Queensland Ballet’s Thomas Dixon Centre is officially under redevelopment and expansion, with the first sod turned at a ceremony on 13 August 2019. The redevelopment will see more dance studios and dressing rooms built, with the addition of a fully equipped gym and wellness studio.
With Conrad Gargett in charge of design, various breakout spaces, bars and function areas will be added to the space. The project is set for completion just in time for Queensland Ballet’s 60 birthday celebration in December 2020.
Conrad Gargett describes the design as “utilitarian in language,” with a double-height glazed atrium extension attaching to the existing centre. Plans also include an amphitheatre-shaped performance venue within the existing building and an elevated walkway to connect the old and new. An open-air terrace will occupy the rooftop and a Bunker Bar will replace the World War 11-era air raid shelters.
Queensland Ballet artistic director Li Cunxin said the transformation is “invaluable to the company.” The project will allow further collaboration with small to medium arts organisation and improve the wellbeing of dancers. Together with the new academy building at Kelvin Grove, it will expand Queensland Ballet’s reach and continue current growth and sustainability. “The centre will set the bar for Queensland’s world-class dancers, who will have a 400-seat theatre to amaze audiences in,” said Minister Mick de Brenni. Designed by Irish-Australian architect Richard Gailey in 1908, the space was bought by the Queensland Government and refurbished it as a dance centre in 1991.
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