This week we celebrate World Theatres Day by celebrating the theatres included in the Victorian Heritage Register.

The Victorian Heritage Register includes various theatres, many of which are still in use today. The list is diverse, from the small La Mama Theatre Building in Carlton, to the grand buildings of Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne and Her Majesty’s Theatre Ballarat. The Register even features an outdoor theatre, with the Fairfield Park Amphitheatre Complex added in 2022.

One of the most loved theatres is the State Theatre located in Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building which sits between Hamer Hall and the National Gallery of Victoria. The building is well known for its impressive spire which lights up the night skies and locates the arts precinct within the city environs. The building is also home to the Playhouse Theatre and Fairfax Studio. The State Theatre has hosted a multitude of productions and been enjoyed by countless Victorians and visitors to the State.

The lush crimson and gold interior of the State Theatre was designed by theatre set designer John Truscott..
Source: Courtesy Arts Centre Melbourne

Designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds, the Theatres Building opened to the public in 1984. The exterior has raw finishes typical of the Modernist period. This contrasts dramatically with the lush and theatrical interiors. Featuring red plush finishes with brass and gold trims, the interiors were designed by theatre designer John Truscott. They are recognised for their aesthetic significance.

The distinctive spire of the Theatres Building heralds the location of Melbourne’s arts precinct across the city.
Source: Mark Gambino, courtesy Arts Centre Melbourne.

Now, nearly forty years after opening, a major upgrade is planned for the State Theatre. Heritage Victoria recently approved works  which include improved seating and  accessibility arrangements, technical upgrades for sound  and lighting and refurbishment of some of the features and finishes in the State Theatre and foyer spaces.

The works will ensure the theatre can continue to stage world class performances for the enjoyment of all Victorians.

Page last updated: 06/06/23