Malthouse Theatre building works to continue into 2023 with positive outcomes ahead

Kaylah Joelle Baker

While the Malthouse Theatre has been busy working on improving the exterior of its heritage building since works started in June, the theatre’s interior is also getting a major overhaul.

The renovations come after the major Southbank theatre space received some support from Creative Victoria in the form of $4.6 million to revamp and improve the space being used.

Speaking at a Malthouse Theatre media preview on Wednesday, September 21, Malthouse artistic director and co-CEO Matthew Lutton said that while most of the work being done was to simply upgrade the site, some was “essential”.

Of particular focus, and considered the number one priority, is the roofing which has resulted in some leaks in the past and a “ridiculous heating bill”.

“Malthouse hasn’t had any building love since our former renovations almost 20 years ago, and so one of the upsides of the pandemic is we had some support from Creative Victoria to upgrade our building and site,” Mr Lutton said.

The bathrooms in the foyer are also getting an upgrade and following the renovations there will be additional cubicles in the bathrooms that are more modernised and accessible. The bathrooms will also be moved further back by four to five metres to allow for an extra 80 sqms to be gained in the foyer.

As well as the successful shows that continue to be showcased within the theatre spaces, the Malthouse Theatre is also well-known for its outdoor stage.

The stage has been a popular addition to Malthouse with more than 25,000 people attending 80 live music, comedy and cabaret performances and literary events in the previous two years and revamping the space will only continue to escalate this.

“The courtyard is getting a lot of attention outside and being resurfaced, and we are getting the infrastructure we need for the outdoor stage such as a permanent tech booth, and new lighting bars and dressing rooms are all being added and installed,” Mr Lutton said.

Building works will still be well under way in December, with shows still resuming through this time, but it is the hope for Malthouse that within January the new refreshed courtyard and renovated bathrooms will be completed.

Mr Lutton also said that should the works take longer than anticipated, the organised shows for the beginning of 2023 would still run as planned.

In addition to building works, Malthouse Theatre has also been revamping its online presence throughout the second half of this year.

A Stories of M website has been developed with the intention to provide every site visitor with an accessible archive of the theatre’s rich history.

Stories of M is our interactive and digital archive, and it has every show and every artist that has ever worked at the company in our 46-year history,” Mr Lutton said.

“We remember our history and who we are, and we look back as we look forward.” •

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Caption: Malthouse artistic director and co-CEO Matthew Lutton.

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