Santa Maria College Performing & Creative Arts Centre

Project Details

Law Architects

50 Separation St Northcote , VIC 3070 Australia

Law Architects

$6.1 million

George Theodoridis, Robert Hamer

Project Overview

The Benedictine Centre provides a fully equipped 400-seat theatre that quickly transforms into 3 acoustically distinct Drama, Dance and Lecture theatre spaces. Adjacent and below the theatre houses the industry of textiles, art and music, trades that support stagecraft and double as backstage areas - dressing, make-up and green rooms.

The Benedictine Performing & Creative Arts Centre goes beyond the initial brief of a 400 seat theatre - it 's about the Stagecraft that supports it and the community that sustains it. The result is a set of agile, reconfigurable spaces and facilities - drama, dance, music, textiles, art, food tech, gathering and administration - brought together from different points of the school to catalyse new permutations of learning. During the day these studios, in their various flexible incarnations, are a vibrant hub of activity, while at night, the centre hosts an arrange of performances from small to large, informal to formal.

The Theatre is based on the notion that a 'theatre is a shell, an ark, a porous carapace to define a space for the transient and intangible '. Yet this 'black box ' is cracked open at back stage, where usually the world of the performance is enclosed by a wall. The notion of 'backstage ' is subverted. An expansive corner window exposes the performance process to the street and community outside. The students are required to engage deeply with their intent in performance as the space demands them to engage with props and light in a much greater way than traditional internally focused theatres. Student engagement extends throughout the whole building by means of its invitational design and visual connectedness to the other crafts and learning opportunities.

The project has been an opportunity for renewal and declaration of presence and identity, but also re-establishing a dialogue with the local community. This Catholic girls ' school had demurred from engaging with its surrounds. It 's buildings faced inward. This new elevated building now makes a confident and welcoming statement, and delivers a strong vision for contemporary learning spaces throughout the College.

This page last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2015

2015 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility