Heritage Places of Adelaide

Adelaide Festival Centre (Festival Theatre, Playhouse, Space and Amphitheatre, the Southern Plaza, and Carparking, Restaurant and Convention Facilities)


King William Road ADELAIDE


State Heritage Place

The construction of the Adelaide Festival Centre was a milestone in South Australian history. The Adelaide Festival of Arts had been the first of its kind in Australia, a bold vision which became an enduring event, marking South Australia as the 'Festival State'. The erection of the Adelaide Festival Centre was an equally bold move. Innovative in style, the achievement of both Liberal and Labour governments, the Adelaide City Council and notable individuals, the complex is a home for the Festival, and a cultural centre for the people of South Australia. The Centre has received much critical acclaim as an extremely functional performing arts complex. The Centre is an unashamedly modern complex notable for its bold structuralist approach to form. The multi-purpose Festival Theatre, the more intimate drama theatre (Playhouse), the experimental theatre (Space) and the Amphitheatre are integrated successfully by roof form and the formality of the dominant octagonal module. The individual components of the complex are noted for their versatility, the appeal of internal spaces, the quality of finishes, the good acoustics and the planning of seating and facilities which are held in high regard by artists and patrons alike. The complex has been criticised as 'strident' in colour and finish. Concern has also been expressed that the Festival Theatre and Playhouse Theatre express themselves as concrete buildings whereas they are in fact steel framed. There are also some serious structural faults. Yet the complex as a whole is genuinely historic and the architecture may be regarded as progressive while reflecting the period in which the concept was first mooted. The Hajek sculpture plaza and recent additions such as the larger restaurant and conference centre are not as happily related, the plaza in particular butting uncomfortably against the exposed northern wall of Parliament House. (SHB)

Listing Information

  • Date of Listing: 11 December 1997
  • Heritage Listing Criteria:

    Criteria F: it has strong cultural or spiritual associations for the community or a group within it;

    Criteria G: it has a special association with the life or work of a person or organisation or an event of historical importance.

Disclaimer: The content in the Heritage Places of Adelaide database has been adapted from the SA Government’s South Australian Heritage Register, made available via the Data SA website under a Creative Commons licence. See: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/sa-heritage-places.

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