Exploding the Box: The Future of Performing Arts Centre Design

ARM is excited to present the 2024 Stephen Ashton Address at the Geelong Arts Centre.

Exploding the Box: The Future of Performing Arts Centre Design

Sunday 18 February 2024

In the past few decades, arts centre design has failed to respond to audience diversity, cultural difference and performance multiplicity. We see the same old stuff and audience numbers continue to decline. Is it due to a lack of flexibility in performance spaces? The drabness of dark, black spaces? Do these places turn their back on their communities?

The 2024 Stephen Ashton Address will bring together leading arts and cultural curators to explore contemporary trends in theatre and performance art and how architecture and design can encourage diverse audience engagement.

This event is presented in partnership with Open House Melbourne.


  • Hillary Glow: Dr Hilary Glow is a Professor in Arts and Cultural Management in the Department of Management, Deakin Business School. She is an author of books, book chapters and journal articles with a primary focus on research into arts audiences. Her research is also in the areas of arts and cultural impact, audience engagement and diversification, evaluation processes for arts/cultural organisations, and the impact of arts programs on people’s views of cultural diversity.
  • Sam Strong: Sam Strong is one of Australia’s most successful creative leaders, having held executive positions at Creative Victoria, Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Fringe and many other arts organisations. An award-winning theatre director, Sam has directed productions for all Australian state theatre companies, Belvoir, Griffin and the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane Festivals. He has also long championed new Australian works.
  • Joseph O’Farrell: Joseph O’Farrell (JOF) is a multi-art performer, producer, curator, musician and lecturer making work between Melbourne and London. JOF creates large-scale installation/theatre works with, and for, community that celebrates our diversity and brings people together in hilarious and unlikely situations.

Moderated by Ian McDougall: ARM Co-Founder and RAIA Gold Medal-winning architect. Ian was ARM’s director-in-charge for the design of the new Geelong Arts Centre Stage 3.

This event is supported by Dr Rosemary Nixon AM.

Book your free tickets here via Eventbrite.