Setting the stage

The Hedberg, a creative industries and performing arts project, will be a contemporary landmark, co-located with and enhancing Hobart’s beloved Theatre Royal.

It is one of Tasmania’s most ambitious arts projects – a $96 million creative industries and performing arts development.

Once complete, it will encompass the Theatre Royal, the University Conservatorium of Music and the Creative Exchange Institute (CxI), a new research institute with a focus on performance, design and creativity.

The project is being realized as part of, and will further contribute to, our state’s cultural and artistic resurgence.

The design will incorporate cutting-edge technologies and inviting public spaces to enhance Tasmania’s position as a leader in the creative, performing and digital arts.

The precinct aspires to be a destination that delivers a vibrant and exciting place for a range of audiences - the general public, tourists, researchers, educators, students and audiences.

Once completed, the facility will be a fantastic new addition to the Hobart CBD, complementing other attractions in the area.

The partners

The partners collaborating in this proposal are the Tasmanian State Government, the Theatre Royal Hobart, Liminal Studio, WOHA Architects, Arup, and the University of Tasmania.

What will be housed at The Hedberg?

  • The Hedberg will be a contemporary landmark building, designed to be promoted as an important international centre for the creative industries.
  • The precinct will be a destination that delivers a vibrant and exciting place for a range of audiences - the general public, tourists, researchers, educators, students and audiences.
  • The building will deliver a performing arts venue with a new Conservatorium of Music whilst also fostering interdisciplinary research and education facilitating local and global exchange.
  • The Hedberg will incorporate interdisciplinary, flexible and high-tech laboratory spaces to support visual and performing arts, classical and contemporary music, film, architecture and hybrid design practices.
  • It will be equipped with state-of the-art acoustic, visualisation and computing technologies, as well as flexible laboratories, practice rooms, rehearsal and performance spaces, a Creative Technology Studio, Recital Hall and Studio Theatre space.
  • Co-located with the Theatre Royal – the oldest operating theatre in Australia – will enhance sustainability through sharing performance spaces, as well as front and back-of-house elements and technology, common to both the University and Theatre, demonstrating best practice in adaptive reuse and sustainable development.

Design and construction

  • Tasmanian firm Liminal Architecture will partner with internationally-renowned Singaporean architects WOHA and Arup Acoustics and Theatre, to design the world-class performing and creative industries facilities required for this project. This partnership will give the project national and global exposure, while also strengthening University’s ties with our Asia-Pacific neighbours.
  • Liminal Architecture has developed a revered national reputation for not only its community engaging, place-making designs, but also for the vital role it has played in contributing to and elevating Tasmania’s cultural landscape.
  • Liminal has brought together a world-leading team, experienced in performing arts and education, to design and deliver a state-of-the-art, landmark facility that will further enhance Tasmania’s reputation as a leading cultural hub.
  • Archaeological work is being done in conjunction with the Tasmanian Heritage Council and will include the partial demolition of Hedberg Garage. Results from the archaeological investigation will inform aspects of the design.

Design Visual

Live Construction Camera

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What does it mean for the Theatre Royal?

  • The purpose of this development is to both preserve and enhance the building’s existing heritage value, while providing a modern facility that has room for growth.
  • Visitors to the Theatre Royal will be offered an exciting range of performing arts experiences, improved access and facilities and the opportunity to enjoy a new, vibrant cultural destination.
  • The new building will be connected to the Theatre Royal by a glass feature that clearly separates the modern structure from the theatre, while also improving access. Its six levels will include a series of balconies and tiers that set the building back from the theatre and surrounding streets.
  • There will be significant upgrades to the Theatre Royal’s patron facilities and backstage area, improving the non-heritage structures that were built after the fire that nearly destroyed the theatre in 1984. These upgrades will include:
    • a new public entrance providing access for people with a disability into the theatre’s multiple levels, in addition to the existing historical entrance, which will not be changing
    • a new multi-level foyer space adjoining the Theatre Royal, providing access to the dress circle and gallery, including expanded bars and new public toilet facilities on every level
    • the ageing Backspace Theatre will be replaced by a modern built for purpose Studio Theatre facility.
    • a new ticketing and cloakroom area
    • improved undercover loading dock, lift, storage and backstage areas, creating a suite of modern, comfortable dressing rooms and facilities to replace the current non-heritage layout
    • removal of the non-heritage fire escape stairway currently bolted to the Theatre Royal’s southern side and new fire escapes that will improve safety standards
    • removal of the modern bars and ticketing booth from the Theatre Royal foyers, returning these rooms to their heritage state, with more room for access to the modern facilities.

Impact

Project value: $96 million.

Employment:
About 280 at peak of construction. Ongoing: about 60.

Steps are being taken to ensure that any disruptions to traffic, local residents, businesses and pedestrians are kept to a minimum.

All site works will comply with Hobart City Council’s requirements; by operating between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. Scheduling will also ensure that construction does not interfere with performance times at the Theatre Royal.

Traffic should remain largely unaffected; however Sun Street, between Collins and Sackville Streets, will experience minor delays as trucks access the site. Truck movements will be kept to a minimum.

Dust will be minimised with suppression techniques, including the wetting and covering of materials and vehicle loads.

For any questions or concerns contact:

University of Tasmania Project Manager, Terry Lockwood on 03 6324 3641