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Venues re-open under COVID-19 restrictions

With a lift in COVID-19 social restrictions under Stage three of Queensland’s Roadmap to Recovery restrictions, Queensland venues began reopening in July 2020. 

The Venue Pilot Progam invested nearly $200,000 in funding for six venues to reopen for local Queensland artists and audiences. Each venue adopted different programming, reflecting their respective locations, facilities and audiences:

  • Brisbane Powerhouse
  • Cairns Performing Arts Centre
  • Empire Theatre (Toowoomba)
  • HOTA (Gold Coast)
  • Tanks Arts Centre (Cairns)
  • Ipswich Civic Centre

Venues were selected to participate following  an expressions of interest call out by Stage Queensland, with submissions reviewed by an external industry panel. .

Read about some the exciting programming that resulted from the pilot:


Brisbane Powerhouse

Lights On at Brisbane Powerhouse was a curated series of bespoke shows from Brisbane-based artists marking the opening of the Brisbane Powerhouse following COVID-19 lockdown.

Performances featured new and exclusive works (many inspired by the lockdown) from Brisbane companies and creative artists. Artists and organisations involved included Circa, Briefs Factory, Queensland Ballet, QMusic and Queensland Symphony Orchestra with Tom Thum. 

The series was very popular with sell out shows and positive feedback.




Cairns Performing Arts Centre

The Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) started their pilot events with An Evening with David Hudson followed by Knocking Off The Rust: The Best of Cairns Comedy, Classical Inspirations by Orchid Quartet and the Best of Understory Film Festival.

Two of the four pilot performances were streamed with audiences as far away as the United Kingdom enjoying the performance




Empire Theatre (Toowoomba) 

The Empire Strikes Back is a weekly performance series aimed at reopening the Empire Theatre to limited audiences to safely restart the performing arts industry in the Toowoomba area.

The series started on 11 July with Project 62, supported by the local music act Beamish Brothers- a rising duo of multitalented siblings handcrafting a new flavour of intelligent alt-pop music.

Performances have also featured: Queensland chamber orchestra Camerata,  local pop and jazz group Cool Nights Big Band, Homegrown Independents Program Drama Almost, Maine and musical theatre original performance Love Sick.





HOTA (Gold Coast) 

HOTA on the Gold Coast launched their FIRESIDE program on the 10 July. Taking place over four weeks, the program featured home-grown talent, food and conversation.

Audiences were able to engage with classics as well as live music, cabaret and trivia. Acts featured included: Russell Morris, Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Club Briefs, Easy Rider | The Honey Sliders and Fireside Art Battle. 



Tanks Arts Centre (Cairns)

Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns featured an all-local music line-up including headline acts by Zennith Soundsystem, Jeremiah Johnson, a new album launch by Leanne Tennant and Greta Stanley.

Demand for the live concerts was high with a number selling out. Performances were streamed for audience members who were not able to attend in person.



Ipswich Civic Centre

Ipswich Civic Centre kicked off their 8 show series, 2020 Take 2, on Saturday 18 July with Irish band,  Sásta 

The series ran until mid September and featured a diverse program of live entertainment, music, dance, drama and comedy including Kooralbyn, Psychedelic Mushrooms, Avalon Swing, Anthony Lamond Productions, Steph Tisdell and Dave Eastgate.