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Refurbished Fremantle Hall reopens as live music and performing arts venue

Refurbished Fremantle Hall reopens as live music and performing arts venue
March 24, 2019

The Artillery Drill Hall in Fremantle has received a new lease of life and will reopen as a live music and performing arts venue, FREO.SOCIAL, after receiving much-needed improvements.

The redevelopment of the historic Artillery Drill Hall, once a convict garden and located in the centre of Fremantle  has been in planning since 2015, with construction commencing in November 2016.

The Artillery Drill Hall has undergone acoustic baffling and sound attenuation works to reduce noise emissions.

The works will improve the venue's capacity to host concerts by local and touring acts, and contribute to the thriving live music scene in Fremantle. Venue operator Sunset Events will place importance on staging local content, which will provide significant employment opportunities for Western Australian musicians.

Lead by Otherside Brewing Co’s parent company Triple-1-Three, the new multi-million dollar venue, Freo.Social. will include a microbrewery and 600-capacity entertainment hall, co-working spaces, artist studios, food trucks and catering and beer gardens.

Otherside Director and Co-Founder David Chitty, who comes from a music festival background, said that what started as a beer brewed for festivals has grown rapidly as a brand since its inception three years ago.

Chitty said Freo.Social was the second venue for the Group, which launched the Otherside Brewhouse in Myaree in mid 2018, although Freo.Social would be like nothing else seen before in WA.

Award-winning architecture firm Benson Studio has overseen the design. Studio Principal Michael Benson told the media that the design had been carefully curated to be inclusive of locals and tourists, artists and music lovers, while also responding to the needs of the historic building and the project’s unique business model.

“An interesting weave of heritage and contemporary hospitality design will help revitalise this corner of Fremantle while celebrating the cultural scene of Western Australia,” Benson said.

Organisers have announced that the venue’s Entertainment Hall will host “Freo Week” – a week dedicated entirely to celebrating the culture of Fremantle and surrounding suburbs, featuring performances from John Butler, The Waifs and San Cisco.

Upcoming shows include Australian favourites like Dan Sultan, Middle Kids and Hiatus Kyote, as well as the Revelations Perth International Film Festival.

Chitty said the diverse list of entertainment reflected the venue's ambitions: "We want to attract a broad cross-section of creative industries and entertainment lovers to the venue. 

“There is something for everyone and we’ll continue to attract and host all kinds of entertainment. We have no doubt that the high calibre of performers will be a big drawcard for lovers of culture, the arts and live performance.

“There really isn’t anything here like Freo.Social. In addition to the Entertainment Hall Freo.Social will also include an on-site brewery, brewing a range of exciting experimental brews onsite, as well as a range of exciting food options, dining spaces, beer gardens and a playground area for children.

“It will be a place for those that love to socialise, to drink good beer and eat good food, and of course for those that enjoy live music and performance. It really is something quite special and we are really looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming in the local community,” Chitty added.

The Artillery Drill Hall was built in 1896 for the volunteer guards who were responsible for civil defence, and was used as a training facility during WWII. In the past 30 years, it has played an important role as a live music hub. Once home to the Fly By Night Musicians Club, the venue played host to the who's who of local, national and international bands.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries contributed $250,000 to the National Trust towards the works to enhance its $1 million investment into the venue.

"I am delighted these works will re-activate the heritage-listed Artillery Drill Hall and return it to contemporary use as a world-class live music venue,” said Heritage and Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman.

"Live music makes our communities more vital and exciting places to live and I'm sure the Artillery Drill Hall will be no exception."

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15th March 2019 - Fremantle set to become a film-friendly city

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11th May 2018 - $6.5 million allocated for refurbishment of Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre

14th March 2018 - 450,000 people share experiences at 2018 Perth Festival

27th February 2018 - Perth Concert Hall to shine after light fittings overhaul

7th August 2017 - Fringe World report shows importance of Western Australia’s cultural industries

4th August 2017 - Construction to begin on Fremantle’s $270 million Kings Square civic and cultural precinct

23rd July 2017 - Fremantle’s West End to be permanently heritage listed

16th March 2012 - Go ahead for Fremantle’s Stan Reilly Centre redevelopment

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