A vision splendid – first glimpse of how Queensland Ballet’s new HQ will look

The redevelopment of Queensland Ballet’s historic Thomas Dixon Centre at West End has begun and InQueensland has a first glimpse of how the  revamped building and precinct will look.

Jun 03, 2020, updated Jun 04, 2020
Architectural visualisation company Doug and Wolf's rendering of the exterior of the redeveloped Thomas Dixon Centre at West End. (Image: Supplied, Doug and Wolf)

Architectural visualisation company Doug and Wolf's rendering of the exterior of the redeveloped Thomas Dixon Centre at West End. (Image: Supplied, Doug and Wolf)

An artist’s rendering of architecture firm Conrad Gargett’s vision for the Thomas Dixon Centre redevelopment has been undertaken by Doug and Wolf, with Hansen Yuncken starting the main works building program last month.

A public consultation will be held on Friday to explain the work required to complete the redevelopment of the historic site.

Queensland Ballet’s artistic director, Li Cunxin AO, said the appointment of a successful contractor brought Queensland Ballet’s vision another step closer to reality.

“The commitment to the ballet from the Queensland Government, the Federal Government and our generous donors – in particular the Ian Potter Foundation – will transform the dance arts in this state,” Li said.

The heritage-listed site will be transformed into a new cultural hub, boasting six studios, and a 357-seat studio theatre, cafe, bunker bar, rooftop terrace, wellness suite and gardens. The original brickwork will be restored, and the World War II air-raid shelters will be transformed into an industrial-chic bar.

The stage will be redesigned to match the size of QPAC’s Lyric Theatre, allowing Queensland Ballet to rehearse full productions.

Hansen Yuncken has helped construct several major cultural projects around Australia, including the Sydney Coliseum theatre, Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), as well as Queensland University of Technology’s new Education Precinct building at the Kelvin Grove campus.

“This building will be here when I and my sons have long passed, as a monument of pluck and indomitable perseverance,” Thomas Dixon said more than 100 years ago of the building that once housed his boot and shoe-manufacturing factory.

It has proved to be a prophetic statement, with Conrad Gargett currently preparing an interpretation plan to display elements of Dixon’s story, boot-making, early industry and the significance of the place in the context of West End.

Li said that Queensland Ballet was “beyond excited” by the progress of the redevelopment.

“We’ve been working on this dream for so many years, so this will be such an incredible moment in the history of our company,” he told InQueensland.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to move in in our 60th anniversary year, but next May we hope we’ll be able to celebrate this amazing milestone moment.

“To have a theatre attached to it is not only going to create such magical experiences for  Queensland Ballet, but also for the performing arts sector in general.”

Due to current social distancing requirements, Friday’s public consultation meeting will take place online, with anyone wishing to attend asked to RSVP to [email protected]  by Thursday at 5:00pm. Attendees will be given an online conference link and password.

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