Arts Centre Hits The Big Stage

Arts Centre Hits The Big Stage

Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu

Victoria Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu

Funding Boost To Help Arts Centre Reach New Audiences And Present More Big Events

Victor P Taffa

Melbourne’s iconic Arts Centre will be able to reach new audiences and present more big events after an $11.3 Million funding boost from the Victorian Coalition Government for capital works and equipment, announced today by Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu.

Premier Baillieu said the funding would help transform and modernise Hamer Hall as part of the refit of the 30-year old building which is re-opening in July 2012 and upgrade facilities at the State Theatre.

“Big arts performances are part of what makes Melbourne the arts capital of Australia and one of the best arts cities in the world, bringing visitors and jobs and adding to the excitement in our great state.” Premier Baillieu said.

“This $7.3 Million boost will fund the purchase and fit-out of equipment at Hamer Hall, including audio-visual and multimedia equipment for the public and function spaces, state-of the- art audio and lighting equipment for performances and in-house broadcasting facilities.”

“This will allow the flexibility to stage performances and events outside the auditorium and throughout the day, extending activity beyond Hamer Hall’s mainstage performance program.”

“The installation of high quality digital broadcasting equipment will also extend access to audiences throughout Victoria, across Australia and around the globe.” Premier Baillieu said.

The Arts Centre Melbourne is the largest performing arts complex in Australia, and its magnificent spire is one of Melbourne’s great symbols. Last year it staged more than 4,500 performances and public events, hosting more than 2.3 Million people across its various venues.

Premier Baillieu said the package of funding also included $4 Million to expand the orchestra pit in the State Theatre in the Theatres Building.

“The expansion of the orchestra pit’s capacity from 65 musicians to 110 will enable the presentation of performances on a scale that cannot be staged anywhere else in Australia.” Premier Baillieu said.

“This includes epic performances such as the 2013 exclusive Melbourne staging of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, a significant cultural and tourism coup for Victoria.”

The Melbourne Ring Cycle, presented by Opera Australia in partnership with the Coalition Government, Victorian Major Events Company and leading Melbourne philanthropists Maureen and Tony Wheeler, will involve more than 350 performers, designers, technicians, costume-makers and backstage staff, 100 behind-the-scenes technicians and more than 100 musicians in the orchestra.

Opera Australia chief executive Adrian Collette said the renovation of the State Theatre orchestra pit was wonderful news for Opera Australia.

“Not only does it mean we can build a full Wagner-size orchestra for these performances, it also means that Opera Australia can program large-scale opera each year which will be unique to Melbourne.” Mr. Collette said.

“This will inspire Victorian audiences for opera and attract both interstate and international visitors.”

“It’s a great example of an investment in infrastructure encouraging creativity and commerce.” Mr. Collette said.

Arts Centre Melbourne Chief Executive Judith Isherwood also welcomed the announcement.

“We are thrilled that the Coalition Government has seen the potential of both buildings and provided funding to take performances at Hamer Hall and the State Theatre to a new level.” Ms. Isherwood said.

“Arts Centre Melbourne which is already Australia’s largest arts centre will be even better with this funding and audiences will enjoy live performance here like never before.”