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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 7 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2204..


a talk by professor of international law at the Australian National University Hilary Charlesworth.

I will not read the entire article, because time will not permit, but I want to close by saying that my congratulations go to all the members of NCJW in Canberra and I am very proud to be a member of that organisation. It contributes to the rich tapestry of cultural life that makes up this city.

Canberra Theatre Centre

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.09): Mr Speaker, I make mention tonight of the 40-year celebration of the Canberra Theatre Centre which has presented live theatre in Canberra for the past 40 years and indeed has been a celebrated performing arts centre in Australia. It was conceived by the National Capital Development Commission in 1958, and was designed by Yuncken Freeman Architects of Melbourne. Canberra Theatre Centre was to become the first purpose built performing arts complex open in Australia. It was a major achievement for a young, growing city.

Since it was envisaged as a theatre centre more than 40 years ago, over seven million people have seen more than 9,000 performances in Canberra Theatre Centre including countless world and Australian premieres. On 24 June 1965 a spectacular ceremony proclaimed the opening of the Canberra Theatre with great fanfare as "elegantly gowned women, with their escorts in tails"—I'm using a description from the Sunday Telegraph of 1965—"applauded a gala performance by the Australian Ballet."

The first performance conducted was Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, and it was the first time theatregoers in Australia could have a beer during interval, a major step forward for the theatre community. Indeed, workmen cleared construction rubble away only hours before the curtain was raised and the night was a dazzling success. This was reported more recently, reflecting on these events, in the Southside Chronicle on 10 May 2005, as they looked back on the history of the Canberra Theatre Centre.

The Canberra Theatre Centre was the first government-initiated performing arts centre to be completed in Australia. The centre, as you would probably all be aware, comprises the Canberra Theatre, with seating for 1,244 on one raked tier, the Playhouse with seating for 622 and the 90-seat Courtyard Studio for more intimate performances. Mr Speaker, as I believe you are aware, I had the opportunity to tour all these facilities, both back and front of house, some weeks ago.

As well as being hired by such well-respected companies as Bell Shakespeare Company and the Australian Ballet, the Canberra Theatre Centre provides the city with the finest arts and entertainment from around the country. It plays a vital role in presenting a broad range of first-class theatre to the local community. Since opening, the centre instantly became a focal point for national touring and has been used by most of Australia's leading theatrical producers and entrepreneurs including J.C. Williamson Theatres Limited, the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, the Australian Opera, the Melbourne Theatre Company, the State Theatre Company of South Australia, and the Sydney Dance Company.


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