Congratulations to Joel McGuiness and the team at the newly opened Geelong Art Centre.
The $140 million performing arts centre in Little Malop Street, designed by ARM Architecture and funded by the state government, has taken four years to build. It houses two theatres (one seating 550 and another 250), an atrium, a restaurant, box office, and refreshed back-of-house and administration facilities. The larger theatre – known as Story House – can be adapted to create a standing area for audiences, with seats retracting under the stage.
One of 43 UNESCO cities of design, Geelong’s art scene is vibrant and thriving. Rent increases in Melbourne and higher costs of living across the board have resulted in many artists being pushed out of traditional inner-city locations.
The Alto Cibum team was fortunate to support the development with a range of services including the Design Brief, Food and Beverage Masterplan and Operator Selection. “Joel and team had a very clear and innovative vision for the food and beverage experience in the Centre”, says Rob Clifford Managing Director for Alto Cibum.
“The Arts Centre deliberately flips the idea of the traditional black box theatre on its head”, says chief executive and creative director Joel McGuiness. “It opens to the street, with a wall that can be retracted to allow performances to spill outside.”
The design is playful, with ceilings inspired by circus tents, mirrored walls and a bright-blue “tunnel” connecting spaces; the exterior resembles a draping curtain.
First Nations stories feature prominently, with works by Kait James, Gerard Black, Tarryn Love, and Mick Ryan embedded throughout. James’ artwork on the building’s western wall, called Dry Your Dishes on My Culture, calls out the treatment of Indigenous Australians.
To celebrate the Arts Centre’s opening, a month-long festival of activities is underway. Missy Higgins performs on Sunday night, and in the coming weeks, the program will include The Barber of Seville by Opera Australia, comedian Ross Noble, Belvoir Street Theatre’s Miss Peony and Priscilla: The Musical.
The Alto team has recent and specialised experience with Arts and Culture venues across Australia, reach out if you are seeking support with your food and beverage guest experience.