Established in 1966, Arena is one of Australia’s longest-running producers of theatre for young people.

Arena’s longevity is a testament to our ongoing investigation of the central question “What is the role of performance for young people in today’s world?” Over almost-fifty-years the responses to this question have ranged from our modest beginnings performing school holiday shows, to our current incarnation as a leader in contemporary theatre practice.

In 2008 we launched an online history project detailing every Arena production between 1966 and 2008, based on archival materials and candid interviews with past Artistic Directors.

If you would like to read The Arena Story please email to have a copy sent to you.

Performances reach over 55 000 people
world premieres
14 world premieres, along with 15 return seasons of new Australian work
local seasons
23 local seasons and 4 regional Victorian tours, including partnerships with Melbourne Theatre Company, Arts Centre Melbourne, Malthouse Theatre, Arts House, Footscray Community Arts Centre, ArtPlay and Regional Arts Victoria
Seasons at 8 major Australian festivals - including the Melbourne Festival, Come Out Festival (Adelaide), Perth Festival and 16TH ASSSITEJ World Congress & Festival (Adelaide)
4 international tours and creative collaborations, including IPAY in Pittsburgh, New Visions New Voices at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and collaboration with Japanese Company Stringraphy Ensemble.
14 interstate tours including venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Riverside Theatres Parramatta.

Arena announces it will relocate to Bendigo to take up residence in The Engine Room Theatre, supported by Creative Victoria

Trapper World Premieres at Arts Centre Melbourne and receives Green Room Nominations for Best Ensemble and Best Lighting Design.

Sunny Ray and the Magnificent Moon is programmed for 4 seasons including a tour to New Zealand and two interstate tours to New South Whales.

Arena's East Gippsland Workshop Program is a key case study in an Australian Research Council Project - Creative Convergence, undertaken by the University of Melbourne.

Air Race continues development with support from Melbourne Theatre Company.

Creative development begins for Robot Song.

Arena hosts Caroline Horton and Emily Goddard as part of our International Residency Program.

Sunny Ray and the Magnificent Moon world premieres at Sydney Festival, followed by seasons at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and AWESOME Festival (Perth).

Cautionary Tales for Children enjoys a sold out season at the Sydney Opera House.

Arena travels to Tokyo to undertake a creative development with Japanese Company Stringraphy Ensemble.

Trapper undergoes further creative development ready for world premiere at the Arts Centre Melbourne in 2017.

East Gippsland Workshop Program doubles in size, expanding to include primary schools in the Orbost region. Students create Artificial Intelligences using live animation software.

First creative development of Air Race takes place, with support from Melbourne Theatre Company.

Arena moves from home of nine years on Dryburgh St, North Melbourne to share offices with St Martins Youth Arts Centre in South Yarra.

Cautionary Tales for Children (Mobile Version) enjoys seasons at SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival & Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Marlin tours to Bleach* Festival on the Gold Coast.

The Sleepover premieres at Arts Centre Melbourne

Arena undertakes an Extended Schools Residency with St Anthony's of Padua Primary School in Melton South, working with students to create Point of View - a site-specific work using augmented reality technology

Arena collaborates with Present Tense Ensemble on Common Ground - an engagement program working with SEDA Arts students culminating in a performance outcome at Footscray Community Arts Centre

East Gippsland Workshop Program continues with a new workshop built upon augmented reality technology created for the Extended Schools Residency delivered to four remote schools

Further creative development of mainstage work Trapper

Launch of new giving program Friends of Arena

Development of Sunny Ray & The Magnificent Moon for premiere at Sydney Festival in 2016

Arena Theatre Co Flock

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