A Guide to Adelaide’s Thriving Theatre Scene

Adelaide, the cultural heart of South Australia, is a city known for its rich arts and entertainment scene. Among the numerous cultural delights it offers, the theatre stands out as a vibrant and thriving medium of expression. If you find yourself in this beautiful city and are keen on experiencing the magic of live performances, then this guide is tailor-made for you. 

From historical theatres to modern playhouses, Adelaide boasts a diverse range of theatrical experiences that cater to all tastes and preferences. Let’s embark on a journey through Adelaide’s thriving theatre scene, exploring its key aspects and highlighting the must-visit venues and performances.

The Historical Gems: Resplendent Theatres with Rich Histories in Adelaide

There are several historical gems that continue to shine brightly in the entertainment Adelaide scene. Here are some of the available choices.:

1. Adelaide Festival Centre: The Iconic Cultural Hub

At the heart of Adelaide’s arts and entertainment precinct lies the Adelaide Festival Centre, an iconic cultural hub that houses several theatres, including the renowned Festival Theatre. Established in 1973, the Festival Centre has played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s theatre landscape. Designed by architect Sir Roy Grounds, the Festival Theatre is a masterful blend of form and function, with its striking white geometric facade and state-of-the-art facilities.

The Festival Theatre’s interior is equally awe-inspiring, with its plush red seating, excellent sightlines, and impeccable acoustics. Over the years, this grand venue has hosted a plethora of performances, from Broadway musicals and ballets to concerts and theatrical productions. It has welcomed esteemed artists from around the world, captivating audiences with unforgettable experiences that resonate long after the final curtain call.

2. Her Majesty’s Theatre: A Victorian Gem

Step into a bygone era at Her Majesty’s Theatre, a Victorian-era gem that has been an integral part of Adelaide’s theatre history since its opening in 1913. Designed by architects Frank Matcham and George Selth Coppin, this magnificent venue exudes timeless elegance with its ornate detailing, regal facade, and opulent interiors.

Her Majesty’s Theatre has witnessed a diverse range of performances over the decades, from vaudeville and operettas to contemporary dramas and musicals. Its enduring charm and warm ambiance continue to enchant theatregoers, making it a beloved destination for those seeking an authentic vintage theatre experience.

3. The Old Adelaide Gaol: Theatre Behind Bars

The Old Adelaide Gaol, a former prison that once housed some of South Australia’s most notorious criminals, has undergone a captivating transformation to become a unique theatrical venue. Located in the heart of the city, this historical site has found a new purpose as a performance space, allowing audiences to witness riveting dramas and immersive theatrical experiences in a setting steeped in history.

The juxtaposition of the Old Adelaide Gaol’s austere architecture with the raw emotions portrayed on stage creates an unforgettable theatrical encounter, leaving patrons with a sense of both awe and trepidation. The adaptability of this historical site showcases the dynamism of Adelaide’s theatre community in repurposing heritage locations for artistic expression.

4. The Capri Theatre: An Art Deco Marvel

The Capri Theatre, an Art Deco marvel nestled in the suburb of Goodwood, is a true testament to the enduring allure of vintage cinema and theatre. Originally opened in 1941, this single-screen cinema captures the essence of a bygone era with its classic facade, striking neon lights, and charming foyer.

While primarily a cinema, The Capri Theatre occasionally transforms into a theatrical stage, hosting performances that pay homage to the golden age of entertainment. The timeless charm of this historical venue, combined with its commitment to preserving the magic of cinema, makes it a cherished destination for cinephiles and theatre enthusiasts alike.

Preserving the Past, Enchanting the Present

As the sun sets over Adelaide, these historical theatres come alive with the echoes of countless performances and the laughter of audiences long past. Preserving the architectural heritage and artistic legacies of these venues is a testament to Adelaide’s commitment to nurturing its vibrant theatre scene and embracing its cultural roots.

Visiting these historical gems in Adelaide is more than just witnessing a performance; it’s stepping into a living piece of history, connecting with the artistic endeavours of generations gone by, and feeling the profound impact of theatre as an art form that continues to captivate hearts and minds.

So, whether you’re a seasoned theatre enthusiast or a curious explorer of Adelaide’s cultural treasures, the historical theatres in this charming city promise an enchanting journey through time, leaving you with unforgettable memories of splendid performances and a deep appreciation for the enduring magic of live theatre.


Entertainment in Adelaide is synonymous with a vibrant theatre scene that caters to every taste, from classic performances to groundbreaking experimental shows. The city’s historical theatres stand as symbols of its artistic legacy, while contemporary venues push the boundaries of creativity. Festivals like the Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival transform the city into a cultural extravaganza, and diverse, inclusive productions embrace the richness of Australia’s heritage.

As you immerse yourself in Adelaide’s theatre wonderland, you’ll witness the power of live performances to inspire, entertain, and provoke thought. So, whether you’re a seasoned theatre enthusiast or a curious newcomer, Adelaide’s thriving theatre scene eagerly awaits your presence in the audience, ready to enchant you with its magic.

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