The Athenauem is the oldest public institution in Victoria, it was founded in 1839. In its early days it housed a small museum and art gallery, which closed in 1971. It is now a venue for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and since 2006 has hosted the Last Laugh Comedy Club, presenting comedy acts. 188 Collins Street, Melbourne (03 9650 6668).
Experimental performance space. Corner St Kilda Road and Southgate. (03 9281 8000).
Chapel Off Chapel
Chapel Off Chapel is Melbourne’s trendiest art and entertainment precinct. The Chapel is the converted former In dependant Church of Prahran that seats 240 and has featured a long list of local and international famous performers. The Chapel Loft is a smaller space that hosts music and theatre performances. The Chapel Galleries displays exhibitions of visual arts from community groups and local artists. 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahan (03 8290 7000).
Australian contemporary dance company performance space. 111 Sturt Hill Street (03 9645 5188)
This Theatre was built in 1928 with a Spanish themed interior. It has a Florentine style exterior with wrought iron balconies. It is not only comedy acts that appear here, musicals, plays, operettas and dance recitals are also often on the bill. It seats 1000 people. 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne (03 9299 4950).
Home of the Malthouse Theatre company. 111 Sturt Street, (03 9685 5111)
The Forum is one of Australia’s best live act venues. It showcases local and international talents, including rock bands and stand up comedians. There are two venues in its complex, a large auditorium that is used as a concert or cabaret venue and a smaller venue with theatre seating. Corner Russell and Flinders Streets, Melbourne (03 9299 9700)
A main venue for classical museums. Corner of St Kilda Road and Southgate (03 9281 8000).
Her Majesty’s Theatre
The beautifully restored and heritage listed Her Majesty Theatre has been entertaining and impressing audiences for over 120 years. The home to the world’s most impressive musical spectaculars the list of past shows is proof of how well known and well loved this theatre is. With doors opening in the late 1800s this theatre has seen the development of arts from the simple to the spectacular and is constantly reinventing itself along with the art forms it houses.
Her Majesty’s Theatre has been host to Mamma Mia, Miss Saigon, Cabaret, Spamalot and Billy Elliot, just to name a few. In 2000, Her Majesty’s Theatre’s owner Mike Walsh carefully saw that the theatre was restored, renovated and improved ensuring to highlight the theatre’s beautiful historical adornments and class.
This building is not only historical and spectacular but is a truly dynamic and modern theatre venue which can host musicals, plays, operas, dance showcases and comedy nights with ease. With a capacity of 1700 seats, large shows can be played out to adoring fans every night of the week and even with a capacity like this, somehow the theatre is still renowned for its intimacy.
After opening in 1886, in Old Melbourne, the theatre has gone from strength to strength, always operating in the heart of Melbourne Arts right from its conception. His Majesty’s Theatre, known fondly by the locals as ‘The Maj’ has not only earned its heritage listing but through the constant commitment to entertainment, the theatre has also earned the status of a true Australian Arts Icon.
Address: 219 Exhibition St, Melbourne
Phone: 03 8643 3300
La Mama Theatre
Birthplace of contemporary Australian theatre. 205 Faraday Street, Carlton (03 9347 6948).
Contemporary Australian theatre. 113 Sturt Street, Southbank (03 9685 5111)
Melbourne Arts Centre
A major arts centre on the Southbank which has within the State Theatre, Playhouse, Fairfax Studio and George Adams Gallery. 100 St Kilda Road (03 9281 8000)
An old Meat Market now used for performances and exhibitions. 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne, (03 9322 3720).
The temporary home for some of the worlds most famous, successful and loved stage productions, The Princess Theatre has been called; quite rightly, one of Australia’s most popular. Housing Les Miserables, Cats, Mamma Mia and The Phantom of the Opera, there is truly no world class show that the Princess Theatre hasn’t had a hand in.
The Princess Theatre was built in its current position on Spring Street in 1886, and has been well loved throughout its long and established life. It is regarded by many as Melbourne’s most stunning landmark and is undeniably one of the cities most famous icons.
Famous not only for its beauty, history and regency, the Princess Theatre is infamous for another, very special reason. The theatre is rumoured to be the home of ‘Frederici’ the friendly ghost. On March 3rd, 1888, after a performance of the Opera, Faust, Frederici suffered a massive heart attack and died at the theatre.
It is tradition now that every opening night for every show held in the Princess Theatre a seat is left empty for Frederici in the Dress Circle. It is said to be especially lucky for the show if there is a sighting of this friendly ghost during the opening night show. Frederici might be a rumour, or he might be real, many of the staff of the Princess Theatre swears to have had more than a few encounters with this friendly spirit.
