With the influx of gold money in the nineteenth century, Melbourne was able to build grand theatres, attract performers from around the world and establish itself as the cultural capital of Australia - a title most Melbournians still claim.
Most nights of the year you will find a production at either:
State Theatre - at the Victorian Arts Centre. This government subsidised theatre is the home to the Melbourne Theatre Company and most Melbourne productions of
Opera Australia and the
Southbank Theatre which
opened in 2009 and is home to the Melbourne Theatre Company.
CUB Malthouse - a more intimate theatre and the home of Playbox theatre company.
There are five main heritage theatres in the city area. These are usually home to major musicals.
Princess Theatre - still reflecting the opulence of the 'Marvellous Melbourne' era of the nineteenth century.
Her Majesty's Theatre - this important theatre has been recently refurbished
Regent Theatre - OK, it's 1930s Plaster of Paris kitsch but we Melbournians love it. It has been recently refurbished to accommodate blockbuster shows.
Athenaeum Theatre - one of the oldest if not the glitziest. It often hosts smaller or medium sized productions.
Comedy Theatre - suited to mid size productions.
Forum Theatre - another legacy of the 1930s picture palace era. Currently in need of refurbishment.
Capitol Theatre - built as a cinema and somewhat altered, this theatre is occasionally pressed into use for theatre.
There are hundreds of other theatres around Melbourne. The gigantic barn of the
Palais Theatre is occasionally pressed into use and the nearby
National Theatre in
St Kilda has a long and proud history. Most councils and universities also boast a performing arts centre.
Chapel Off Chapel is a smaller arts complex based around a church (chapel) close to
Chapel Street, Prahran.
In the city fortyfive downstairs
provides a smaller performing space for theatre and music.
Councils and local governments often have a performing
arts centre and some of the more prominent of these include:
- Hamer Hall - at the Victorian Arts Centre is Melbourne's major concert hall and home to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
- The Melbourne Recital Centre opened in
2009 and its Elisabeth Murdoch Hall is the major venue for
chamber music and smaller orchestral concerts.
- Melbourne Town Hall - with its traditional shoe box structure and mighty organ it is ideal for nineteenth century orchestral music.
- Sidney Myer Music Bowl - an outdoor sound shell set in wonderful parkland.
- The Edge (previously
BMW Edge and under current naming rights Deakin
Edge) - a small modern space with stunning glass walls allowing views across the Yarra.
- Melba Hall - a smaller hall at the University of Melbourne
- Iwaki Auditorium - a smaller auditorium located in the ABC buildings at Southbank.
- North Melbourne Town Hall - a smaller suburban town hall auditorium close to the city and currently branded as "Arts House"
- South Melbourne Town Hall - used for concerts and recitals by the Australian National Academy of Music
There are many churches and smaller halls and are often pressed into service for both concerts and theatre. These include: