Dramatic GPAC upgrade promises creative gains

Arts and Culture Pillar

Geelong Performing Arts Centre’s $38.5 million redevelopment is well underway, temporarily blocking access from Ryrie Street but promising state-of-the-art amenities and significant creative gains. 

The major project, funded by the Victorian Government with additional philanthropic support, will transform a large section of the centre, creating a striking new entrance and dance, rehearsal and creative studios, foyers and a bar.

Advocated by G21 as part of its Geelong Cultural Precinct Priority Project, the upgrading will aim to enable GPAC to build its profile as a creative hub and attract a greater diversity of high quality international and Australian productions.

It will also magnify opportunities for many local artists, schools and community groups.

With work now underway, GPAC's Ryrie Street entrance is closed and patrons need to allow extra time for parking and arrival via the Little Malop Street entrance.

A feature of the redevelopment will be addition of a major public artwork on the building’s exterior.

Sixty-four acclaimed and emerging artists responded to a call for submissions by Creative Victoria and each has been reviewed in areas including concept appeal, feasibility and durability.

Due to the volume and quality of applicants an intended short-list of three was extended to five, with additional funding support from the City of Greater Geelong.

Each of the five is now refining initial concepts in preparation for making final submissions.

Announcement of the successful artist and work will be made during January 2018.

GPAC’s Ryrie St redevelopment follows major overhaul of its 750-seat Playhouse “heart” in 2010.

Melbourne-based international architecture studio Hassell has designed the Ryrie Street upgrade and award-winning Kane Constructions has commenced building work.  

Sources: Geelong Performing Arts Centre and Development Victoria updates.