Historically significant costumes and objects from Australia’s entertainment history will be showcased and preserved at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Australian Performing Arts Collection. This $2.2 million project will upgrade and expand the space, allowing you to view some never-before-seen objects and costumes, like Kylie Minogue’s gold hotpants or Dame Nellie Melba’s La Traviata bodice. The new facilities are set to open in June 2023.
The Australian Performing Arts Collection
Visitors will have access to the state-owned collection, which includes over 780, 000 items. Think costumes, accessories, designs, set models, props, photographs, scrap books, posters, programs, archives and audio and visual material. The new space will also feature the Collection’s first-ever conservation lab to preserve items onsite, as well as an enhanced photographic studio to continue digitisation and build on the development of online exhibitions.
There will be plenty of guided tours, programs, events and activations, so that visitors can learn more about the extensive collection.
Journey down an exhibition ‘laneway’, and see curators, conservators, registrars and more work on the collection. Unlike a typical gallery environment, this new space will provide glimpses of the work that goes behind developing, managing and sharing a State Collection. There will be objects and costumes displayed in cases, and 2D works on the wall.
“As proud custodians of The Australian Performing Arts Collection we are delighted to uncover and share this hidden treasure with the people of Victoria,” said Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Karen Quinlan, AM. “We hope they feel ownership and pride in this State Collection and all the value and benefit that it offers.”
What can you see in the Collection?
One of Kyle Minogue’s iconic costumes, her Museum Dress, will be among ten treasured pieces on display.
“The Australian Performing Arts Collection is home to more than 1000 items from my career including costumes and accessories,” said Minogue. “I am so thankful that with the help of the expert and passionate Collections team, these items can be shared with generations to come.”
Other items of significance include:
- Kylie Minogue costumes designed by Dolce and Gabbana from her Aphrodite Les Folies tour, 2011
- Tutu worn by Justine Summers in Divergence, The Australian Ballet, 1994
- Bodice worn by Dame Nellie Melba as Violetta in La Traviata, c. 1908
- Wirth’s Circus scrapbook compiled by Charles West, c. 1905-1940s
- Notebooks compiled by Nick Cave
- Set model designed by Tony Tripp for Sumer of the Seventeenth Doll, Melbourne Theatre Company, 1995
- Ossie Ostrich puppet from television program Hey Hey It’s Saturday, c. 1972
- Costume designs by Roger Kirk for the role of Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz
- Spectacles worn with the Fish Dress by Barry Humphries as Edna Everage
Designed by Melbourne-based Williams Ross Architects, this space at Hamer Hall will be the first storage, research and education facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s set to open in June 2023. For more information, click here.