The Arts Minister of South Australia Andrea Michaels has announced that: “The Malinauskas Government is proud to follow in the footsteps of Labor legends Gough Whitlam and Don Dunstan – who opened Adelaide Festival Centre in July 1973 – with this significant investment funded through the mid-year budget review.
Adelaide Festival Centre is Australia’s first major arts centre and this extensive upgrade is designed to improve both access to the centre as well as its fire and safety systems.
Beginning in 2025, there will be significant upgrades to the Western Plaza, focused around the area between the Festival Theatre and Dunstan Playhouse.
As the main gateway in and out of the site to the north, the new design - which has been reviewed by the State Heritage Architect and received planning approval - allows for access to the Dunstan Playhouse and Space theatre from the Northern Promenade and Walk of Fame.
Lift access will soon be provided from the Northern Promenade directly up to the Plaza level, enabling patrons and visitors an easy way to enter Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre.
This will make it easier for families with strollers and mobility aid users with the new lift near the Dunstan Playhouse bridging the five-metre vertical drop between the Plaza and north-face level - a big improvement on the old switch-back ramps.
In addition, an extensive series of works will be carried out on the fire and safety systems, including smoke detection and occupant warning system upgrades, emergency lighting replacement and improvement and sprinkler-system upgrades.”
Will there be a closure?
Temporary closures will be necessary, but we are working with government to ensure the works will be staggered so that the Festival Theatre and Dunstan Playhouse will not be closed at the same time.
Will shows be cancelled?
All shows currently on sale will go ahead and not be impacted by these works.
Is the venue safe now, until these mandatory fire compliance works are complete?
Yes. The venue is compliant and we are working with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport and the Metropolitan Fire Service to ensure our systems are of the highest possible standards.
What are the Plaza and Dunstan Playhouse external works?
In 2018, a significant part of the redevelopment was postponed and will now be completed during the 2025-26 upgrade. This is the area connecting the Artspace Plaza and the Walk of Fame. The upper switchback, external stairs, and Space entrance area will be redeveloped to improve accessibility and amenity – new stairs and a lift.
Will I still be able to get to the theatre when there’s construction?
During the redevelopment, we will communicate with ticketholders to best access routes to the venue. Information is also available on our Your Visit pages to help you plan your journey.
This page will continue to be updated as more information is provided.