Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne
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The Malthouse Theatre (on the right), behind the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
|Address||113 Sturt St
Malthouse Theatre is the resident theatre company of The Coopers Malthouse building in Southbank, part of the Melbourne Arts Precinct. In the 1980s it was known as the Playbox Theatre Company and was housed in the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne.
The Playbox Theatre Company was dedicated to supporting Australian playwrights and producing new Australian plays throughout the 1980s. Originally called "Hoopla!", it was housed in Melbourne's Playbox Theatre in Exhibition Street before it was destroyed by fire in 1984.
In 1990, the company moved to new premises at the old Carlton & United Breweries Malthouse. In 2003, under incoming artistic director Michael Kantor and executive producer, Stephen Armstrong, the company changed its name to Malthouse Theatre. While it continues to produce new Australian theatre, the company no longer limits itself to new Australian texts.
The Coopers Malthouse building
Originally built in 1892 as a brewery and malting works, the Malthouse building was donated by Carlton & United Breweries for the creation and presentation of contemporary Australian theatre in 1990. The Coopers Malthouse at 113 Sturt Street houses three theatres: the 500-seat Merlyn Theatre (named after philanthropist Merlyn Myer), the 175-seat Beckett Theatre (named after designer John Beckett) and the 100-seat Tower Theatre. The building also includes a cafe and bar, rehearsal studios and administrative offices. Malthouse Theatre's scenic workshop is located in the neighbouring 111 Sturt Street complex, which also includes Chunky Move contemporary dance company and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Malthouse Theatres' core artistic team is led by Artistic Director Matthew Lutton and includes Associate Artists Janice Muller (Director In Residence), Declan Greene (Resident Artist) and company dramaturg Mark Pritchard. These artists, along with Executive Producer Sarah Neal and Producer Toby Sullivan curate a combination of new commissions, local collaborations and national/international co-productions.
A multidisciplinary contemporary theatre, Malthouse Theatre produces and/or presents up to twenty productions annually, from drama to contemporary opera, music theatre and cabaret, to contemporary dance and physical theatre. The company regularly co-produces with local and national performing arts companies and tours nationally and internationally. In recent years, Malthouse Theatre productions have been presented by the Edinburgh Festival, Barbican Centre, Vienna Festival, Amsterdam Festival, NZ Festival and Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. In 2009, the company's co-production with Belvoir, Ionesco's Exit the King adapted by Geoffrey Rush and Neil Armfield, was reproduced on Broadway and nominated for four Tony Awards, winning Best Actor for Rush.