GAC renovation gets green light

The Geelong Arts Centre's Little Malop Street building is undergoing a redevelopment. (Rebecca Hosking) 229960_02

By Luke Voogt

The final stage of a $128 million redevelopment of Geelong Arts Centre has received the go ahead from state government.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne on Monday announced the final approval for the project, which will create about 600 local construction jobs, according to state government.

“This redevelopment will be a feature for the city and a hub for cultural events,” Mr Wynne said.

The existing Little Malop Street site is being redeveloped to include new performance venues and theatres, new indoor and outdoor areas, a new box office, and new front- and back-of-house facilities.

The final stage builds on a major overhaul of the 750-seat Playhouse Theatre in 2010 and Geelong Arts Centre’s Ryrie Street redevelopment in November 2019.

The new Little Malop Street centre will generate more than 300 ongoing local tourism and service jobs following its scheduled opening in 2023.

“This is a wonderful project that will give Geelong a real landmark cultural facility,” Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson said.

According to state government, the project will allow Geelong Arts Centre to attract a greater diversity of quality productions and provide more opportunities for local artists, schools and community groups.

The redeveloped building’s façade will take the form of a theatre drape curtain with tie-back ropes and tassles, aimed at creating an engaging streetscape for visitors.

“This is an exciting milestone for Geelong,” Geelong MP Christine Couzens said.

“History shows that cities with proud cultural institutions are vibrant and exciting places to live and visit.

“The contribution of the local traditional owners group has been crucial in landing the right design so that people in Geelong can enjoy this theatre for generations to come.”