Jessica Mauboy, Missy Higgins lead Geelong Arts Centre’s month-long Grand Opening Festival

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Jessica Mauboy, Missy Higgins lead Geelong Arts Centre’s month-long Grand Opening Festival

Credit: Emma Goodland
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The Geelong Arts Centre have finally announced the grand opening of the highly anticipated $140m Little Malop Street Redevelopment with a stellar 4-week Grand Opening Festival.

Transforming the beloved art institution into a must-visit cultural and dining precinct, the Geelong Arts Centre has announced the highly anticipated opening date for the Geelong Arts Centre’s $140m Little Malop Street Redevelopment, officially swinging open the shiny new doors on Saturday 19 August 2023.

Becoming the country’s biggest regional arts centre – Victoria’s newest and boldest cultural asset with state-of-the-art facilities and flexible performance spaces to host local, national and international performers – the opening is the result of four years of design and construction, marking a significant moment for the Geelong region.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.

To celebrate, the Geelong Arts Centre will host a huge four-week-long opening festival, kicking it all off with two opening night events (Saturday 19 August) featuring stellar headliners; celebrated multi-ARIA-Award winning R&B-pop artist, Jessica Mauboy, and an Australian comedy triple-header, featuring Dave Thornton, Dilruk Jayasinha and Lizzy Hoo. And to further entice the public, tickets are just $20 each.

Beyond the opening event, the epic opening festival lineup includes the likes of Missy Higgins, Opera Australia, Belvoir St Theatre, family fun with Windmill Theatre Company, a vibrant community open day, backstage tours, and so much more, with both free and ticketed events that celebrate stories, creativity and diversity.

Geelong Arts Centre to be transformed into Australia’s largest and most striking regional arts centre under $140M makeover

Grand Opening Festival Events

  • Jessica Mauboy – 7:30pm, Sat 19 August, The Play House
  • Dave Thornton, Dilruk Jayasinha & Lizzy Hoo – 8pm, Sat 19 August, The Story House
  • Missy Higgins – 7:30pm, Sun 27 August, The Story House
  • Community Open Day (free) – 10am-4pm, Sun 20 August, All Theatres and Front of House Spaces
  • Backstage Tours (free) – 10am-6:30pm, Tue 22 – Wed 23 August
  • ABC Melbourne’s The Friday Revue Live – 12:30pm, Friday 25 August, The Play House
  • Hiccup – 10am & 1pm, Sat 26 August, The Story House
  • The Barber of Seville, 7:30pm, Wed 30-Thur 31 August, The Play House
  • Ross Noble, 8pm, Fri 1 September, The Play House
  • Miss Peony, Wed 6 – Sat 9 September, The Story House
  • Pseudo Echo – The Ultimate Tour 2023, 8pm, Fri 22 September, The Story House
  • Two of Us – The Songs of Lennon & McCartney – 8pm, Sat 23 September, The Story House

Delivering on a bold future for Geelong Arts Centre, the festival will provide the community’s first-ever look at brand-new, world-class performance venues, designed by Ian McDougall (ARM), the new centre sits at the heart of Geelong’s cultural precinct, affirming its status as a UNESCO City of Design.

The striking design brings together elements drawn from the history of Geelong, the strong and continuing Wadawurrung connections to Country and First Nations culture generally, and the traditions of circus and theatre.

Entertainment lovers will be dazzled by The Story House; a  multi-format 550-seat theatre expanding to 850 in ‘live gig’  mode and The Open House; a 250-seat contemporary  hybrid venue featuring a giant door connecting the space to  Little Malop Street Plaza, as well as dynamic and colourful foyer and bar facilities alongside a range of event spaces,  including alfresco dining on Little Malop Street.  

“This milestone in Geelong’s cultural history will see Geelong  Arts Centre drive national and  international arts conversation, and ensure that those from around our region, and the world,  can gather, connect, and share their passion for the arts and creativity right here in Geelong,” says Geelong Arts Centre CEO & Creative Director, Joel McGuinness. 

“This redevelopment has always been a project for the long-term benefit of Geelong – supporting local businesses, showcasing  the city’s creativity and creating jobs.

“In August there will be so much  to celebrate in Geelong, with the very best in arts and entertainment on show in the  biggest arts centre in regional Australia.” 

To top it all off Geelong Arts Centre is also giving away the most adventurous ticket in town as part of the Geelong Arts Centre Golden Ticket giveaway, valued at more than $4,000!

Tickets to opening events go on sale Monday 22 May. Sign up to the Geelong Arts Centre e newsletter at to be among the first alerted when tickets go on sale. Head here for more info.