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Polyglot Theatre

Architect: Kerstin Thompson Architects (base heritage building) 2018, McMahon and Nerlich (interior fitout) 2018

East | E04

Building Description

Polyglot Theatre’s new office has taken up residence at Abbotsford Convent. As Australia’s leading creator of participatory theatre for children and families, the new office is a compelling example of office design that fosters contemporary working practices within one of Melbourne’s most significant heritage addresses.

Home to the Magdalen Asylum from 1863 until 1975, the Sacred Heart building was restored in 2018 after years of neglect. A new addition to the Convent’s cultural precinct, the building now houses studios, showrooms, offices and retail space. Designed to foster creativity and collaboration, Polyglot’s fitout enhances the rich heritage fabric of the building’s former dormitory space.

The colourful timber screen, original timber flooring, windows and roof trusses were left untouched. Heritage colours are reflected throughout, with natural materials and interior planting working in harmony with the existing timber elements. Workstations, tables, storage and seating are all custom-made within the space to suit the weathered features.

The design solution is centred around the Polypod, a playful polycarbonate boardroom pod designed to transform the space and create a range of flexible work zones, including intimate break-out areas and collaboration spaces.

What's On

Polyglot Theatre’s office will be open in conjunction with Abbotsford Convent’s Open House Melbourne program. The main space will be open with the architects, Rob Nerlich and Kate McMahon, from Mcmahon and Nerlich on site to take informal walk-throughs and answer questions.

Explore the Abbotsford Convent’s galleries, cafes and sprawling heritage gardens. Visit the recently restored Sacred Heart building, Magdalen Laundry and rotunda. Meet artists and creatives in their studios or join free guided studio tours at 11am and 2pm. Book online for conservator or architecture-led talks. Read more about Abbotsford Convent here.


1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsfor 3067, Abbotsford VIC


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