From the Vice-Chancellor: Majestic makeover a cultural boost

Adelaide’s cultural scene has been given a big boost thanks to an impressive $66 million makeover of Her Majesty’s Theatre. The project has created a large modern theatre that retains the character and spirit of this much loved and iconic venue.

Flinders University council member and Adelaide Festival Centre CEO, Douglas Gautier AM, hosted a small delegation from Flinders including myself to see this re-imagined space that will remain a critical part of South Australia’s cultural infrastructure for many years to come.

It was wonderful to see Douglas’s vision for this theatre realised and I am delighted that he is able to bring his passion and experience in the arts to Flinders through his role on our council.

Flinders University is a leader in the development of performing arts talents, from actors and playwrights to staging and production staff, and our graduates will benefit from access to this vastly improved space as they take their place in the arts sector.

There has been impressive attention to detail in preserving and restoring period features such as the Edwardian architraves, pressed metal ceilings and expansive curved staircases, complemented by modern aspects such as a new all-glass west wing and expanded rehearsal room.

A special touch was the effort made to retain the famous backstage ‘signature wall’ adorned by hundreds of visiting artists, which was deconstructed and reconstructed brick by brick. Of course, there’s still plenty of room for the stars of the future to make their mark too.

We have plans to hold our Investigator Lecture in this theatre later in the year, subject to the prevailing health advice, which will be the first time many members of the Flinders community visit this re-modelled space. Our keynote speaker will be internationally recognised world leader in climate dynamics and climate change science, Professor David Karoly to discuss Climate Change: Managing the unavoidable, avoiding the unmanageable.

This annual lecture is an important part of our public education program and contribution to the cultural life of South Australia, and I look forward to attending such a significant event at Her Majesty’s. More details about Professor Karoly’s 2020 Investigator Lecture will be coming soon.

Plans for the gala reopening of this magnificent, century old grande dame have been postponed due to COVID-19 until it is safe and practical to raise the curtain.  When the doors do open, I very much look forward to seeing our alumni up on the stage as working actors being supported by the production skills of other Flinders alum working on plays and productions in this exciting new space.

In the meantime, a virtual tour of the newly rejuvenated Adelaide icon is available to all. I’ve linked it below for those interested in a preview.







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