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Arts Centre Melbourne

  • Theatre
  • Southbank
Arts Centre Melbourne hero shot
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

Arts Centre Melbourne is the umbrella venue that houses the Hamer Hall, Playhouse, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, State Theatre and Fairfax Studio, as well as various exhibition spaces. At the centre of the precinct is the spired building housing the State Theatre, Playhouse and Fairfax Studio.

As a general rule the venues stay open an hour after the last show of the evening so until then you can view any of the exhibitions at your leisure. The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is home to the biggest outdoor events including Carols by Candlelight, festivals and huge international acts while the State Theatre is the premiere venue for large scale productions, symphonies, ballets and all things highbrow.

If you're looking for a pre-show drink and/or meal, try The Barre, in the Theatres Building.


100 St Kilda Rd
Nearby stations: Flinders Street
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 7.30am-8pm*; Sat 8.30am-8pm*; Sun 10am-5pm* (*or an hour after the last event)

What’s on

Hannah Gadsby: Woof!

  • Comedy festival

Hannah Gadsby – the award-winning Australian comedian whose earth-shattering 2017 show Nanette gained them global acclaim – is coming back to Aussie stages with a brand new stand-up show. Woof! will take up residence in the Playhouse at Arts Centre Melbourne from March 28 until April 20, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. While we don't yet know exactly what Woof! is about, we do know that Gadsby has recently released their third Netflix special, curated Netflix's first all gender-queer comic special and grown four (!!) species of potatoes. We also know that it's a challenge to find a piece of comedy that's made as big of a social impact as Nanette has in recent years. Based on their formidable track record (and the fact they've won an Emmy, a Peabody and an AACTA Award), we're pretty excited for Woof! and extremely curious to discover what the title's all about.  Tickets for the 70-minute show are on sale right now via the Arts Centre Melbourne website and they start from $55.  Looking for more ways to keep entertained? Here are the best gigs happening in Melbourne this month.

Josh Thomas

  • Stand Up

Whether you know Aussie comedian Josh Thomas from his groundbreaking series Please Like Me or the American-produced comedy-drama Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, or even just as that guy who was always shooting zany one-liners on TV panel shows, it's safe to say we haven't seen him on the stand-up circuit in quite a while. Well, that is all about to change because Thomas is finally making his much-anticipated return to the comedy stage with Let’s Tidy Up coming to town in April 2024 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Written with award-winning playwright Lally Katz, Let’s Tidy Up is quite literally a show where Thomas tidies up. But don’t be fooled, the poster boy for neurotic homosexuals is not embarking on a Marie Kondo era. While tidying up is not normally the stuff of gripping drama, for Thomas, it’s like Everest – a fundamentally impossible task, like trying to defy the moon and control the tides. It’s not just about tidying, there’s also gardening, gophers and a love story. (Thomas came out as autistic in 2022, so we have a feeling that any struggling neurodivergent overachievers in the audience can expect some highly relatable content.) Thomas' Aussie tour is hot on the heels of a 20-date tour of North America through November and December. He'll then be heading to Brunswick Heads, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Newcastle, Cairns, Perth, Toowoomba, Brisbane and Adelaide, with appearances at Arts Centre Melbourne from April 9-21.  For more information and to

Josh Thomas: Let's Tidy Up

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Comedy festival

Aussie comedian Josh Thomas has come a long way from being the guy who was always shooting zany one-liners on prime time television panel shows. Turning his hand to writing, acting and producing, he's gone on to create and star in the groundbreaking comedy series Please Like Me, and then the American-produced series Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. (Currently, he's working on Good Person, a new series in development with Hulu & 20th.) Now, Thomas is finally making his much-anticipated return to stand-up, with Let’s Tidy Up playing at Arts Centre Melbourne from April 9-21. Tickets are available here and you can keep reading for our review of the Sydney season of the show. Forty-five minutes into Josh Thomas’s solo show at Sydney Opera House, he grabs a broom and breaks into a languidly executed and bizarrely brilliant dance routine that belies the unlikely sex symbol that he is to many Australian millennials. As a British import, the intricacies of many of Australia’s pop culture personas remain a mystery to me. I’d been unaware of this side to the comedian (whose existence I’d learnt of only days prior), and it made a fun addition to the cocktail of traits that form his on-stage persona: erratic but engaging, wicked-smart but infinitely endearing. For someone who has (staggeringly) managed to make it to 2024 without encountering the cultural phenomenon that is Josh Thomas (or the television shows he has written, produced and starred in: Please Like Me and Everything’s Gonna Be Ok)

