Close to 50,000 Victorians flocked to Arts Centre Melbourne over the weekend to explore and enjoy the reopening of Hamer Hall after a two-year $135.8 million redevelopment.
The Premier of Victoria and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu said the four-day celebrations had been an extraordinary success. “We have enjoyed outstanding concerts and fantastic free activities right across Arts Centre Melbourne, and we are delighted that 50,000 Victorians have turned up in droves to see the magnificent makeover of our wonderful hall,” said Mr Baillieu.
“Everyone associated with this redevelopment project has been thrilled with the superb response and all are delighted that so many Victorians were able to join in the free celebrations, whether through the public ballot for the concerts or by bringing their friends and families to the open days,” said Mr Baillieu.
Arts Centre Melbourne Chief Executive Judith Isherwood said, “We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of Victorians over the past four days to be part of the Hamer Hall opening celebrations. And we are even more delighted that they love the changes as much as we do. Their response has made all the planning by so many people and all of the dust and rubble of the past two years well and truly worth it,” she said.
The four-day celebrations began with two “sold-out” Opening Concerts featuring Canadian songstress k.d. lang, New York-based soprano Rachelle Durkin, West End star Caroline O’Connor, local hero Eddie Perfect, elder statesmen Archie Roach and Jack Charles, IDJA Dance Theatre, indie singer Lior, and a thrilling Ride of the Valkyries with Jacqueline Dark, Antoinette Halloran, Deborah Humble, Rosamund Illing, Liane Keegan, Sian Pendry, Sally-Anne Russell and Nicole Youl.
Over the weekend, there were tours, colourful performers and musicians including the Snuff Puppets, Suitcase Royale, Born in a Taxi, The Shuffle Club and Vardos, over 200 young hip-hop dancers, exhibitions celebrating the careers of Kylie Minogue and Dame Edna Everage, an opportunity to Be Your Own Rockstar on stage at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, and an expanded two-day market. There were also two sold-out concerts by Tina Arena and highly popular performances of Nutcracker on Ice and The Marriage of Figaro.
The music continues at Australia’s premier concert hall on Tuesday with a screening of The Qatsi Trilogy performed live by Philip Glass and The Philip Glass Ensemble, the return of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Opera, Nitin Sawhney and much more.
Following a two-year $135.8 million redevelopment, Hamer Hall features a revitalised auditorium with improved acoustics, air conditioning, lighting, cutting-edge staging systems and technology and new seating to enable audiences to experience a superior live performance experience. Upgraded back of house facilities and new technical and staging features have improved the experience of performers and increase the range of performances that can be staged at Hamer Hall.