Certain raiser? Phil Brown tells why QPAC’s new theatre won’t open until 2026

It’s unfortunate that the opening of QPAC’s highly anticipated new theatre has been delayed, but let’s look on the bright side – it’s still happening

May 28, 2024, updated May 28, 2024
QPAC's new theatre will be its fifth - here's an artist's impression of how it will look when it opens in late 2025.

QPAC's new theatre will be its fifth - here's an artist's impression of how it will look when it opens in late 2025.

There was a bit of angst recently when it was revealed that the planned new theatre for QPAC won’t be ready to open until early 2026.

We were expecting an opening later in 2024 but Lendlease, the company building the new performing arts temple, cited major subcontractor insolvencies, inclement weather conditions,  flooding, supply chain pressure and volatility as reasons for the delay.

These pressures have impacted all sorts of construction projects and are, unfortunately, to be expected in today’s world, so the breast beating over the delay was more political posturing than anything.

QPAC chief executive John Kotzas, who has championed the project, is reasonably relaxed about the delays, even if they are not ideal.

“We appreciate this latest update, which gives us clarity on the planning horizon for the new theatre, as it allows us to now move forward with our stakeholders to start planning programming for our fifth venue,” Kotzas says.

“We are already working hard to develop a remarkable opening celebration that will be announced closer to the time.”

Kotzas, though, won’t be at the helm when the new theatre opens as he has already announced he will be leaving QPAC in late 2024. But when it does open, Kotzas deserves the accolades for getting the $175 million project up, although the cost may be higher than that by the time the project is completed.

Getting any project this size up and running today is difficult. There are those in the community who don’t want any progress and who complain about everything.

Meanwhile, here’s the good news from our glass-half-full department – the theatre is being built and it will open! And that’s something to celebrate.

It takes will and consensus to get these big arts projects up and plaudits to the state government for making it happen.

Our city’s Cultural Centre is Australia’s finest and that’s not mere parochialism. The late Barry Humphries, who graced QPAC stages on many occasions, declared this when I interviewed him a few years ago.

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At South Brisbane we have all our major cultural venues together – GOMA, The State Library of Queensland, The Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery, QPAC, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and its studio, The Conservatorium Theatre, The South Bank Piazza.

This has all been developed under both sides of politics. Consider the fact that QPAC and the Queensland Art Gallery were both built by a conservative government.

Bipartisan support of the arts is ongoing and encouraging and we have had some excellent arts ministers on both sides. We can be confident of continuing support for the arts, regardless of which party is in power. We’re counting on it.

Meanwhile, the new 1500-seat capacity (and as-yet-unnamed) theatre, designed by Blight Rayney + Snohetta, is going to be amazing.

It will have a rippled glass façade, transparent foyer spaces, a single-balcony auditorium delivering enhanced audience sight lines, provision for studio spaces under the auditorium and a significant First Nations artwork in the external entry forecourt by acclaimed Queensland artist Brian Robinson.

Okay, it’s going to be late, but better late than never. And, sometimes, delayed gratification is the best kind.

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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