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Far from the drama of Buckingham Palace, Brisbane welcomes a new royal to the throne in August 2021 when The Tivoli anoints its sister venue, The Princess Theatre, in Woolloongabba.
The coronation of this iconic Brisbane venue coincides with the return of Open Season, The Tivoli’s popular curated program of concerts and live performances. This year, Open Season takes place across both The Tivoli and The Princess Theatre from June to December.
Built in 1888 and located in the revitalised historic district of Clarence Corner, The Princess Theatre is Queensland’s oldest-standing performing arts venue. Now in the hands of The Tivoli co-owners Dave and Steve Sleswick alongside business partner Steve Wilson, The Princess has undergone a loving refurbishment to take its rightful place as the crown jewel of Woolloongabba’s emerging entertainment and lifestyle precinct.
The thoughtfully restored State Heritage building will be home to a state-of-the-art performance auditorium designed for a standing capacity of 900, and a seated theatre capacity of 500. The redevelopment also features four bars, a public cafe, private event spaces, a rehearsal room, a co-working creative office and workshop space, and an outdoor courtyard.
First to put their mark on The Princess Theatre will be Melbourne outfit The Paper Kites when they kick off Open Season with two shows on Friday 27 August.
“The Paper Kites, without any plans or any idea of what the venue would look like, was the first band to say, ‘we want to do something there’ so we both went out on a limb and locked in our opening date,” Mr Sleswick said.
As part of Open Season, The Princess Theatre will also welcome a stellar lineup of artists, including King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard in a consecutive five-show residency, Julia Jacklin, Regurgitator in an exclusive Brisbane anniversary performance of the band’s debut album Tu-Plang, Sunnyboys in a Brisbane exclusive performance, Jarryd James, HTRK, The Murlocs, Tropical F*ck Storm, TEEKS (NZ), COLLAR and Amyl & the Sniffers.
“Our last Open Season program was an experiment of sorts, a direct action designed to counter the industry-wide devastation brought by COVID-19 and breathe life back into Brisbane’s live performance scene,” Mr Sleswick said.
Though live music remains at the heart of Open Season, The Princess Theatre will also host full-scale productions such as ORACLE – a new circus, burlesque and dance production from the creators of the hit production, Matador – and Betty Grumble’s Enemies of Grooviness Eat Sh*t.
The Princess Theatre celebrates its official relaunch with a huge Housewarming party where more than 20 artists take over the venue on 11 and 12 September as part of Brisbane Festival.
The Princess Theatre renewal project expands on the Sleswick brothers’ passion for preserving and revitalising iconic and historical music and arts spaces, demonstrated when they purchased The Tivoli Theatre in Fortitude Valley in 2016 after it was earmarked for development.
Steve Wilson – former South Bank Corporation Chair and current Chair of the Committee for Brisbane – said the reawakening of The Princess as a thriving music and cultural venue would cement Woolloongabba as Brisbane’s newest entertainment and lifestyle destination.
“Brisbane’s reputation as a leading global city is dependent on it having a vibrant arts scene with more dedicated live music and entertainment venues,” Mr Wilson said.