Work on Geelong Performing Arts Centre’s Ryrie Street Redevelopment is set to begin following the appointment of award-winning builder Kane Constructions.
The $38.5 million redevelopment - funded by the Victorian Government and some philanthropic support - will create a striking new entrance, improve access to the centre and provide state-of-the-art dance and rehearsal studios.
Kane Constructions already has a strong presence in Geelong, having completed the 2010 refurbishment of the centre’s Playhouse Theatre, as well as the recent redevelopment of Simonds Stadium and the award-winning Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.
GPAC Trust Chair Michelle Quigley QC said the much-anticipated redevelopment would reinvigorate the centre and ensure accessibility for all.
“Our centre is truly unique - one minute we’re hosting the best productions from around the world and the next our theatres are filled with student productions and dance concerts.
“This project will ensure our centre keeps pace with the growing needs of our community, provide improved access to the Playhouse and much-needed facilities including purpose-built dance and rehearsal studios.”
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced the winning builder in Geelong on Wednesday 30th August, with help from Val Hannah School of Dancing and young dancers from Karen Feldman Dance Studio.
The region’s large dance community is set to be one of the big winners in the redevelopment, with four new studios to open.
The Ryrie St Redevelopment will also reveal the walls of the historic church, improve the visitor experience by providing two new foyers and a bar area, and introduce new spaces for use by creative practitioners and organisations.
“The Geelong Performing Arts Centre services a large and growing population, attracts the best Australian and international performances and provides a stage for the local community to shine,” Minister Foley said.
The Minister also announced a public art commission for the building’s external eastern wall. Local, national and international artists are invited to submit expressions of interest in creating a large-scale artwork, with funding of up to $500,000 available.
Ms Quigley said the new Geelong Performing Arts Centre would be a landmark cultural facility for the region.
“Geelong is not just another regional city; it is the capital city of the G21 region and Western Victoria - the great alternative to Melbourne. But people will not choose an alternative if the facilities do not meet their needs and expectations.
“In the provision of arts facilities, Geelong must make up ground and we are delighted that this project is now underway.”
The project is expected to begin in September and create approximately 100 jobs during construction.
More detail on the Geelong Performing Arts Centre public art commission can be found at creative.vic.gov.au. Expressions of interest close on Wednesday 27 September.