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Victorian Arts Centre

The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s largest performing arts centre and the home of world-class music, theatre, dance and opera. There are behind-the-scenes tours that take you backstage, through hidden passageways and technical contraptions, to the vast underground theatres and to see highlights from the immense Performing Arts Collection. You can trace the footsteps of famous performers, directors and choreographers and hear behind-the-scenes stories of major stage productions.

The Theatres and Exhibition Tour is a great way to explore Arts Centre Melbourne’s exhibitions and the iconic Theatres Building where they reside. The Arts Centre Melbourne extends five floors underground and you can explore the labyrinth beneath the famous spire, including the grand State Theatre. You’ll also enjoy an insider’s look at the current gallery exhibition and significant works of Australian art throughout the foyers. The tour includes coffee and cake at Café Vic.

The Performing Arts Collection is Australia’s largest and most important collection of performing arts history and traditions. Explore the major collecting areas of Circus, Dance, Opera, Music and Theatre, or browse the collection online by featured object type, including stage and costume designs, photography and programs.

Arts Centre Melbourne is home to a significant collection of paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photography and textiles. A rich and vibrant selection of paintings forms the basis of the Arts Centre’s Public Art Collection. Hamer Hall and the three performance venues in the Theatres Building are all home to paintings by some of Australia’s greatest post-war artists. The Public Art Collection celebrates performing arts through the work of some of Australia’s most significant visual artists. In particular the collection looks to the ways in which artists are inspired by music, dance, theatre or opera and the creativity of performance.

The Contemporary Collection comprises donations, commissions, purchases and other works of art acquired by the public art collection after the initial acquisition period of the early 1980s. There is a particular emphasis from late modernism to contemporary art. The Foundation Collection comprises works of art of cultural, social and historical significance to the Arts Centre Melbourne.

The Arts Centre’s impressive collection of sculpture came into being over several decades. A number of significant works were acquired through the Sir William Angliss Art Fund, created by Diana Gibson in memory of her grandfather. Through the Fund, Inge King was commissioned to complete Forward Surge, the vast sculpture located on the lawn between the Theatres Building and Hamer Hall. The work serves as a powerful link between the two buildings, and is successful both viewed in its entirety from the distance of St Kilda Road, and at a local human scale, when walked through and around.

From international rock legends AC/DC to Australia’s first superstar Dame Nellie Melba, Arts Centre Melbourne’s exhibition program shares the stories of our most acclaimed performers, while also celebrating the rich history of lesser-known aspects of the performing arts. Exhibitions are free and open to the public for extended hours when performances are on in the Theatres Building (under the spire).

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