Art and Culture
South Bank is Brisbane’s cultural epicentre with a thriving precinct of dedicated, world-class theatre, arts and educational institutions. Check out the precinct’s cultural institutions and what they offer you below.
The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) is a purpose-built convention centre and event venue in the heart of South Bank. The world-class and award-winning facility plays host to thousands of concerts, conventions, exhibitions and tradeshows, weddings and private functions every year. The centre is also home to Olio Café & Bar and Merivales Café Bar & Restaurant.
Adjacent to the South Brisbane Railway Station, and close to the Cultural Centre and South Bank Busway stations, BCEC is also easily accessible by taxi, City Cat (through the Parklands’ river terminals) and car. Onsite parking can be accessed from both Merivale Street and Grey Street. Call 07 3308 3000 for enquiries or visit their website for more information and details of upcoming events.
Queensland Maritime Museum
Situated at the southern end of South Bank Parklands, the Queensland Maritime Museum is one of Australia’s largest maritime museums. The museum’s collection features extensive collections of historical maritime artefacts, books, documents and photographs.
The Maritime Museum can facilitate school and group visits, holds regular events and exhibitions, and runs education and research programs. The space can also be hired for functions and weddings throughout the year. It’s open daily between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm with last admission at 3:30 pm. Head to their website for more details.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
For more than 30 years, Queensland Performing Arts Centre has showcased the best of local, national and international performing arts. QPAC is home to Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Opera Queensland. Sitting at the heart of South Bank’s Cultural Precinct, the centre has multiple venues designed for all types of performing arts including dance, music and theatre.
There is also an onsite restaurant (Lyrebird Restaurant), the Russell Street Wine Bar, The Cafe and The Bistro. Visit the Restaurants and Bars page on QPAC’s website for details of opening times and menus. Close to all public transport options, visitors can park at one of three convenient car parking facilities in the precinct. Visit QPAC’s website for more information.
Queensland Museum and Sciencentre
Queensland Museum is the state’s centre for natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. Home to permanent and changing exhibitions and collections, the museum also provides innovative public programs, educational experiences plus holiday and early child hood activities. The Queensland Museum is also home to the Sciencentre, where visitors can take part in exciting – and educational – kinetic and interactive displays and experiments.
The museum is close to all public transport and is just a short walk from Brisbane’s CBD and other South Bank cultural institutions. Open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm; visit their website for details such as ticket prices, how to become a member and further information on exhibitions and shows.
Australia’s most comprehensive tertiary music school, Queensland Conservatorium (Griffith University) offers courses in classical, opera and vocal performance, composition, jazz, new music, musical theatre, and electronic music.
‘The Con’, as it’s known colloquially, also holds regular recitals and concert events open to the public at the South Bank campus. Visit The Con’s website for a calendar of events and to buy tickets.
State Library of Queensland (SLQ)
The State Library of Queensland was founded in 1896 and is Queensland’s main site houses a range of collections made up of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, manuscripts and archives, maps, rare books, music, photographs, films and videos, and e-resources. These collections cover Queensland’s heritage, history, art, design and science. The library also holds community programs, showcases workshops and short courses, either for free or low price.
Onsite services and facilities include: computers and internet, free wi-fi access, microform printing and copying, standard copying and printing plus scanning. SLQ also have various rooms and venues for hire. Situated overlooking the Brisbane River between the Gallery of Modern and Queensland Art Gallery, the State Library is easily accessed via public transport and South Bank’s various paid parking lots. There is also a café and library shop onsite, open to the public daily. Visit SLQ’s website or call 07 3840 7666 for more information.
Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
QAGOMA is a single entity spread across two adjacent riverside locations in the Cultural Precinct. Holding a collection of more than 17,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art, the gallery stages a dynamic program of Australian and international exhibitions. QAGOMA is also home to a Children’s Art Centre, where young visitors can experience interactive artworks created by leading artists from around the world – in collaboration with QAGOMA. Australian Cinémathèque, inside Gallery of Modern Art, is Australia’s only dedicated art museum cinema facility.
With numerous cafes and retail outlets onsite, QAGOMA is also accessible by public transport, and paid car parking within the precinct. QAGOMA is open daily from 10am – 5pm; Entry to QAGOMA is free however some exhibitions and special events have an entry fee. The Children’s Art Centre is always free. For more information, visit QAGOMA’s website or call 07 3840 7303.
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Queensland Symphony Orchestra is Queensland’s only professional symphony orchestra and the largest performing arts company in the state. Every year the orchestra – renowned for its breathtaking performances – gives more than 157 live performances. Available for hire, QSO also regularly pops up throughout the Parklands, and various city locations, plus also has a regional community touring program.
The QSO’s home studio is situated in the ABC Building on the corner of Grey and Russell Streets, South Brisbane, easily accessible by publich transport. Paid car parking is available via South Bank Parklands, QPAC, as well as BCEC and Mater Hospital. Visit QSO’s website for more details.
Queensland Theatre Company
Queensland’s leading professional theatre company, Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) presents an annual season of plays open to the public.
QTC exists to promote and develop new and emerging playwrights, actors and performing arts professionals while inspiring a new generation of creatives through school performances, workshops and teacher training. Performances are held in the Company’s home studios (Bille Brown and Diane Cilento) and at Cremorne Theatre and the Playhouse at QPAC.
QTC’s spaces – including private meeting rooms, studios, bar and an outdoor garden space – are all available for hire. Contact Queensland Theatre Company on 1800 355 528 or visit QTC’s website for more information.