Ulumbarra Theatre

Architect: 1863, Y2 Architecture and Schuler Shook 2015

Bendigo | BEN10

Building Description

Meaning ‘gather together’ or ‘meeting place’ in the language of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, Ulumbarra blends heritage and modern elements beautifully, offering distinctive state-of-the-art performance and event spaces. The Sandhurst Gaol–now the site of Ulumbarra Theatre–originally opened in 1863 and was decommissioned in 2006. Former inmates include Chopper Read and Ronald Ryan. The original design, with passages radiating from a central hub, was based upon the much publicised Pentonville concept, which enabled the surveillance of multiple wings from a central point whilst allowing a reasonable amount of air to circulate the cellblocks. The renovation by Melbourne/Bendigo architects Y2 and international theatre design specialists Schuler Shook, merges contemporary design with the heritage elements of the old penitentiary architecture. With an auditorium capacity of 951, expansive foyers, studios and meeting rooms, Ulumbarra Theatre’s architects have cleverly adapted this historic gaol to create an extraordinary arts and community facility. Ulumbarra’s main stage–the largest in regional Australia–can accommodate any performance or activity with a fully-functional fly tower and world-class production capabilities, including a goods lift running the entire width of the stage that can transform Ulumbarra’s front three rows of seating into a thrust stage, or a flat floor for dancing or even an orchestra pit for up to 55 musicians.

What's On

Guided tours led by Y2 Architecture through foyer spaces, theatre auditorium and courtyards with pre-booked ticket only. Bookings open 8.30am Monday 14 October, sharp. Read our booking tips to avoid disappointment.

Experience Cell 26
CELL 26 `tells` the story of a former prison cell on the Ulumbarra Theatre site.
Using the cell as inspiration, documentary artist Roslyn Oades and local musician Eliza Hull have created an intimate 30-minute listening experience that explores the layers of story embedded in the site. The work draws on interviews, field recordings and original composition.

Book your timed experience here.


10 Gaol Road, Bendigo VIC 3550, Bendigo VIC

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