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Client: Country Arts SA

Location: Whyalla, SA

Completion: 2018

Project Value: $20 million estimate


Paul Gillett

Esther Chew

Ben Van Loggem

Adam Sickerdich

Victoria Clarkson

Ba Trung Nguyen

In 2018, Country Arts SA commissioned Grieve Gillett Architects to deliver a Master Plan for the Middleback Arts Centre in Whyalla. The plan would assist Country Arts SA in strategic decision making and ensure that any new investment in the Centre would meet the shared vision of their stakeholders, patrons and users.

Working in collaboration with Country Arts SA, we undertook an inclusive consultation and engagement process throughout the design process. Traditional engagement strategies as well as new technologies were used to suit specific groups and facilitate a safe forum for open discussion. Further analysis and lateral thinking lead to the proposed re-orientation of the theatre’s current entry to establish Middleback Arts Centre’s own distinct identity as a cultural hub for the community and also provide separation from the adjacent TAFE facilities.

The new Middleback Arts Centre sees the development of the centre into three distinct precincts each with its own entry, but connected via a central node.

  • The refurbished Theatre Precinct will see the upgrade of the existing proscenium arch theatre to embrace contemporary technologies

  • The Digital Precinct will see the reinvigoration of the town’s only cinema to provide a state-of-the-art cinematography experience with luxury seating and a more contemporary food and beverage offering

  • The Mix Media Precinct is a newly developed area that includes a multi-purpose black box and two flexible gallery spaces. The precinct also provides smaller community workshop and studio spaces to support the development of visual arts, digital and mix media work.


In addition, a new commercial kitchen, box office and refurbished amenities as well as external amphitheatre and car park completes the proposed transformation of the Middleback Arts Centre.


We are currently working with Country Arts SA to identify funding opportunities and communicate the vision to various stakeholders. We are also undertaking a similar process for their three remaining arts centres and an upgrade to an arts residency space in Mount Gambier.

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