RBG: Of Many, One

  • Drama

When Heather Mitchell embodied the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg in RBG: Of Many, One on the Sydney stage in November 2022, her performance lingered with everyone who witnessed it.  A great legal mind, feminist, and later, improbably, a pop culture darling, Ginsburg continues to have an outsized impact on culture. Mitchell made her performance of this icon feel expertly effortless. With the script by barrister-turned-playwright Suzie Miller (of Prima Facie fame) and direction by Priscilla Jackman (White Pearl), this trio of powerhouse women did justice to the notorious RBG, and made incredible theatre in the process. (Which also inspired STC’s similarly acclaimed follow-up play, Julia, about the impetus of Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech.)  As Divya Venkatarmaran wrote in her four-star review for Time Out: “RBG: Of Many, One is a sweeping but satisfying portrayal of its subject’s life, delving into its main subjects with grace and patience, in (a relatively short) 90-odd minutes. And it’s an unexpectedly funny watch...” If you missed it, don’t feel bad – we just received news that will turn that FOMO around. Sydney Theatre Company announced today that RBG: Of Many, One will be returning in 2024 for an extensive Australian tour including seasons in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra – and Heather Mitchell will be reprising the role.  The national tour of RBG: Of Many, One will open at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House in February 2024, Canberra Theatre Centr

Bell Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • Comedy

After a stellar opening in Sydney, Bell Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is going on tour – and the next stop is Melbourne. The classic comedy will be calling Arts Centre Melbourne home from April 25 to May 11.  Kicking off a jam-packed 2024 season, Bell Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the tale of love and mischief over one magical night where fairies, runaway lovers and bumbling actors get entangled in an enchanted forest. Follow along as a talented ensemble of cast and creatives reimagine the magical play, led by director Peter Evans who has pared back the play to 110 minutes and done a spectacular job at reinventing the timeless tale for a new audience. The all-star cast includes Ella Prince playing Puck, along with Ahunim Abede as Hermia, Isabel Burton as Helena, Mike Howlett as Demetrius, Matu Ngaropo as Bottom, Richard Pyros as Oberon, Imogen Sage as Titania and Laurence Young as Lysander. Tickets range from $40 - $110 and you can book them here.

An Evening with Dolly Alderton

  • Talks and discussions

Edit: A second Melbourne show has been added to Dolly Alderton's tour, after her first date completely sold out. She'll now be doing a show at the Palais Theatre on November 13 in addition to her booked out talk at the Arts Centre Melbourne on November 14. Tickets to her talk at the Palais Theatre are on sale now, you can buy them here – snap them up while you can! If you know a young woman who's an avid reader, chances are her eyes will light up at the mention of best-selling author Dolly Alderton. The British writer skyrocketed to popularity with her debut memoir-turned-TV show, Everything I Know About Love – a quasi-bible for those navigating life in the fraught 20s age demographic.  For the very first time, Alderton is headed Down Under for a tour of talks, off the back of her latest New York Times best-selling novel Good Material. She's heading to Arts Centre Melbourne for an appearance on November 14, and bringing along her latest stories for Melburnians to enjoy. Not only is she a beloved author, but Alderton originally gained recognition for her Sunday Times 'Dear Dolly' advice column – and she'll incorporate her favourite anecdotes from this within her live show, as well as her own insightful musings on various aspects of life. Audiences will have a chance to ask questions of their own, too, so get brainstorming.  Alderton will also make appearances in Sydney on November 5 and 6, Perth on November 10 and Brisbane on November 17 before heading to Wellington on Novembe

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