Adelaide Festival Centre to receive $35 million upgrade

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South Australia’s iconic Adelaide Festival Centre is set to receive a $35 million make over.

The Malinauskas Government will follow in the footsteps of Labor leaders Gough Whitlam and Don Dunstan – who opened Adelaide Festival Centre in July 1973 – with this significant investment funded through the mid-year budget review.

Adelaide Festival Centre is Australia’s first major arts centre and this extensive upgrade is designed to improve both access to the centre as well as its fire and safety systems.

The SA Minister for Arts, Andrea Michaels, said she was delighted the Malinauskas Government is continuing the legacy of Whitlam and Dunstan with a $35 million investment “to upgrade this treasured asset to our state.”

Beginning in 2025, there will be significant upgrades to the Western Plaza, focused around the area between the Festival Theatre and Dunstan Playhouse.

Artist impression of the $35 million upgrade for the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Artist impression of the $35 million upgrade for the Adelaide Festival Centre.

As the main gateway in and out of the site to the north, the new design – which has been reviewed by the State Heritage Architect and received planning approval – allows for access to the Dunstan Playhouse and Space theatre from the Northern Promenade and Walk of Fame.

Lift access will soon be provided from the Northern Promenade directly up to the Plaza level, enabling patrons and visitors an easy way to enter Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre.

This will make it easier for families with strollers and mobility aid users with the new lift near the Dunstan Playhouse bridging the five-metre vertical drop between the Plaza and north-face level – a big improvement on the old switch-back ramps.

In addition, an extensive series of works will be carried out on the fire and safety systems, including smoke detection and occupant warning system upgrades, emergency lighting replacement and improvement and sprinkler-system upgrades.

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