A four day mini arts festival is planned to celebrate the reopening of Melbourne's Hamer Hall following a two year $135.8 million refurbishment, Minister for Major Projects Dr Denis Napthine announced today.
"The re-opening party begins with two concerts featuring k.d. lang, Rachelle Durkin, Caroline O'Connor, Eddie Perfect, Archie Roach, Lior, orchestral musicians, and opera singers on Thursday 26 July and Friday 27 July," Dr Napthine said.
"Victorians will get their first chance to see and hear the improvements to this beloved building during this mini festival in July.
"The refurbished Hamer Hall features improved acoustics, new seating and cutting edge staging systems and technology in the auditorium, new and expanded foyer areas; as well as exciting new connections to the city and the river bank.
"Although demand for tickets is expected to be high, all Victorians will have a chance to attend the historic reopening. Half of the available tickets for the concerts will be provided free through a public ballot while the other half will go on sale tomorrow."
"Anyone over the age of 18 will be able to register for two free tickets in the random ballot either online, by phone or in person at the box office from 9am Saturday 9 June. The ballot closes at 5pm Friday 22 June and the winners will be notified on 29 June.
"The refurbishment has made Hamer Hall even more accessible, providing a better experience for audiences, and ensuring that it can continue to present a wide range of top international and local performers.
"The 'new' Hall will help Victoria maintain its competitive advantage well into the future by providing a cultural precinct where all Victorians as well as interstate and international visitors can experience the very best arts and cultural activities.
"Just as it did when first built thirty years ago, Hamer Hall will further revitalise the Southbank area, bringing new audiences of all ages and offering expanded facilities including three new restaurants.
"The removal of the old and dark undercroft and replacement with a new and welcoming river front entry and foyer will better integrate the Arts Centre with the Yarra River walkway.
Dr Napthine said Victorians who are unable to attend the concerts can still see the refurbished venue during an 'open-house' on the Saturday and Sunday following the grand re-opening.
This special opening weekend will include a host of free celebrations around the precinct such as:
- a dramatic 15-metre high art installation on the Arts Centre lawn;
- roving performers;
- guided tours of the buildings;
- specially curated exhibitions celebrating Kylie Minogue and Barry Humphries;
- live music; and
- a 200-strong dance-off by young, local dancers
"The redevelopment is expected to increase Arts Centre Melbourne patronage by an additional 600,000 visitors per year coming, drawn to the lively, creative ambience and attraction of the free exhibitions and venues.
"I invite all Victorians to come along and enjoy the revitalised Hamer Hall and celebrate Melbourne's love affair with the arts," Dr Napthine said.
Full details for the public ballot and tickets for the Re-opening Concerts can be found at www.artscentremelbourne.com.au or by contacting the Arts Centre by phone on 1300 182 183.