Taking centre stage in Bendigo, the transformation of Bendigo’s Gaol to Ulumbarra Theatre has delivered a collaborative and dramatic entertainment and cultural space to the community. Ulumbarra – meaning gather together or meeting place in the language of the Dja Dja Wurrung people reflects the original indigenous use of the site as a lookout and meeting place.
The design of the theatre draws on the prison’s heritage and inverts its relationship with the community.
To the north, the new public face of the centre opens out onto Gaol Road; inviting visitors through a break in the old gaol wall. The Theatre’s fly tower and contemporary facilities are deliberately located to rear of the site to encourage patrons through the heart of the former prison and into the central hall which connects Ulumbarra’s old and new spaces. Ulumbarra’s plan allows for various occupants to work simultaneously either as independent users or in collaboration.