New Performing Arts Centre takes shape

August 18, 2023

Year 7 students Jack Stringer and George Muller with Music captain James Shaw, Drama captain James Halsall, Principal Steven O’Connor and Head of Drama Monique Allen in front of the College’s new Performing Arts Centre.

Works are progressing well on our new, $20 million Performing Arts Centre.

The state-of-the-art facility, which sits on the Wanliss Street side of the College adjacent to Kennedy House, will be one of Ballarat’s largest indoor auditoriums with a seating capacity of 835.

Designed by award-winning John Wardle Architects and being built by Ballarat’s own Nicholson Construction, the centre is expected to be completed in December and ready for use in 2024.

Principal Steven O’Connor said it was exciting to see the performing arts centre taking shape after years of planning.

He said the centre would ensure the College offered a balanced educational offering to its young men for many years to come.

“I am very proud of the many wonderful resources and programs already in place at St Pat’s. We enjoy a tremendous history and reputation, for example, for the strength of our sporting programs and the success we achieve through these,” he said.

“We are, however, committed to providing a holistic or well-rounded education to all of our students and the Performing Arts Centre will provide us with an incredible resource in the important area of the creative and performing arts to do so.”

The main seating in the Performing Arts Centre is retractable, which will allow the space to be used for other purposes, such as examinations, exhibitions, dinners and indoor physical activities.

The centre also includes a Black Box Theatre for drama, a percussion rehearsal room, a band room, a large ensemble room, several individual instrumental tuition teaching spaces and staff areas.

A striking feature of the centre is the external wall that, through engineering excellence, resembles a curtain hanging off the building.

Exterior landscaping by Papworth Design will carefully stitch the existing pathway and garden systems with new to create beautiful plaza and parkland settings.

An artist’s impression of the completed centre.

“It is really important, in my view, that all boys during their schooling have the opportunity to discover and pursue interests and talents in the arts,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I am incredibly excited about this new resource at SPC. It will provide our current students and many generations of students to come with a wonderful set of opportunities around the performing arts.”

College Head of Drama Monique Allen said the facility would transform teaching in this area and present new learning opportunities for students.

“We are so excited that we will have a dedicated performing arts centre specifically designed for students to hone their talents, collaborate with peers and stage public performances,” Ms Allen said.

“Students will have the ability to learn about theatre lighting and sound on a scale that was previously impossible, the number and standard of performance opportunities we can offer will hugely increase and our ability to teach the breadth of our subjects will widen.

“Our passionate performing arts students will now have a purpose-built home within the school to build on their sense of belonging. We can’t wait.”