About the Venue
The Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts opened in 2006 and was developed in partnership between Ballarat Grammar and the wider Ballarat community. The Centre is located at 1220 Howitt Street Wendouree, opposite the Howitt Street shopping precinct and adjoining Ballarat Grammar. Construction occurred 2004 – 2006, on the site of the former Wendouree councils’ Municipal Hall, which itself was built in 1959. The sale of the Hall to Ballarat Grammar was the result of Victoria’s council amalgamations in the 1990s. The Centre was officially opened on 10 August 2006, by the Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser.
Architects McIldowie & Brown Pty Ltd, won an award for their innovative work, adopting an ‘open round’ theatre style of the 18th and 19th centuries, providing for better sight lines and acoustics for the audience. The design was so unique for a modern theatre that architects from around the world visited for several years after the opening. The builder S.J. Weir Pty Ltd won the 2007 ‘Excellence in Construction’ award for the Centre.
The main auditorium seats 857 and the expansive stage area has the capacity to handle performances ranging from opera, pipe bands, and live theatre to orchestral and ensemble presentations. The Centre is host for a wide variety of community events including intimate live theatre, acoustic concerts, comedy, orchestral concerts, dance recitals, public lectures and seminars, accommodating many dance and theatre school gala performances, along with local school graduation ceremonies.
Ballarat Grammar’s Music and Drama students also use the Centre and the associated rehearsal rooms, composition laboratory and tutorial rooms. Sound and vocal studios adjoin the auditorium and service the requirements of the VCE Music Industry Skills course. Dance, Theatre Studies, backstage and technical skills, event management and studio techniques are other areas that are considerably enhanced for Ballarat Grammar students as they enjoy the use of this remarkable facility.