11 October 2023

What do you want in the new Canberra Theatre Centre? Let the government know

| Ian Bushnell
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artist's impression of Canberra Theatre

An indicative artist’s impression of what the new 2000-seat theatre in the Canberra Theatre Centre redevelopment could look like. Image: ACT Government.

Canberrans can now have direct input into one of the city’s most transformative cultural projects – the Canberra Theatre Centre redevelopment.

Five months after appointing the design consortium for the multi-million dollar redevelopment, the ACT Government has raised the curtain on public consultation, which will be open until 20 November.

The expanded Canberra Theatre Centre project, including the new 2000-seat theatre with a much bigger stage than the current one, is intended to put the national capital on the performance map and attract more artists and shows to Canberra, including the top-tier productions that Canberra is missing out on.

The current theatre will also be upgraded with an option for a flat-floor setup so Canberra could attract more mid-sized concerts.

The government wants to hear from Canberrans about what is important to them and what they would like to see in the new theatre centre, which will cater for Canberra audiences for at least the next 50 years.

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The feedback will contribute to design development and help the design team understand what people want from their live performance experiences.

The government says design, consultation and approval processes will continue into 2024 and will inform planning for the project’s construction phase.

There are a number of ways to provide feedback, including through an online survey and quick poll on the Yoursay website, at one of the pop-up stands in the Canberra Theatre Centre foyer from mid-October, speaking to the pop-up team before selected shows at Canberra Theatre Centre, or by visiting a pop-up at the Canberra Centre on Thursday 12 October and Thursday 26 October.

People can also sign up for updates on the Canberra Theatre Centre transformation at Built for CBR.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Canberra has been missing out on many shows and performers because its current venues are too small and ageing.

“This project can change that,” he said.

“It will also drive more tourist activity in the city and support our retail and hospitality businesses and nighttime economy.”

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Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said this city-shaping project would help Canberra be recognised as Australia’s arts capital.

“We want to hear what matters most to people when they come to a live performance, what are their challenges, and what are their big ideas to create an iconic, vibrant and inclusive Canberra Theatre Centre where everyone feels welcome,” she said.

In May, the government selected Australian firm Architectus, Danish architects Henning Larsen and international theatre designers ARUP as the design consortium.

Several hundreds of millions of dollars have been set aside for the project, but Mr Barr will also approach the Commonwealth to contribute to the project.

“It’s not necessary for them to invest for the project to go ahead, but I think it does present an opportunity for them to partner with the Territory government in creating a national-level cultural precinct for the national capital,” he said in May.

Construction was expected to begin mid-decade after designs were finalised and be completed by 2030.

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What happened to western architecture

John Schwazer8:34 pm 11 Oct 23

Governments that are honest and serve Australian (and not globalist, monopoly capitalist) interests, including

an end to all woke, social justice or climate change nonsense,

serious questions about certain technologies,

and the guaranteed freedom to choose what goes into our bodies

David Watson3:10 pm 11 Oct 23

Pleased to see we are seeking International designers. While local input should be encouraged, the last thing we need are well intentioned O’Connor Greenie local ideas.

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