The Arts Centre is Melbourne’s premier cultural hub, located on St Kilda Road by the Yarra River. Designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds in 1960 and constructed in 1973, the centre was finally fully opened in 1984.
The famous performing arts complex is one of Melbourne’s most recognisable landmarks, largely because of its massive steel spire and wrap-around base. The spire stretches 162 metres into the air, and is illuminated by around 6,600 meres of optic fibre tubing and 14,000 incandescent lamps.
The Arts Centre is comprised of a number of theatres and concert halls, including Hamer Hall, the State Theatre, the Playhouse and Fairfax Studio, as well as several dedicated gallery spaces.
Hamer Hall – formerly the Melbourne Concert Hall – is the largest venue in the centre. With a capacity of more than 2600 patrons, Hamer Hall is used primarily for orchestral and contemporary music performances.
Directly underneath the Arts Centre spire lies the State Theatre, which can hold almost 2100 people. Generally used for opera and theatre, the State Theatre feature one of the world’s largest stages. The Playhouse and Fairfax Studio – also housed below the spire – are smaller theatres most often used for more intimate plays and dance pieces.
Also managed by the Arts Centre is the nearby Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an outdoor arena situation in Kings Domain gardens. The music concert venue seats around 12,000 people on the lawn and 2,150 in reserved seating.
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