Brisbane’s Vibrant Cultural Scene
The South Bank precinct is home to Australia’s most visited art gallery and one of Australia’s most successful ballet companies, proof that Brisbane loves its arts and culture.
Blithely critiqued a generation ago as a country town grown big, Brisbane shook this tag off years ago thanks to its regular -and international - music, arts, theatre and literary events, all held amidst acollection of wonderful waterfront venues.
QAGOMA - The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art - at South Bank draws crowds from across the country to view its blockbuster exhibitions and collections.
And the Brisbane-based Queensland Ballet, overseen by creative director and Mao’s Last Dancer author Li Cunxin, was also hitting national box office records pre-pandemic.
With its blend of indoor and outdoor shows that attract big audiences, Brisbane has one of the nation’s most thriving and enviable cultural scenes.
Located on the banks of the Brisbane River on the South Bank, Queensland’s most popular arts precinct presents the arts to everyone with a spread of major shows, curated collections and children’s events.
This incredible arts precinct was drawing between 600,000 to 700,000 people annually to visit the shows and walk around its spectacular architecture.
It hosts the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art featuring works from across the region. In 2019 this exhibition attracted almost 720,000 visitors.
The gallery is also home to one of the world’s greatest collections of contemporary Aboriginal art.
In 2021, QAGOMA features European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, including works from Fra Angelico, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet, amongst other masterpiecess.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre is the State’s premier performance arts space.
International tours and local performances share the stages of the Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall, Playhouse and Cremorne Theatre.
In 2021, these performances include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, West Side Story and the stage adaptation of local bestseller Boy Swallows Universe, offering something for all ages.
A major development within the precinct is underway, with the construction of a $125 million new theatre to accommodate an expected 300,000 visitors when operational.
The surrounding precinct was built in 1986 in the leadup to World Expo 88 in stunning modernist style, designed by leading Australian architect Robin Gibson.
The Queensland Museum houses the state’s biggest collection of flora, fauna and local prehistorical artefacts and regularly unearths new discoveries.
Visitors can walk past the suspended bones of a humpback whale and into the exhibition halls, or visit the bones of Australia’s prehistoric megafauna from western Queensland, including the bones of Cooper, Australia’s biggest dinosaur.
Researchers within the Queensland Museum continue to delve into the local natural environment. Through 2019-2020, their scientists described 59 new species including skinks, spiders and geckos and the youngest known megafauna in Queensland, just 40,000 years old.
It is also home to SparkLab, in the Sciencentre at South Bank, offering one of the most popular and interactive children’s activity venues in South East Queensland.
Within the old walls of this converted power station, Brisbane viewers can see comedy, cutting edge theatre, photography and other contemporary arts in an incredibly restored indoor/outdoor venue.
The Brisbane Powerhouse offers living art, ideas and experiences reflecting the contemporary nature of the city and regularly attracts more than 500,000 people each year.
It was one of the first venues to reopen after COVID-19 disruptions, in July 2020.
Museum of Brisbane
Unashamedly local, this boutique museum collects the best of the city for public display.
Fashion design exhibitions, local musicians and artists throughout the years are celebrated for their work and their contribution to the diversity and cultural heritage of Brisbane.
It reflects the contemporary nature of Brisbane and continues to develop the arts scene through its artist-in-residence program.