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Arts Centre Melbourne
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Arts Centre Melbourne, previously known as The Arts Centre of the Victorian Arts Centre, is the hub of the performing arts in Victoria and the focal point of the cultural district, the Melbourne Arts Precinct, in Melbourne. It is located in the central Melbourne suburb of Southbank, along St Kilda Road and near the Yarra River , and consists of concert halls and theaters.
The arts complex is easily recognized by its striking spire. This 115-meter steel spire was one of the first structures to be designed with a computer in Australia. It was opened in 1981, but in the middle of the 1990s it was already deteriorating. The spire was replaced in 1996, now reaching up to 531 feet high and made up of metal webbing that resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Arts Centre Melbourne is made up of three venues, which combined is host to more than 4,400 events and performances each year. It is by far the largest and busiest performing arts center in Australia. The three venues are the Theatres Building, home to the Playhouse, Fairfax Studio, and the 2,077-seat State Theatre, which has one of the world’s largest stages; the Hamer Hall concert venue, with its 2,661 seats; and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl , an outdoor area in nearby Kings Domain that can seat 12,000 people and is used for outdoor concerts.
Famous companies that perform in the theaters are the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia; Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company; Victorian Opera, and Sydney Dance Company.
The Performing Arts Collection houses an important collection of items and artifacts covering almost 200 years of Australian performing arts. It has more than half a million artifacts that document the history of theater, dance, music, opera, and circus in the country.
HistoryThe present-day site used to be the location of various types of entertainment in Melbourne, such as theater, circuses, roller skating, ice skating, and dancing. The first plans to create a cultural center in the city were unfolded after the Second World War, but it wasn't until 1960 that a master plan was finally approved. The architect that was chosen was Sir Roy Grounds .
In the following years there appeared to be problems with the site’s geology and the initial plans had to be revised. It was then decided to construct two buildings instead of one. Those buildings were Hamer Hall and the Theatres Building. Actual work on site didn't start until 1973, and the excavations weren't completed until 1978, two years behind schedule.
During construction, the design was constantly attacked in the Parliament and passionately defended by Norman Lacy, the Minister for the Arts. The Concert Hall (later renamed Hamer Hall after the Prime Minister) was finished in 1982, but the Theatres Building still had a long way to go. After the Concert, Hall the rest of the Arts Centre was opened one after another. The Theatre Building was the last one to open, in October 1984. It took nearly 25 years to complete this complex, but then again, it one of the largest public construction projects in the history of Victoria.
What is extraordinary about the Arts Centre Melbourne is that all of its theaters and concert hall are built largely underground.
Visiting Arts Centre MelbourneFrom ballet, orchestra, and opera to theater and dance, the Arts Centre Melbourne offers all types of performing arts. The center is located only a few minutes’ walk over the bridge from Flinders Street Railway Station in the Melbourne Central Business District. It can also be reached by tram along St Kilda Road; the Arts Centre Melbourne is located at stop 14. Other public transport is the Melbourne Tourist Shuttle Bus, which loops around the city every thirty minutes.
Entertainment is not limited to the front of the stage though. Visitors can also go on guided tours around the complex. Tours go behind the scenes, on the stages, through enormous underground theaters, and past the impressive Performing Arts Collection.
The Arts Centre Melbourne also has a fine selection of restaurants, cafés, bars, and shops, and every Sunday is market day at the complex. From 10.00 AM to 4.00 PM, local artisans set up their shops on the lawns of the Arts Centre and sell products ranging from crafts to fresh produce. This cozy local market, contrasting with the bustle of a vibrant arts precinct, is a weekly highlight in Melbourne and not to be missed.
Similar LandmarksSimilar concert halls, theaters and performing arts centers can be found all over the world: the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Royal Albert Hall in London; Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Lincoln Center in New York City; and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: May 01, 2015