Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Arts Centre Melbourne - Theatres and Spaces Tour

We met our guide at the information desk and set off on our one hour tour of the theatres and spaces below the Arts Centre's landmark spire.
Our first stop was the plush raspberry interior of the State Theatre, current home of The Australian Ballet's Sleeping Beauty. The stage was beautifully framed with a set fit for a princess - no photos allowed. Arts Centre, Melbourne
With one of the largest stages in the world and seating for over 2,000, the stage sits five floors below ground. It is used for musicals, concerts, opera, and dance. 
I saw my first ever ballet performance here in 1995 - The Australian Ballet's production of The Competition.
Arts Centre, MelbourneThe  Amcor and State Theatre Lounges were refurbished in the 1990's. Memorabilia from the time was placed inside the resin walls and columns, including nuts and bolts, artists paint brushes, measuring tapes and film negatives showing images of the renovation. 464,000 marbles sit inside the transparent resin, giving the illusion of bubbles in water.
Arts Centre, Melbourne
Arts Centre, Melbourne

It is a beautiful space for a conference, though I'm not sure I could pay attention to what was being said, when there is so many incredible items to look at.
Arts Centre, Melbourne 
Even the carpet has an artistic touch, featuring the words 'Victoria Arts Centre', where the carpet meets the wall. The letters throw shadows that continue across the floor in the pattern of the carpet. 
Look closely. Can you see the words?
Arts Centre, Melbourne
We came out of the room, to the sounds of a piano playing in the Rehearsal Space next door. We ooh and aahed in whispers, as we imagined the pirouettes and pas de deux happening on the other side of those walls. 
Was it the Princess, woken by her Prince? We'll never know for sure...

We had a look inside the venues for dramatic productions, the large Playhouse Theatre and the more intimate Fairfax Studio. 
Back out in the Smorgon Family Plaza, an exhibition of costumes from previous performances of The Sleeping Beauty is on display near the box office. All of the levels have their own colour scheme and decor, from aubergine furnishings and gold leaf, to faux marble columns and indigenous art. The tour was informative and very interesting, with a lot of content packed into the one hour.
Arts Centre, Melbourne
The banner for Sleeping Beauty at the base of the spire had me thinking the Arts Centre looked like it too, had a tutu on.

Arts Centre, Melbourne
When:  Mon-Sat 11:00am
Why:arts, theatre
How Much: $20

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