A new arts hub being created on the site of the old George Cinemas in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda have announced a name change for the site. It will now be known as Alex Theatre St Kilda. The new venue will house two state-of-the-art theatres and a professional rehearsal space/black box theatre catering for the arts and entertainment community, while still having the capability to operate as a cinema.
Founder and Managing Director of the project, entrepreneur Aleksander Vass has invested $1 million dollars in the refurbishment, signifying one of the largest private investments in the arts in Victoria in recent years. Mr Vass said the name of the site had to change because the existing George Hotel, bars and restaurants all have their own strong identities and so it was time for the new arts hub to forge its own identity.
“The Alex Theatre name has ties with Victoria’s stage history, being one of the first successful venues established in the 1800s,” said Mr Vass. “Worldwide it’s the name of iconic venues, so I take it all as a good omen. It was also important to have St Kilda in the title because we are the newest part of an edgy, rich arts culture that keeps on giving to locals and visitors alike.”
“We have created a professional rehearsal space that could see multi-million dollar musicals rehearse during the day and then we’d screen movies in the same space at night. St Kilda residents have been blunt in telling me how much they want our theatres to succeed. Now we need to get the rest of Victoria to sit up and take notice.”
The Alex Theatre St Kilda will program live shows and cinema, and will work as an ‘attractor’ to the cafes, restaurants, hotels and bars in the area. General Manager Richard Fitzgerald says all is on track for the proposed opening next February.
“We are on-track for a February 1 opening, with some very exciting shows already booked in and our listing as a venue for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2015,” says Fitzgerald.
“We are thrilled to announce Ticketek as our ticketing partner. It’s a huge boost for our smaller and mid-range shows to have access to Australia’s biggest entertainment company. The Ticketek team has worked hard with us to create simple, straightforward and supportive approach which will be better for our audiences and producers.”
Set to open in February 2015, The Alex Theatre St Kilda is the first privately owned, commercial venue that can house live theatre with 500 seats in St Kilda and greater Melbourne. It will be an arts hub allowing for live performance, cinema, rehearsal and development space for live work and cinema, and is ideal for art installations, exhibitions, festivals and children’s programming, as well as promoting strong engagement with the local community.
Image: Richard Fitzgerald and Aleksander Vass – photo by Jim Lee