World-class design consortium to lead Canberra Theatre redevelopment

AAR-Canberra-Theatre-Centre-Early-Concept-DesignThe ACT Government have announced Architectus, Danish Architects Henning Larsen and international theatre designers ARUP as the Design Partner consortium chosen to deliver new designs for the Canberra Theatre Centre redevelopment.

“The calibre of interest we received from internationally significant consortia demonstrates the importance of this city shaping project. I look forward to seeing the designs take shape,” said ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr.

“The renewed and expanded venues will attract events and performances that currently by-pass Canberra because our current facilities are too small. Our city will be able to host the top tier productions we currently miss, including the contemporary music, comedy, circus, musicals, ballet and opera.”

“This investment will support our economy, particularly the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sectors,” said the Chief Minister.

These internationally recognised architecture firms demonstrated they had the best plan to deliver a theatre centre that integrates with the existing landscape and future vision for a thriving Canberra Civic and Cultural District.

The decision to appoint this Design Partner was also strengthened by the team who form the consortium, made up of local, national and international specialists in innovative theatre and architectural design.

The Design Partner will make the most of local insights by establishing a local office and partnering with Canberra’s industry leaders.

The team’s winning tender included early preliminary designs which depict a new theatre building with a bold and sophisticated façade treatment which references the formal modernist and brutalist landmarks of Canberra.

An expanded and reimagined Centre includes a new 2,000 seat Theatre, will be a destination for performance, ceremony and engagement across all performing art forms, cultures, and generations, reflecting 60,000 years of storytelling.

It will increase the Centre’s capacity for productions of scale to be created and presented in Canberra and enable the presentation of a diverse range of productions. Alongside curating works from across Australia and the rest of the world, our reimagined Centre will embrace and enhance Canberra’s performing arts industry.

“The redeveloped Canberra Theatre Centre is a city shaping project that will bring us closer to our vision for Canberra to be recognised as Australia’s arts capital,” said Minister for the Arts, Tara Cheyne.

“It has been great to see how the Design Partner has understood and shares our vision for a world-class venue with architectural excellence befitting its location as the heart of the planned Canberra Civic and Cultural District.”

“Our vision for the renewed Canberra Theatre Centre will support the growth of Canberra’s live performance sector by creating spaces for artists and arts workers to develop, rehearse and perform productions,” said Ms Cheyne.

The ACT Government would like to thank the three architect consortia who submitted a tender for the project in a very competitive process.

The quality of submissions, care and passion shown by each team to help us lead the design of a transformed Canberra Theatre Centre were outstanding.

The Design Partner will now commence the design process with insights from theatre users and other technical experts.

“Together with Henning Larsen and Arup, we’re honoured to be selected from the impressive line-up of international practices that were shortlisted,” said Architectus Principal and Sector Leader, Public, Dr Stephen Long.

“Our collective will play a key role in fuelling the creative spirit of Canberra by designing a world-class experience for the city’s thriving Canberra Civic and Cultural District.”

Stakeholders and the community will also have an opportunity to influence the project with consultation opportunities being planned for later this year.

Design, consultation and approval processes will continue into 2024 and will inform planning for the project’s construction phase.

For more information on the Canberra Theatre Redevelopment project, visit: For more information on the Canberra Theatre Centre’s program, visit: for details.

Image: Early Concept Design of the Canberra Theatre Centre Redevelopment project (supplied)