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Connected communities

Libby Anstis talks about the new Sunnybank Performing Arts Centre and its role within the local community…

It was 2.30pm on a Friday and the dance floor was full of sprightly couples in a lively ballroom scene.

I was at the Sunnybank Community and Sports Club to talk to them about a new venture for the club  - a performing arts centre.

The Sunnybank Community and Sports Club and Brisbane City Council are constructing a theatre adjacent to the existing club, to cater for the cultural needs of the Sunnybank area. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2016. The new venue will be opened in October and will be named SunPAC (Sunnybank Performing Arts Centre).

The club has strong links with its local community, with more than 40 000 members. In recent years, the club has evolved from a purely sport-focused organisation to one that provides broader community benefits. As well as offering a generous grants program for the local community, the club hosts classes, provides rehearsal space for the local Sino Sound Group and considers Feng Shui principles in its refurbishments.

Once opened, SunPAC will be available for community and commercial use. The facility will include a theatre room with seating capacity for approximately 300 people, stage, prop room, rehearsal room, storage facilities, box office and parking.

SunPAC’s  emphasis on cultural diversity has been realised from its inception. Board members of the new venture include:

  • Rona Zhang, former President of the Sunnybank Chamber of Commerce and Executive Committee Member of the Australia China Business Council
  • Anthony Lin, who sits on the Australia Ministerial Chinese Consultative Committee and the Brisbane Sister City Committee
  • representatives from Sunnybank Rugby Union Club (trading as Sunnybank Community and Sports Club)
  • representatives from the arts sector. 

An Executive Producer, Sarah Boon, has recently joined the organisation as its first employee.

Programming policies will embed cultural diversity and community engagement as core principles aiming to attract audiences from the Asian and non-Asian communities making up the unique demographic mix of the Sunnybank area. 

Executive Producer, Sarah Boon, says:

“SunPAC will be unashamedly local and we aim for it to be a hub of community and cultural life. As well as exploring the cultural diversity of our neighbourhood, we are also interested in the the connections between sports/physical activities and performance experiences. “

SunPAC will not only add valuable cultural infrastructure to our city, but celebrate and engage an inclusive Brisbane. 

For more information, check out the Sunnybank Performing Arts Centre Project page or contact Sarah Boon, Executive Producer by email on


Libby AnstisLibby Anstis has had more than 20 years experience in the performing arts industry with a variety of executive roles at Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Festival and Centenary of Federation Queensland.  Board positions include Brisbane Powerhouse, Camerata of St John’s, SunPAC, the Conservatorium Advisory Council and various funding assessment panels for state and federal governments.




Feature image courtesy Libby Anstis