The past 12 months may have been a bitter ride for the live music industry, but in a sign that green shoots are beginning to emerge the owners of The Tivoli in Brisbane will refurbish and revitalise Queensland's oldest-standing theatre, The Princess Theatre located in Woolloongabba.
The purchase of the 133-year-old theatre comes five years since brothers Steve and Dave Sleswick took control of the iconic The Tivoli after it was earmarked for development; they have since maintained that venue's place as one of Brisbane's pre-emiment spaces for national and international acts alongside local arts, fringe and indie music creatives.
Set to re-open in August, the new incarnation of The Princess will be highlighted by a state-of-the-art performance auditorium designed for a standing capacity of 900 (and a seated theatre capacity of 500).
There'll also be a public café, private event spaces, a rehearsal room, a co-working creative office and workshop space, and an outdoor courtyard.
"The Princess was created as a theatre in 1888, originally known as the South Brisbane Public Hall," Dave says.
"We feel it's vital for us to reclaim the building for Brisbane's vibrant, world-class arts sector and return it to the community to be used as it was originally intended.
"It shares the same independent spirit as The Tivoli and will have live music at its heart, providing a home for Brisbane and Queensland artists, musicians and entertainers, as well as those from throughout Australia and across the world."
Located in the heart of the burgeoning, historic district of Clarence Corner, The Princess Theatre is just a few minutes walk to both South Bank and the new Woolloongabba Cross River Rail transport hub.
An ongoing programme will feature world-class music, contemporary performances, programming for families and young people, and an array of corporate and private events.
The Princess will also become the new home of visual theatre company Dead Puppet Society, with a dedicated workshop and gallery space. "We look forward to welcoming this passionate and pioneering company to the venue," Dave says.
The Sleswick's have purchased The Princess with investment partner Steve Wilson – former South Bank Corporation Chair and current Chair of the Committee for Brisbane.
"Brisbane's reputation as a leading global city is dependent on it having a vibrant arts scene with more dedicated live music and entertainment venues across a variety of geographical locations," Wilson says.
"This partnership with The Tivoli is built upon a mutual love of the arts, respect for Brisbane's heritage and culture and a collective desire to retain and grow Brisbane's reputation as a dynamic and creative city."