space, and an outdoor courtyard.
The Princess Theatre’s opening and ongoing program will feature world-class music, intriguing contemporary performance, programming for families and young people, and a diverse array of dynamic corporate and private events.
The Princess will also give a permanent home and workshop space to one of Queensland’s premier independent arts organisations – visual theatre company Dead Puppet Society.
“We look forward to welcoming this passionate and pioneering company to the venue as one of our inaugural companies in residence,” Sleswick said.
Investment partner Steve Wilson – former South Bank Corporation Chair and current Chair of the Committee for Brisbane – said the reawakening of The Princess as a thriving music and cultural venue would cement Woolloongabba as Brisbane’s newest entertainment and lifestyle destination.
“Brisbane’s reputation as a leading global city is dependent on it having a vibrant arts scene with more dedicated live music and entertainment venues across a variety of geographical locations,” Wilson said.
“This partnership with The Tivoli is built upon a mutual love of the arts, respect for Brisbane’s heritage and culture and a collective desire to retain and grow Brisbane’s reputation as a dynamic and creative city.”
The Princess has assembled a strong team of local creatives and professionals to steer all
aspects of its redevelopment, including leading heritage architect JDA, whose work includes the revitalisation of Elizabeth Picture Theatre, interiors expert Sophie Hart, and builder Herron Coorey.
The venue will also undergo a substantial identity rebrand under the expertise guidance of Bigfish.
Building works will commence April 6 with a reopening slated for late August 2021. The Princess’s inaugural program is set to be announced mid-May.