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Malthouse Theatre launches new outdoor stage and a star-studded program

Malthouse Outdoor Stage will be able to seat up to 312 guests and opens this January

Nicola Dowse
Written by
Nicola Dowse

Melbourne appears to be making up for a winter with no arts, by filling its summer with a red hot program of music, theatre and exhibitions. Malthouse Theatre is the latest organisation to commit to a cracker summer relaunch, announcing a brand spanking new outdoor stage and upcoming program of performances. 

Malthouse Outdoor Stage will be constructed at Malthouse's Southbank precinct, in the courtyard shared between itself, dance company Chunky Move, and gallery ACCA. The decision to move to outdoor performances allows for maximum audience numbers for culture-starved Melburnians as well as providing plenty of performance opportunities for local artists (keeping in mind the arts were the first industry to close in March, and the last to reopen now).

Malthouse co-CEO and executive producer, Sarah Neal, says: "Malthouse Outdoor Stage will be a vital way for our company to extend performance opportunities to the precinct and the wider sector, and importantly, for Malthouse Theatre to re-open earlier than is possible for indoor performances."

An sketch of an outdoor stage surrounded by pairs of tables and chairs
Photograph: Zoe Atkinson

The new outdoor theatre will be able to seat up to 312 guests, cabaret style, with music, dance, comedy, theatre and more expected to be presented on the stage. A number of musicians (such as Kaiit, Mildlife and Emma Donovan and the Putbacks) have already confirmed performances on the stage, as have comedians like Anne Edmonds, Lano and Woodley, Denise Scott and Judith Lucy. Malthouse is also partnering up with major festivals like Midsumma, Yirramboi, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Rising (the new winter arts festival combining White Night and Melbourne Festival), meaning that the stage will likely host shows as part of those events. 

Worried about Melbourne's #inclement weather? We have seen people shovelling down ramen during literal hailstorms (true story), and know that it takes a little more than the mere forces of nature to dissuade us from having a good time. Plus, the Victorian government is chipping in to provide better facilities for said weather, which has the added benefit of hopefully extending shows at the alfresco theatre beyond summer. 

Malthouse Outdoor Stage opens January 22 2021. Tickets for the first shows go on sale to the public Monday, December 7.

Over in St Kilda, Theatre Works is constructing a series of "glasshouses" to keep audiences healthy and safe.

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