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Artist's impression of renovated Avalon theatre

Avalon Theatre restoration

UQ is restoring the landmark Avalon Theatre to provide a unique teaching and performance venue for UQ students, staff, UQ Union (UQU) clubs and societies - and in time, the broader community.

We're working with heritage and design experts to ensure the restoration process is carried out carefully and to the highest standards, ensuring the site and façade are sympathetically refurbished.

The project is expected to be completed in late 2023, with the theatre opening for use by UQ’s School of Communication and Arts drama program in the first half of 2024.

While the Schonell Theatre and Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio are unavailable as part of works on the Union Complex at the St Lucia campus, the theatre will primarily be used by UQ’s drama program and student-led performances in the coming years.

A modern, multi-purpose performance space

The theatre will be a fit-for-purpose space with modern performance-related amenities and technology, capable of hosting a range of performances and productions.

The venue will house two performance spaces – one with up to 112 seats, and a smaller space with up to 50 seats. There will be tiered retractable seating in the larger space and adjustable seating in the smaller space to allow for flexible use.

The project includes a lighting and sound control room, theatre amenities and office space. Backstage will feature dressing rooms, shower facilities, and storage for wardrobe, props, sets and lighting.

The performance spaces will be soundproofed to a professional level of acoustic absorption and allow for full lighting rigs.

The site will be fully compliant, providing disability access and 20 parking spaces.

See below for architectural renders of the Avalon Theatre.

Project updates

Preparatory works commenced in 2022, and the main construction works began in early 2023.

The project has continued to progress over the past few months, with the following works recently completed:

  • Establishment of site offices at 31 Macquarie Street (vacant UQ owned blocks)
  • Removal of the roof and rear of the existing Avalon Theatre
  • Bulk earthworks and trenching for inground services
  • Commencement of structural bracing and concrete foundations.

During May and June 2023, we will carry out the following works:

  • Staged installation of structural steel and bracing
  • Continued installation of inground services
  • Progress concrete foundations and blockwork in preparation for the theatre extension. 

Importantly, we will continue to reconstruct and restore the theatre’s façade. This will include restoring the original front steps, brickwork and weatherboards.

Our aim is to retain as many trees as possible, including preserving the Indigenous hoop pine near the theatre's façade. As part of the restoration, 18 trees were removed.

We'll continue working with arboriculture services throughout construction to ensure the health of all the trees at the site. We'll also reinstate native flora on the site in line with UQ’s Campuses on Countries Design Framework.

We'll keep the community informed as works progress and provide key updates on this webpage.

Supporting and giving back to the community

By restoring the Avalon Theatre, we can create an asset for our drama students, UQU clubs and societies and other student-led performances.

In time, it will become a place for local community groups, societies and residents to use, continuing the Avalon Theatre’s tradition as a space for the broader St Lucia community in the years to come.

We'll work with the local community to understand how they might best use the theatre in the future.

A historic venue

Built in the 1920s, the Avalon has a long history in the St Lucia community.

Originally a church hall, it was later used as a community hall and then a cinema. 

Acquired by UQ in 1963, the Avalon Theatre quickly became a thriving hub for both drama performances and cultural activity.

Read more about the history of the Avalon Theatre and UQ’s plans for its future


For enquiries about these works, please contact

Architectural renders 

Avalon theatre architectural rendering: restored façade
Restored front façade
View from Macquarie St/Guyatt Park
View from Guyatt Park/Macquarie Street
Avalon Theatre architectural render - view from car park
Main entrance foyer
Avalon Theatre artists impression - main stage
View from main stage