The Victorian Arts Centre is in the Southgate precinct of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Located by the Yarra River and St. Kilda Road, the main thoroughfare of the city, the site befits its purpose, for it is at the heart of Melbourne, Australia's art capital. The city's status as a metropolis of art and culture is confirmed by the Victorian Arts Centre.
A 115m high lattice-work spire made of aluminum and steel, a feast of fantastic effect when illuminated at night, is an imposing and towering landmark of the Victorian Arts Centre. Designed by architect Roy Grounds, the Arts Centre is a complex of theatres and concert halls. The complex's master plan including the National Gallery of Victoria was approved in 1960. Construction of the centre began in 1973 after some delays. The complex opened in stages. Hamer Hall opened in 1982 and the theatres building opened in 1984.
At the Victorian Arts Centre, art and culture come alive hand in hand. The Victorian Arts Centre is Victoria's complex for the performing arts. Inside the Centre is not just one, not two, but four separate theatres that have all played host to some of Australia's most popular shows. The complex comprises the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Concert Hall and the Theatres complex, which includes the State Theatre, Playhouse and George Fairfax Studio. Among the companies that perform opera in the State Theatre are Opera Australia and Melbourne City Opera.
At the Victorian Arts Centre, art and culture abound. Visitors can even spend a whole day without watching a featured performance and still feel the art all around. The Centre offersguided tours on all artistic matters, from Front-of-House tour to the Backstage Tour, visitors get to see behind-the-scene places that only cast and crew normally get to see. A highlight of the tour and a treat for aspiring actors is walking out on stage. The Arts Centre has one of the ten largest stage areas in the world.A visit to the 'Be a Star' room is very entertaining as visitors enter a dressing room set up for stars on their opening night. It's a great treat for children on their birthdays as they can enjoy trying on the costumes and props after the tour.
Victorian Arts Centre is where both art and culture are both contained and set free. Melbourne Concert Hall, now known as Hamer Hall, is Australia's largest stage with a seating for 2700 and is used for symphony concerts. The State Theatre (which seats 2085) is used for opera performances. In the future, Victorian Opera, created November of 2005, is anticipated to also make an appearance. The Centre is unusual with its theatres and concert halls built underground.
The complex's landmark attraction is its massive steel spire and its wrap-around base. The original spire as designed by Roy Grounds was 115 metres high. In the middle of the 1990s, signs of wear and tear were observed on the original structure. The Arts Centre Trust decided to replace the spire. The new one was completed in 1996, and it reaches even higher to 162 meters. The new structure though is still based on Roy Grounds' original design. The spire comes full to life with fantastic lights of about 6,600 metres of optic fibre tubing, 150 metres of neon tubing on the mast and 14,000 incandescent lamps on the skirt of the spire. The spire's metal webbing draws inspiration and influence from the Eiffel Tower and the billowing of a ballerina's tutu.
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