Canberra Theatre redevelopment update

Released 10/11/2022 - Joint media release

The ACT Government’s ambition for Canberra to be recognised as Australia’s arts capital is another step closer. The Canberra Theatre Redevelopment project issued a request for expressions of interest in September to find a design and technical partner, with 21 submissions now received from national and international consortia.

A redeveloped Canberra Theatre Centre, including a new major theatre, is essential to the city’s performing arts future and a key driver for the tourism, economy, hospitality, and accommodation sectors.

Up to three consortia will be shortlisted to participate in the next phase of the procurement process which will run until the first quarter of 2023.

These short-listed groups will be required to include concept designs for the major redevelopment and expansion of the Canberra Theatre Centre, which encompasses:

  • a new 2,000 seat theatre building, including a bigger stage, for major performances
  • a major refurbishment of The Playhouse
  • adapting the existing Canberra Theatre to become a more flexible space able to host a broad range of performances, concerts and events
  • significantly expanding the Courtyard Studio to accommodate a wider range of performances and large-scale rehearsals

Tenderers will be asked to develop designs for world-class performance spaces that create outstanding audience experiences and deliver excellence in urban design and architecture.

Following an evaluation process, it is expected that the successful consortium will be appointed by mid-2023 to develop and deliver detailed Canberra Theatre Centre designs.

Design, public consultation and approval processes will take around two years. This work will also inform planning for the project’s construction phase.

Design concepts will be released for feedback throughout the design process, with opportunity for the community and stakeholders to provide feedback and input.

Those interested in staying informed on the Canberra Theatre Redevelopment project and on opportunities to have a say on this new world-class arts facility for Canberra can register their email address at

Quotes attributable to Chief Minister, Andrew Barr:

A modern theatre with greater capacity will enable larger and more varied blockbuster productions to come to Canberra and play to a regional population of approximately one million people.

This is a great opportunity to attract regional tourism and spending in Canberra instead of Sydney or Melbourne.

The renewed centre will also support the growth of the capital’s live performance industry by including spaces for artists and arts workers to develop and rehearse productions.

The project is part’s of the Government’s plans to build a better future for Canberra, delivering the infrastructure that will ensure the nation’s capital remains one of the most liveable cities over the coming decades.

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Arts, Tara Cheyne:

Canberrans’ appetite for arts and culture makes our city an attractive market for touring productions and artists.

A renewed Canberra Theatre Centre, including a new major theatre, will be the centrepiece of the revitalisation of the arts precinct around Civic Square to create a vibrant Canberra Civic and Culture District.

This exciting project will build on the Statement of Ambition for the Arts, helping to position Canberra as Australia’s arts capital.

It’s great to see such a significant level of interest from design teams who want to partner with the ACT Government on this city-shaping project.

- Statement ends -

Andrew Barr, MLA | Tara Cheyne, MLA | Media Releases

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