Theatre companies trade iconic playhouse

The Petrie Terrace block (outlined) has residential development upside.

Dan and Fiona Kennedy’s Ad Astra has picked up Petrie Terrace’s Brisbane Arts Theatre from the association which built it in 1961.

The 62 year old auditorium will be refurbished.

Withs the $3 million sale proceeds, club president Tallulah EM Grey said a replacement home would be sought.

The seller will lease back 210 Petrie Terrace for an indefinite period, at least 18 months.

The auditorium building contains a box office, bar and refreshments area, dressing room and bathrooms.

After that, the venue will still accommodate the association’s Children’s Theatre program.

“This is the start of a new friendship and we look forward to building a stronger, more symbiotic relationship with Ad Astra in the coming years,” according to Ms Grey.

Ms Kennedy added the property – the first in Brisbane owned by a private theatre company – is central to the story of theatre in the city.

“This iconic venue has been the theatrical home for so many actors, directors, designers, technicians and playwrights,” she said.

“We look forward to giving our professional theatre company, Ad Astra, a permanent home and the emerging artists of Queensland the opportunity to create, produce and perform,” according to the operator.

“We want to help launch professional careers and we hope the artistic community of Queensland will join us in striving to generate more opportunities for our talented, determined, enthusiastic performance artists”.

Petrie Terrace is a just over a kilometre north west of the CBD.

Refurbishment planned

The Petrie Terrace holding includes an auditorium developed on the site of a second hand store which the association acquired for £6000 in 1956 (story continues below).

A refreshments area behind a dwelling fit out as a workshop and for costume storage.

The offering also contained a neighbouring timber dwelling – converted as a workshop.

The timber dwelling and auditorium sold for $3 million.

Covering 723 square metres, near the Caxton St retail strip, the amalgamation was marketed for its apartment development upside.

Instead, Mr and Ms Kennedy plan to refurbish.

“Forty five years ago on a school stage in Brisbane I first played the judge in Toad of the Toad Hall and this mesmerising girl, Fiona, played the gaoler’s daughter,” Mr Kennedy said.

“This musical started a long romance for me, both with my wife and with theatre…so I was delighted to know that the first children’s play at Brisbane Arts Theatre once we become owners is going to be Wind in the Willows,” he added.

Toad of the Toad Hall was the musical version of this play,” according to the operator.

“This is a theatre worth saving.

“It has such a rich heritage and has launched many creatives careers, including many well-known names.

“Fiona and I think it is wonderful that we are able to help save a landmark like the Brisbane Arts Theatre from demolition and preserve such an important venue for Brisbane’s theatre scene”.

Ray White Commercial’s David Atkinson and Michael McCullagh represented the Brisbane Arts Theatre, established by Jean Trundle and Vic Hardgraves in 1936 as Brisbane Amateur Theatres.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of