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The tour was on the 20th May 2018

Initially I did not want to attend this tour, as I do not like going into the City and

am a little inclined to claustrophobia in tight spots, but my husband Bob entered us on the list, 

Having said that I wouldn’t have missed it for anything

We were met by a lovely young lady, our guide Amanda, who informed us that the Arts Centre Melbourne is 130 years old, consisting of three  halls designed in a complex circular plan.

There are five levels of the Arts Centre below ground level and three above ground level, level four being river level and level six street level.

Amanda took us in a lift to level two  this being a Backstage tour and showed us the State Theatre dressing rooms, costume storage areas, toilets etc., etc., with the doors, furnishings etc. painted in a colour code Blue.

The Fairfax Theatre colour code is Purple, and the smaller Playhouse colour code is Green. The coding identifies which rooms belong to which theatre so as to avoid performers and helpers becoming lost and turning up on the wrong stage.

The three theatres have performances running approximately forty weeks per year.

Costumes are made interstate from expensive materials often from Asia or Europe, and may take up to a year to hand make each one. Because of the cost of creating these costumes, they are expected to last for thirty years.

There is a spot dead centre of the backstage area, where you can stretch your arms out and touch all three theatre walls at the same time.

It‘s a very odd sensation standing on the stage facing the stalls, where you would normally be seated in the audience.

With dressers, stage hands, electricians, etc. etc., there can be as many as one hundred people working behind the stage for each performance, so now we know why tickets are so expensive.

The tour included seeing inter alia different backstage rooms, hidden passages, stairways, technical lifts and pulleys, massive spotlights, and heaps of electrical cables looking like thick black spaghetti.

The guide also made the day a very interesting experience by continually telling us interesting stories and anecdotes as the tour progressed.

In conclusion, I would like to recommend that Ken Falconer OAM (Tour Leader) arrange another tour for next year, so that another fifteen members can enjoy it as much as I did. 

Frances Thornton