Arts Centre Melbourne has announced the cancellation of all scheduled performances and events and temporary closure of its buildings to the public, commencing midnight Sunday 15 March, 2020.
The cancellations and closure will remain in effect for four weeks, through 12 April. A decision on any potential further closure will take into consideration any developments in the COVID-19 situation.
“Every ounce of our beings as arts workers is to raise the curtain on the next spectacular performance; ‘the show must go on’ is our battle cry as an industry,” said Claire Spencer, Chief Executive Officer of Arts Centre Melbourne.
“To say this decision is counterintuitive and deeply upsetting is a gross understatement.
“However, based on the rapidly unfolding events of the last few days, the gut-wrenching decision made today to cancel all performances and close our buildings to the public was made as a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect our staff, performers and patrons, and to play our role in Australia’s response to limiting transmission.
“We know this is a difficult time for our community and we extend our solidarity to all of those who are impacted, especially artists, performers, and staff whose livelihood depends on a vibrant and fully functioning Arts Centre Melbourne.The wellbeing and support of our staff is paramount.
“But this unprecedented situation demands an unprecedented response.
“We know that the arts play a critical role in uplifting and supporting our communities and we’ll continue to explore ways to bring the wonder of the performing arts to Victorians during this time.”
Closures include the Theatres Building (including the State Theatre, Playhouse, Fairfax Studio, Box Office and Australian Music Vault), the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Hamer Hall, The Channel creative learning space, food and beverage outlets within the buildings, and all function spaces.
The Arts Centre Melbourne car park, which services the broader Melbourne Arts Precinct and community, will remain open, as will the outdoor café, The Protagonist, on the forecourt outside the Theatres Building. The building will be closed to the public and those who use the car park can enter and exit as directed.
For ticket holders booked to attend performances and events over this period, refunds will be provided and further information is available on our website at www.artscentremelbourne.com.au. Refunds will be processed automatically – you do not need to contact Arts Centre Melbourne.
We urge everyone to continue to follow the advice of government health authorities with regard to maintaining good hygiene practices. Additional information is available on the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services and Australian Government Department of Health websites.
We are doing this proactively in the interests of staff and the public. We believe this is a cautious and prudent response in an evolving situation.