For a night of theatre in amongst history and friendly spirits, The Princess Theatre offers a wealth of entertainment, enjoyment and hospitality to each and every patron that steps through its glamorous doors.
Address: 163 Spring Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9299 9823
Regent Theatre Melbourne
First opened in March of 1929, The Regent Theatre was the flagship Melbourne Theatre for the Regent Franchise (which was later sold to the now famous Australian cinema Hoyts). Only second to the State Theatre in size, The Regent theatre had style and glamour that was unheard of in the city at that time.
Even now, in contemporary times The Regent theatre has held onto its roots and is now undeniably one of the city’s most stunning theatres and the home of the internationally renowned Melbourne International Film festival.
With a diverse history The Regent theatre has seen fires and fear of closure and has been adapted and readapted. But none of this had dampened this beautiful structures spirits.
In 1974, regardless of public outcry the Lord Mayor demanded that the building be demolished claiming it was not worthy of preservation.
The people of Melbourne signed a petition to try to save the theatre and finally 1977 the Victorian Premier stepped in and prevented its demise by declaring it a public landmark and saving the beautiful theatre that so many patrons love today. The Regent theatre is now recognised by the National trust and protected as a historical city landmark.
The Regent Theatre is now the last remaining theatre of the original Regent Picture franchise. This cinema is now used as a primary performing arts venue in a city with a love of the arts. Thousands of patrons pass through the doors of the Regent every week, enjoying the entertainment intertwined with the history that this beautiful theatre holds.
Address: 191 Collins Street
Phone: 03 9299 9860
Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Situated across the road from the main buildings in Kings Domain Gardens, this outdoor venue is popular in the Summer for musical performances including, rock, opera, classical, and pop. It is the premier venue annually for the Melbourne Carols by Candlelight. King’s Domain (03 9281 8000).
State Theatre Melbourne
For international dance and Broadway musicals to Grand Opera, the State Theatre offers a truly complete theatre experience. Built in 1929, it was one of the first theatres to open its doors in the city that is now the theatre destination of Australia.
Now seating 2,085 guests at any time it boasts one of the largest theatre stages in the world and hence is home to the biggest, most famous internationally touring productions. The State Theatre often houses performances by Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet and has all the extras to ensure a truly unique and impressive theatrical experience. Even the ceiling is theatrical, adorned with 75,000 tiny brass domes.
The State Theatre is a part of The Arts Centre which is located on the other side of the Yarra River in South bank. With international musicals and Broadway productions keeping the stage busy there isn’t a down time for this famous theatre. With doors open for over 80 years it���������������������������������������������������s hard to imagine the amount of stories that this one building holds. From traditional opera to contemporary ballet and show stopping musicals, if you are looking for a night of entertainment performed by both local and international talent, just check out the State Theatre program and see what theatrical masterpiece is being held tonight!
Address: Flinders Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9281 8450.
Victorian Arts Centre
The Arts Centre is the venue for many types of entertainment, these include rock concerts and classical music as well as plays and smaller events. There are many different parts of the Arts Centre, with Hamer Hall being the most important. This is where major international touring acts, like The Beach Boys or Weird Al Yankovic, will often play.
The State Theatre at the Arts Centre is the venue for musicals and dance shows. Playhouse has a capacity of just under nine hundred, it is used for a range of performances ranging from drama to comedy, The smaller Fairfax Studio hosts plays and also works by the Melbourne Theatre Company. Gallery 1 is an exhibition space.
You can explore the home of the arts in Melbourne with a guided tour where you have the opportunity to learn about the construction and design of this landmark building. On Sundays there is a very special tour which takes you backstage of the shows and lets you in on the secret workings of the theatres behind the scenes.
Sundays are the best day to visit the Victorian Arts Centre where there is a busy Sunday Market that lines the outside of the complex. With over 120 stalls on any given Sunday it’s a great place to pick up one-of-a-kind artistic keepsakes with everything on sale from ceramics to textiles and photography. Artists come from all around the state to show off their art and craft here and there is lots of great street food to keep you satisfied whilst you browse the stalls.
The Victorian Arts Centre also operates a great restaurant and cafe which serves tourists and patrons to the many shows that are on day and night. With beautiful views of Princess Park, the City and the Yarra River, the complex offers a place to be entertained and a place to relax. Many of the cities arts festivals use the centre as a hub for attracting patrons, and you will find many free street shows to delight and inspire you during these times of the year.
The Arts Centre can be found at 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. It is very close to the city centre, just a short walk across the bridge from Flinders Street Station. Many trams stop outside the Arts Centre. Administration phone number is (03) 9281 8000. Phone 1300 002 787 for group tickets information. The Arts Centre can be located very easily by visitors to Melbourne due to its tall spire, which lights up at night.