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History

Named after Judith Wright, the celebrated Australian poet and campaigner, the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts opened in October 2001 as Australia’s first truly integrated art space.

In earlier times the buildings which formed this now vibrant Fortitude Valley venue were tea and biscuit factories.

An initiative of the Queensland Government operated by Arts Queensland, with renovations designed by Cox Rainer Architects, the venue was developed to house facilities such as a 300-seat performance space, modern art gallery, a screening room, purpose-built administration and storage amenities, workshops, and music, dance and circus rehearsal spaces.

To bring the project to fruition, the Queensland Government formed a unique partnership with seven founding arts organisations - Elision Contemporary Music Ensemble, Expressions Dance Company, Circa: Rock 'n' Roll Circus Ensemble, Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts, the Institute of Modern Art, The Arterial Group and the Brisbane branch of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Judith Wright was the author of several collections of poetry and talked of her writing as a form of love that comes to you as an impulse. So it is for many tenants and artists creating arts experiences.

The Judith Wright Centre, or the Judy as it is affectionately known, thrives through the community of exceptional people that work and create within its walls.

It is a creative hub to a number of arts companies including the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts, Artour, AusDance Queensland, BlakDance, Circa, Creative Partnerships Australia, Expressions Dance Company, Flying Arts Alliance, Institute of Modern Art and Musica Viva, as well as Carbon Creative, Ultralinea, and Slingshot Bar Gallery.

Initially focussing largely on world music, the centre has evolved to include cutting-edge experiences including cabaret, circus, dance and contemporary performance.

Supporting Queensland artists is a key part of the history of the centre and the Judy continues to nurture the creative energies of Queensland artists and arts companies.

The Arts Ignite – Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts fund, part of the Queensland Arts Showcase Program, supports the creative development of new performance arts projects with investment up to $40,000 per recipient. Successful Arts Ignite – JWCoCA applicants are required to allocate up to $10,000 of their awarded funding to the services of a creative producer. The fund builds on the success of the former Fresh Ground program.

We look forward to welcoming you to the centre soon for an experience unlike anything else you’ll find in Brisbane.