Arts and cultural experiences in Tasmania
14 Nov 2019
14 Nov 2019
Opened in 1837, Australian’s oldest working theatre is a big part of Tasmania’s history and a vibrant centre for performing arts. Designed by Peter Degraves, the founder of Cascade brewery, it was built to provide entertainment to the rapidly growing colony. From sordid early days that included cockfights and a seedy tavern that had a direct entrance into the theatre pit, Theatre Royal now presents a yearly program of live theatre, contemporary music and dance in a beautiful red-and-gold auditorium.
In the heart of Launceston stands the elegant Princess Theatre – a treasured cultural icon and the hub of performing arts in northern Tasmania. Originally intended for vaudeville, from its opening in 1911 until 1970 the theatre operated as a cinema, during which time art deco architectural details were added. Princess Theatre presents a diverse program of live performances and has had the likes of Dame Margot Fonteyn, Roy Orbison, Slim Dusty and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa grace its stage.
Australia’s largest regional museum is where art, history and natural sciences meet. With two sites in Launceston – the Art Gallery at Royal Park and the Museum at Inveresk – the collection has been in the making since 1842. It includes a treasure trove of early colonial paintings, decorative arts, zoology specimens, a full Chinese temple, planetarium and contemporary Tasmanian art, including large scale artworks by Bea Maddock and Philip Wolfhagen.
A must-see when visiting Tasmania’s capital, Mona is one of the world’s best contemporary art experiences. Take a ferry from Hobart and delve into its cavernous depths to explore enigmatic, playful and provocative artworks. And it’s not just art. Mona also encompasses a cellar door, brewery, restaurant and accommodation, and presents summer concerts on the lawn, Hobart’s Dark Mofo winter festival and Launceston’s annual Mona Foma.
In Hobart’s historic cobblestone square lies the Salamanca Arts Centre, a collection of seven heritage buildings housing studios, venues and galleries. Built into a historic quarry is the popular Peacock Theatre, named after the company who produced jams and juices on the site for 50 years. Theatre goers can enjoy music, dance and comedy performances in this lively and intimate venue or experience free live music in its courtyard on Friday nights against a dramatic cliff-face backdrop.
Housed in some of the state’s oldest buildings, including the 1808-10 Commissariat Store, TMAG is a wonderful place for all ages to discover Tasmanian natural and cultural heritage. A museum, art gallery and state herbarium all in one, its exhibitions cover diverse collections including Aboriginal artefacts, colonial photography, geology, Antarctica, ceramics and the story of the extinct thylacine (Tasmanian tiger).
By Beata Bowes