News & Media

Builder appointed for Recital Centre and Theatre

Work on the multi-million dollar Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Theatre Company Theatre project is set to start following the Bracks Government’s selection of a preferred builder.
The Minister for Major Projects, John Lenders, said the State Government had selected Bovis Lend Lease to construct a new 1000-seat Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) and a 500-seat theatre for the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) in Southbank.
“The recital centre and theatre complex is the missing link in Melbourne’s cultural precinct and will complement Victoria’s first-class arts infrastructure such as the Melbourne Museum, State Library, National Gallery, ACMI and the Arts Centre,” Mr Lenders said.
“It will compete with Sydney’s Opera House as the nation’s most prized music and theatrical venue attracting leading international musicians and performers.”
Mr Lenders said the two arts venues will be built on a site bound by Southbank Boulevard, Dodds Street and Sturt Street, Southbank, opposite the Victorian College of the Arts.
“With preparation works at the Southbank site complete, the builders are now primed to start construction,” Mr Lenders said.
“The recital hall design is extremely sophisticated and complex, delivering acoustic and technical excellence. We are confident the builders have the required level of expertise and commitment to deliver Melbourne a world-class arts venue.”
As well as a recital hall, the recital centre will boast recording and broadcasting studios, rehearsal and function rooms and a café/bar. The theatre will also include a rehearsal studio and offices.
The Melbourne Theatre Company’s new theatre would end a 25 year search for a new home for Australia’s oldest professional theatre company. The company has been without a permanent base since the Russell Street Theatre closed.
Mr Lenders said the State Government would deliver an additional $19 million for the project and the University of Melbourne would contribute a further $4.5 million.
“The Bracks Government is determined to deliver on its promise to build Melbourne a recital hall that all Victorian’s can be proud to say is truly world-class,” Mr Lenders said.
“This is a one-off project with high level technical elements and like other major art projects, has very sophisticated project design specifications.
“The initial budget was an estimate and subject to full market testing.
“The builders have now assessed market costs and evaluated risks and come back to us with a fixed delivery price and we are confident costs will not rise again.”
Mr Lenders said this would bring current total project cost to about $120 million, with the State Government contributing $82 million, the university $12 million, Crown Ltd $16 million and the remaining funds to be obtained from fundraising.
The Minister for Arts, Mary Delahunty, said the extra funding would ensure Melbourne continued to attract the world’s best musical performers and cement the city’s position as Australia’s cultural capital.
“The Bracks Government is reinforcing Victoria’s leadership as the cultural and artistic hub of Australia by investing in Arts infrastructure,” Ms Delahunty said.
“In less then a decade we will have delivered $1 billion of arts projects including the Melbourne Museum, ACMI, National Gallery Victoria at Federation Square as well as major new regional arts and cultural centres at Sale, Swan Hill, Warragul, Bendigo, Benalla, Ballarat, Shepparton.
“The recital centre is a welcome addition to Victoria’s cultural precinct and will provide a more intimate and affordable venue for performances from soiree to cabaret, as well as functions, lectures and recording sessions.”
Ms Delahunty said several leading musical companies and directors were already making plans for the new recital hall, including:· Musica Viva, the world’s largest presenter of chamber music, who plan to expand its Victorian presence three-fold; · Paul Grabowsky, the Artistic Director of the Australian Art Orchestra, who is researching collaborative projects inspired by the intimacy and digital capacity of the venue. · The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, who plan to bring its highly successful subscription series to Melbourne for the first time; and · Richard Gill, Music Director of Victorian Opera, who plans to stage both established and new chamber opera productions that take advantage of recital hall’s facilities.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said he was delighted MTC was getting closer to owning its own world-class performing space and rehearsal facilities. “The new Theatre will put MTC on a sound financial footing where it can build on its impressive national and international reputation.”
Mr Lenders said project was part of the biggest infrastructure spend in Victoria’s history.