Milestones and moving ahead on the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation

Milestones and moving ahead on the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation

The Melbourne Arts Precinct is set to become one of the great arts and cultural destinations in the world, through the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion transformation project.

When complete, the transformation will further amplify the city’s rich offering of creative experiences. Works are underway to deliver the city-shaping project, with several construction milestones met this year.

As part of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation (MAPT), Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building is undergoing its most significant refurbishment since it first opened in 1984.

The changes will bring the State Theatre up to 21st century standards and enhance accessibility for all Victorians. 

To complete these works, the State Theatre will close its doors from April 2024 and will welcome back resident companies Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet for their performance seasons in 2027.

During this time, the Australian Ballet and Opera Australia will relocate to the historic Regent Theatre on Collins St, providing audiences with a new opportunity to enjoy performances in one of Australia’s most iconic theatres, as well as other venues.

While the State Theatre is closed for the upgrades, the rest of Arts Centre Melbourne remains open including the Fairfax Studio and the Playhouse in the Theatres Building, Hamer Hall and Sidney Myer Music Bowl.


The transformation project will also deliver The Fox: NGV Contemporary, which will be the largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art and design in Australia.


Once completed, the new gallery will comprise an overall area of 30,000 sqm with more than 13,000 sqm of dedicated display space.

The expansive site will enable the NGV to host even more internationally renowned works of art and exhibitions, as well as boost opportunities for Victorian artists and designers. 

The project also includes the creation of a new 18,000 sqm Urban Garden, which will connect Arts Centre Melbourne, NGV International and The Fox: NGV Contemporary and provide a seamless new pedestrian connection through the arts precinct from Princes Bridge to Southbank Blvd and Sturt St.

The enhanced precinct is set to attract millions more visitors each year.

Construction is currently underway at the project site in Southbank. A construction milestone was recently reached with the commencement of piling - which involves installing reinforced concrete foundations to support new structures being built on top.

Before the new piling work could commence, the existing piles, installed in the 1980s, were removed using a first-of-its-kind technique developed by project engineers.

In total, 37 existing steel piles were removed and approximately 350 new piles will be installed to support an expanded basement structure of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building and eventually support the new Urban Garden in the precinct.

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