The Geelong Arts Centre will become Australia’s biggest regional arts centre, with innovative designs for a $140 million redevelopment revealing state-of-the-art facilities and two flexible performance spaces to host local, national and international performers.
The striking design brings together elements drawn from the history of Geelong – showcasing the region’s strong and continuing First Nations culture, its proximity to the ocean, and the local history of circus and theatre.
The new facility will include a 500-seat theatre that expands to an 800-person capacity in ‘live gig’ mode, as well as a hybrid theatre with more than 250 seats connected to the Little Malop Street Plaza.
Architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall worked with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation as co-designers to weave in stories of the lands, waters and skies as well as local ochres, jarosites from Bells Beach and greenstone found at Dog Rocks in Batesford.
Geelong’s history will be expressed in the Lascelles wool store-inspired moulded concrete walls and the design features a curtain shaped facade inspired by Victoria’s early history of performance, theatre and circus tents.
The redevelopment is expected to create 600 construction jobs and provide opportunities for local apprentices. Geelong Arts Centre, Creative Victoria, Development Victoria and Lendlease are partnering to deliver the project which is due to be completed by late 2023.