Page 3291 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022
responsible for a large number of the initiatives and projects in the Arts, Culture and Creative Policy action plan over the next four years. It is not surprising, then, that the ongoing and expanded funding to the Cultural Facilities Corporation and its future in this budget is an integral element of the development of arts and culture in Canberra.
Among those actions include leading collaborative work across both national and local arts organisations for programming, promotion and planning. It includes establishing a new gallery in the Canberra Museum and Gallery, focusing on digital art and experience, as a further development for new audiences. It includes the programming and exhibiting of works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, such as the recent Dean Cross exhibition and the work by Canberra playwright Dylan Van Den Berg Whitefella Yella Tree. It includes the new ACT Historic Places arts prize, supporting new art works and encouraging community engagement at the iconic Lanyon Homestead, Mugga-Mugga Cottage and Calthorpes House.
In this year’s budget the ACT government is funding the design of what will be the most significant expansion and evolution of arts and cultural infrastructure in the ACT’s history. The design of the new Canberra Theatre will lead the way for fit-for-purpose, audience-focused theatre facilities, which will mean that our city can both host world class, large scale productions and develop creative opportunities for our own performing arts scene. We are investing $28.4 million in this work in this year’s budget. This major investment is core to realising our ambition to be the nation’s arts capital. The new facility is intended to see the existing theatre repurposed, with a flexible flat floor, and a new theatre constructed to accommodate approximately 2,000 people, while retaining the Playhouse Theatre, which was built in 1998. The new facility will also include additional and more flexible spaces for live music, experimental and local performances.
Canberra’s population today makes our city an attractive market for touring shows and artists. However, the capacity and technical constraints of the Canberra Theatre means that the economics of theatrical production and some of the larger touring shows have been limited by the current facilities and capacity of the Canberra Theatre Centre. This planned redevelopment will go far in addressing these two key issues.
While this preparation, design and consultation is occurring, the Canberra Theatre will need to remain a place of high-quality experience for our audiences. That is why we are investing nearly $2.4 million over the next two years for the enhancement of audience experience, including upgrades to the Courtyard Studio, which will be a particularly important venue during the evolution of the Canberra Theatre over coming years. We are also focused on improving the experiences of the public in Civic Square, with increased capability for public gatherings, performances, and activation of this important, central space. Members may have noticed work on Knowles Place in recent times.
In this budget we are also investing in the artistic and cultural heritage of our city, with $915,000 over four years for Lanyon Homestead. These upgrades will result in the former Nolan Gallery being converted into administration space for staff and volunteers; in turn, meaning that members of the public will have expanded and improved access to areas of the property currently required for staff. Work will also be undertaken to conserve or, as necessary, remove and replace trees nearing the end