Sturt Street arts

Behind St Kilda Road is Sturt Street, an industrial and fairly quiet street since the CityLink tunnel bypassed it. But it is home to four more arts institutions – the CUB Malthouse, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and the Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC)/Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) complex.

Once a malt factory, the Malthouse Theatre has four theatres and is home to the Malthouse Theatre company, dedicated to contemporary theatre. Next door, the ACCA is housed in a rusted-steel building that’s intended to resemble the colour of Uluru against a blue sky. Inside the stark structural forms are changing contemporary Australian and international exhibitions, quite often confronting and interactive. The annual NEW exhibition, held around March and April, is a portal into the best and latest Australian art. Vault, otherwise known as the Yellow Peril, sits next to ACCA. This abstract yellow piece became Melbourne’s most controversial public sculpture after conservative media criticised it as being inappropriate for its original location in Melbourne’s City Square. Its latest position is much more in keeping with its creative feel.

Resembling a giant beehive in parts, the stunning Melbourne Recital Centre gives ACCA a run for its money in the architectural stakes. Comprising the 1001-seat Elisabeth Murdoch Hall for chamber music, the 150-seat Salon for more intimate performances and public spaces including a cafe-bar, it’s an exciting addition to Melbourne’s arts precinct. The adjacent new home of the Melbourne Theatre Company is an equally fascinating, cutting-edge structure. Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St; bookings (03) 9685 5111; ACCA, 111 Sturt St; (03) 9697 9999; open 10am–5pm Tues–Fri, 11am–6pm Sat–Sun and public holidays; admission free; MRC/MTC, cnr Sturt St and Southbank Blvd, Southbank; MRC bookings (03) 9699 3333, MTC bookings 1300 723 038.

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