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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 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 nearing completion, with the theatre on track for official completion mid-year, ready for use by UQ's School of Communication and Arts drama program.

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.

Since the project began in early 2023, the following works have been completed:

  • building structure, including extension
  • façade structure replacement
  • installation of mechanical and electrical systems and stormwater infrastructure
  • internal fit out
  • installation of retractable seating.

In the lead up to project completion, we will progress the following works:

  • construction of the car park and an access ramp
  • installation of AV equipment and electrical equipment
  • compliance testing
  • theatre fit out including tension wire grid system
  • landscaping
  • signage installation.

Importantly, work to recreate the theatre's façade will continue, including restoring the original front steps, brickwork, and weatherboards on the side of the building. The façade structure is in place and rendered, with exterior painting underway.

The University is planning to extend the open space through the UQ-owned properties adjoining the theatre. As part of this, we will remove the uninhabitable houses at 176 Sir Fred Schonell Drive and 27 Macquarie Street.

The open space will be landscaped with seating areas for students, staff and the community.

Throughout the project, we have aimed to retain as many trees as possible, including preserving the Indigenous hoop pine near the theatre's façade. As part of the restoration, up to 22 trees may be removed, with most of this completed in early 2023.

We'll continue working with arboriculture services throughout construction to ensure the health of the remaining 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 inform the community as work progresses 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 coming years.

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 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
Restored front façade
Avalon Theatre
View from Guyatt Park/Macquarie Street
Main entrance of Avalon Theatre
Main entrance foyer
View of the theatre from the main stage
View from the main stage.