Arts

$35 million revamp set to transform Adelaide Festival Centre into state-of-the-art cultural hub

Adelaide Festival Centre’s ambitious $35 million renovation plan has been announced, including state-of-the-art upgrades to seating, lighting, and safety systems, ensuring a top-tier cultural experience for future generations.

The Adelaide Festival Centre, a prominent arts icon in South Australia, is set to undergo a major $35 million upgrade. The announcement, made today by Andrea Michaels, the Minister for Arts, will see a substantial financial investment to facilitate widespread improvements throughout the venue.

Critical enhancements include the installation of brand new seating across all three theatres and sophisticated upgrades to lighting systems in both foyers and auditoriums. The stage flooring in Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre will also receive improvements.

The funding extends to a previously announced initiative aimed at upgrading the Western Plaza, situated between the Festival Theatre and Dunstan Playhouse. Plans include the installation of a new lift to enhance accessibility for families with strollers and mobility aid users.

The fire and safety protocols within the Adelaide Festival Centre will also be upgraded. These upgrades encompass enhanced smoke detection and occupant warning systems, along with the installation of upgraded emergency lighting and sprinkler systems.

Due to the extensive nature of these works, the centre’s three theatres—the Dunstan Playhouse, Space Theatre, and Festival Theatre—will temporarily close their doors from July and August 2025, respectively. The anticipated reopening is scheduled for early 2026.

The Minister for Arts, Andrea Michaels, underlined the centrality of the Adelaide Festival Centre to the state’s cultural landscape. “The Adelaide Festival Centre has been an icon in South Australia for more than 50 years,” stated Michaels. She further emphasised the government’s dedication to ensuring the centre remains a core component of arts and culture in the region for future generations.

During the period of temporary closure at the Adelaide Festival Centre, the recently renovated Her Majesty’s Theatre will continue to operate. It will host a continuous programme of festivals, arts, and entertainment, ensuring that the public still has access to high-level cultural experiences.

Douglas Gautier AM, CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre, also expressed his views regarding the upgrade. Gautier acknowledged the opportunity provided by the government’s investment to reinvest in and revitalise the centre’s facilities. “We appreciate the continued support of all our partners, patrons and staff and believe these upgrades will ensure this iconic building will continue to be enjoyed by future generations to come,” he remarked.

This upgrade project not only aims to enhance the aesthetic and functional aspects of the Adelaide Festival Centre but also ensures it can meet modern safety standards, thereby maintaining its status as a premier venue for performing arts in Australia. Through these improvements, the Adelaide Festival Centre is set to continue its legacy, offering enriched experiences to its visitors and cementing its position at the heart of South Australia’s cultural offering.

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