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Arts Centre Melbourne

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With an array of venues under its spire, the Arts Centre is the flagship of the performing arts in Victoria and focal point of the cultural precinct.

About Arts Centre Melbourne

Although it opened in 1984, this site has one of the longest entertainment pedigrees in Australia. Circuses pitched their tents here from 1877. Wirth Brothers’ Circus settled here and operated various venues between 1911 and 1953, when its buildings were destroyed by fire. A plan for an arts precinct was green-lit as far back as 1960 but the project would prove difficult, with politics, money and the threat of flood all playing a part. It wasn’t until 1984 that the John Truscott-designed building you see now finally opened. Now it is one of the country’s major performing arts venues, hosting around 4000 performances each year and attracting over 3 million visitors to its theatres and resident companies The Australian Ballet, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company, and Opera Australia.
  • Fun Facts About Arts Centre Melbourne
  • Completed in 1996, the building’s famous spire was built using technology pioneered for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. From street level to the top, it’s 162 meters high and weighs close to 100 tonnes. This is an arts centre on a grand scale: The State Theatre stage has the footprint of about eight average suburban houses. The basement is two-thirds of the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground playing field. The building sits on the remnants of an ancient watercourse so the structure had to be anchored 40 meters into the bedrock with 100mm steel rods, each with a continuous electrical current running through it to prevent corrosion. You could try to count the brass cups that make up the State Theatre ceiling, but you’ll need some time. There are about 75000 of them – each drilled with a tiny hole to let water out should the sprinkler system activate.
Notable shows: “Sleeping Beauty,” “Die Walkure, Follies,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Einstein on the Beach,” “My Fair Lady,” “Dance Theatre of Harlem,” “Batavia,” “Chess,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Melbourne, VIC 3004
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Transportation & Parking

The Arts Centre Melbourne car park is located just minutes from the theatres, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and central Melbourne, with 24-hour car parking available at competitive rates.

Nearby Points of Interest