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Construction commences on QPAC’s new 1500 capacity state-of-the-art theatre

Construction commences on QPAC’s new 1500 capacity state-of-the-art theatre
August 12, 2021

Construction of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s new 1500-capacity state-of-the-art theatre at Brisbane’s Playhouse Green site has begun. The $175 million theatre will be transformational, creating the largest performing arts centre in Australia, with five outstanding venues, and when fully operational has the potential to welcome an additional 300,000 visitors per year.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said the progress onsite heralded great progress for the arts industry in cementing its place as an integral part of the community.

Kotzas noted “as much as this new theatre will be a remarkable architectural addition to Brisbane, of even more importance is what it represents to the community in which it sits and its reach beyond.

“We’ve seen, particularly over the last year, how much the arts contributes to individual and collective wellbeing, how it helps tell stories to heal and educate, how it brings us together.

“The addition of this new performing arts venue will allow us to deliver more arts experiences to more people in-theatre and to also extend our reach and engagement to those regionally, nationally and even internationally who may not be able to visit us in person. 

“As we take these significant steps in building the theatre, exciting steps like construction of the orchestra pit, it’s gratifying to see decades of planning start to come to fruition.”

In May 2018, the Queensland Government announced it would invest in the delivery of a new theatre on the Playhouse Green site co-located with and operated by QPAC.

In May 2019, the Queensland Government announced Blight Rayner + Snøhetta as the successful Principal Consultant design team for the new theatre at QPAC. Drawing inspiration from the Brisbane River as an important meeting place for telling stories, the concept design respects the heritage listed Queensland Cultural Centre while creating a new place with its own identity.

Lendlease, as Managing Contractor for the project, began early preparatory work in early March 2020 for the new theatre at the Playhouse Green site. This included installation of vibration monitoring and service relocation works.

In April 2020, work began to support the integration of a new theatre into the existing QPAC structure to enable a seamless connection.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today inspected construction at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, as the new theatre’s substructure and first floors start to take shape.

More than $73 million in contracts have been awarded to local industries, utilising local consultancies, sub-contractors and Queensland products to build the new theatre wherever possible.

Lendlease has completed external demolition and bulk excavation works and successfully installed the two cranes on site.

Each are capable of lifting 12 tonnes and will support the next phase of delivery and install the large trusses for the Auditorium roof.

Other major construction activities include large concrete pours to lay the building’s foundations and connect the new facility with the existing QPAC building.

The site team has also completed the basement and studio slabs. Additional pours are continuing to finalise the construction of the orchestra pit and studio walls.

Queensland Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said the arts were key to Queensland’s economic recovery, each year contributing $8.5 billion into the state’s economy and supporting more than 92,000 Queensland jobs.

Lendlease Building Queensland general manager Brad Protheroe said when complete the new venue would set a benchmark for construction innovation in Queensland adding “Leveraging both Lendlease’s vast experience in advanced construction techniques and the incredible expertise of the local South East Queensland industry, the team is working to deliver this game changing project for the state.

“One such technique will be the use of the tower cranes onsite to lift the purpose built curved glass façade panels into place, some of which will be the size equivalent to length and width of a 16-seater shuttlebus.

“To date, 100% of the workers inducted to site have been Queensland locals which is important for the local economy and the local construction industry, both now and into the future as we train the next generation of Queensland builders.”

The Department of Energy and Public Works’ Major Projects team is managing the delivery of the theatre, on behalf of QPAC and Arts Queensland, and is managing the contract with Lendlease.

For more information on the project visit www.arts.qld.gov.au/npav and www.arts.qld.gov.au/new-performing-arts-venue

Image: Exterior Concept Design for new QPAC theatre.

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