Brisbane’s QPAC will be getting a brand new theatre, Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Deputy Premier and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch announced on Sunday from the stage of the venue’s Lyric Theatre.
The Labor government has committed $125 million for the new 1500-1700 seat theatre, which will see QPAC become one of the largest performing arts centres in Australia. “We want Queensland to be the number one destination for arts in Australia,” Palaszczuk announced from the set of Disney’s Aladdin. “Not since the building of GOMA have we seen such a large injection of funding into our arts centre.”
“We are investing in the next generation of great stories, great talent and, of course, great companies that will grow in this state and continue to put Queensland on the map with regard to our cultural offerings,” said Enoch. “This new theatre, as part of QPAC, will give those small to medium size companies as well as our established companies a home to be able to tell their stories.”
QPAC will also contribute $25 million for the $150 million theatre, slated for completion in 2022, with the design chosen through an international competition. “Today’s announcement provides an exciting pathway to the future for QPAC as the leading destination for live performance in Queensland. Over three decades,” said QPAC Chair, Professor Peter Coaldrake AO. “A new theatre enables QPAC to reach new audiences across Queensland, build on the vibrancy of the Queensland Cultural Centre and grow the value of the performing arts to Queensland’s creative, cultural and tourism economies. The broad and beneficial outcomes of a new theatre will be welcomed equally by the arts sector and the Queensland community.”
“This will be celebrated news for live performance in Queensland, for our creatives and artists practicing in Queensland, for our technicians and specialists and for our audiences,” said QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas. “The digital and technological advances available in new theatre infrastructure also gives promise to QPAC’s intentions of growing the reach of its programs to audiences beyond Brisbane including regional Queenslanders.”
The state opposition leader slammed the announcement, however. “The LNP was in discussions with Star Entertainment to deliver the second theatre at no cost to taxpayers through the Queens Wharf development,” Deb Frecklington told the Brisbane Times. “Labor lost this deal. It’s a shame Labor has decided to slug taxpayers for this new theatre instead of working with the private sector.”
The new theatre will support the growth of Queensland’s home companies, according to Enoch, with Queensland Ballet recording audience growth of 57 percent over the last four years and Opera Queensland set to present a third mainstage performance from 2019.
“Queenslanders love live theatre and performance, particularly musicals, and this new theatre will also meet the ever-growing demand to present multiple art forms including theatre, opera, ballet and musicals,” Palaszczuk said. “I have said Queensland Ballet needs a new home, having outgrown the 850-seat Playhouse Theatre, the new larger theatre will enable the company to perform to an audience of double the size within a season.”