The Australian National Academy of Music will make Melbourne’s historic Abbotsford Convent its temporary home for the next three years. The move has been triggered by urgent engineering work required at the South Melbourne Town hall, where the music performance training institute has been based since 1996.

Abbotsford ConventAbbotsford Convent. Photo supplied

Abbotsford Convent’s multi-arts precinct boasts over 120 studios, galleries and cafes, as well as 3MBS radio station, and is host to events such as Music in the Round. “We are pleased to be joining the creative community of the Abbotsford Convent,” said ANAM’s General Manager Nick Bailey. “The beautiful precinct – more of a ‘campus’ than a ‘venue’, although home to some extraordinary public performance spaces – provides an ideal environment for ANAM. When we are able to return to in-person training and performances, the Convent will provide a nurturing environment for the musicians and staff, and some wonderful spaces in which to share our music-making.”

“We are thrilled to be welcoming ANAM to our creative community,” said Abbotsford Convent’s CEO Collette Brennan. “As a vital part of the Victorian arts ecology, empowering artists’ creative practices is one of the Convent’s core purposes. Moreover, our passionate commitment to delivering engaging live musical events is enduring and we look forward to showcasing ANAM musicians’ skill and imagination and enhancing our existing live musical offering for the community.”

Work on the South Melbourne Town Hall is expected to take place over the next nine to 36 months. ANAM sees the investigations and possible remediation of structural issues as the next step towards a proposed renovation project which will see the Town Hall facilities upgraded to “ensure both a secure and state-of-the-art home for ANAM for the next 50 years and an iconic and industry standard cultural and community destination venue for all Victorians,” according to the institute’s media release. “Of the required $43 million budget, the Commonwealth Dept of Infrastructure has committed $12.5m and a further $2.5m of private funds is confirmed. ANAM is seeking an investment of $10m from the Victorian government, which will in turn unlock further Council and philanthropic funds.”

The major refurbishment project will begin once funding is secured and remediation work completed, and will be subject to local community consultation. “Without further funding the project will be unable to proceed and ANAM will need to seek new premises more aligned with its status as one of the world’s leading performance training academies,” said Bailey. “For the next three years we are delighted to call Abbotsford Convent our home.”