Camden's Civic Centre is getting a makeover!
After several years of planning and consultation with our key users, we're excited to have recently been successful in obtaining grant funding and then submitting a Development Application.
As we progress through project stages this page will be updated with news, so please click on + Follow above to ensure you stay informed.
Camden Civic Centre hosts a multitude of local, state and national events each year.
The venue is incredibly versatile hosting cultural and civic events with 6 different rooms but it is looking tired, has some defects that need to be addressed and could be improved for better community use.
The upgrade works will:
- Provide better connection from John Street to the Centre,
- Increase provision of affordable multipurpose art making and community spaces,
- Improve customer experience for visitors and clients,
- Make the building more functional with improvements to acoustics, storage, back of house spaces, stormwater and more,
- Increase capacity to attract and service touring exhibitions and performances,
- Create outdoor areas suitable for multi-purpose use,
- Attract visitors to Camden by extending the diverse range of activities and shows at the Centre, and
- Reinforce the Civic Centre's position within the cultural heart of the Camden Town Centre.
Artist impression of the renewed Centre as a Cultural Hub.
Take a look at the elements that we will be improving.
Corner Oxley and Mitchell Streets, Camden
A number of consultations have been undertaken since 2017 which support the work being undertaken.
- ongoing user group and key stakeholder meetings,
- business and community workshops,
- public displays at Camden Show and Argyle Street,
- Creative Collab discussions, and
- feedback from clients, hirers and performers
Some of these were specifically focused on the Civic Centre but others were conducted when developing Camden's Urban Design Framework.
This project is jointly funded by Council's COVID-19 Community Support Package and the NSW State Government WestInvest Program.
The Civic Centre will need to close while construction works are underway. Subject to a successful DA approval we will develop a works program with the contractor engaged to undertake the construction.
This information will be shared with hirers and community members as soon as available.
Want to see a performance or event before the makeover? Check out what's on at www.camdenciviccentre.com.au
The aim of the project is to increase access and participation through provision of fit for purpose, well-equipped, affordable, and accessible spaces that support economic growth for Camden as the community continues to grow and diversify.
- Better connect the Centre with the John Street Cultural Precinct
- Increase provision of affordable multipurpose art making and community spaces
- Improve customer experience for visitors and clients
- Improve function within the centre including acoustics, storage, back of house spaces, stormwater, and leaks
- Attract and service touring exhibitions and performances
- Increase number of hireable spaces at the Centre
- Create outdoor areas suitable for multi-purpose use including performance
- Improved accessibility to the Centre
- Improve general well-being and engagement of the community
- Attract visitors to Camden by extending the diverse range of activities and shows at the Centre
- Reinforce the Civic Centre’s position within the cultural heart of the Camden Town Centre
Reclaiming and activating unused and underutilised space indoors and surrounding the venue, the project will provide additional meeting space, improved break out facilities, exhibition infrastructure, and service areas that support large scale community and cultural events, and improved engagement with artists and creatives attracting larger audiences to the town, supporting heightened activity.
Key additions and Improvements include:
- Upgrade to performance and touring capacity
- Art exhibition, studio, and workshop spaces
- Digital collection management
- Art storage facilities
- Outdoor performance spaces
- Wet floor arts practice spaces
- Dedicated digital studio space.
The Civic Centre has been well loved by the Camden community for over 40 years, the centre is in need of some love to bring the finishes and specs to a higher standard, in keeping with community expectations.
In addition, the renewal will expand hireable spaces to increase availability of a range of multipurpose spaces, including spaces which are suitable for use as wet maker spaces, in response to an increasing community demand.
Further to this, the identified upgrades will improve the capacity of the venue to attract high quality programs providing a higher quality audience experience, enhancing the capacity of the venue to receive touring programs and ability to generate increased income associated with higher profile artists, to further enable subsidised hire for community arts
- Community groups and networks
- Private hirers
- Corporate clients
- Artist and Creatives – All genres
- Touring artist and performers
- Council groups
- Audience – local and visiting
- Special interest groups
Arts and culture facility: The transformation will increase the venue’s capacity to meet demand, providing increased opportunity for social connection and improved well-being. In a pre-COVID context, the venue delivered up to 1,000 events a year, including corporate, civic, community, and cultural events. The Civic Centre, a 40-year-old venue, is significant to the community as a place to connect, showcase and celebrate, a place where community belong. The proposed upgrades and improvements will increase venue useability and usage, increase the number of bookable spaces, and improve the capacity of the facility to provide an improved audience experience, building capacity for delivery of a more diverse program of community and cultural events.
High Street Activation: Camden Civic Centre Upgrade is part of a suite of Camden Town Centre Projects to improve the public domain and existing community and cultural infrastructure to encourage increased activation throughout the historic town centre. As part of this package, the venue, as a cultural hub, will provide an increase in available cultural space, setting the foundation for improved access and participation for local and regional communities. Situated in the heart of the Town Centre, the venue interlinks with key cultural facilities, the high streets of Camden, and destinations such as Camden Town Farm and Bicentennial Equestrian Park. As a hub, the venue will contribute to an enlivened and activated town centre, bringing economic value to surrounding businesses, improved opportunity for employment, and an improved and engaging program of activations for the enjoyment of regional audiences and visitors to Camden.
Community Infrastructure: When built, the Civic Centre provided Camden with the largest community facility in the area, suitable for a variety of users from corporate to community. With time, the venue has grown tired and dated, and the population more diverse. The proposed strategic investment will renew essential elements of the Centre and, through reclaim and repurpose of space both indoors and outdoors, improve capacity and opportunity for the community to interact and engage daily, thereby improving liveability for community and visitors to the region.
There will be an increased amount of physical access for people with for different levels of mobility e.g., lifts, ramps. The existing entry stairs will be removed, and accessible entry will be maintained from the carpark through new path network.
- Dedicated concierge, customer service and box office interface at the entry to the facility
- Re-purpose of existing office space to new improved bar space
- Increase internal foyer spaces by enclosing existing balcony
- Improved wayfinding directional signage
- Improved aesthetics, lighting, furnishings, and exhibition systems
- Provision of a back of house service corridor
- Repair of aging infrastructure including the skylight
Improvements to the auditorium include:
- Stage refurbishment
- Floor resurfacing
- Replacement of aged equipment including grand piano
- Acoustic wall and ceiling panelling and entry doors
- Exhibition and lighting system improvements
- Aesthetic improvements
- Audio visual improvements
Improvements to the gallery include:
- Removal of dance floor
- Acoustic treatments including carpet underlay, wall and ceiling panelling and entry doors
- New flooring – carpet continuous with entry foyer
- Exhibition and lighting system improvements
- Increased prominence of entry / exit point from the gallery to the entry forecourt
- Storage improvements
- Upgrade to wall finishes and exhibition systems
- The extension of loading dock to accommodate access for larger productions
- Additional storage spaces
- Improved emergency access and egress
- Improved waste functionality
- Improved access to waste and recycling bins
- Create a new entry way oriented towards the John St Cultural Precinct
- Provide accessible entry to the venue from both John and Oxley Streets
- Landscaping treatments to improve access and visibility between the Centre and Cultural Precinct on John Street
- Memorial to be retained but relocated within the space
- Improved access, safety and visibility between the Centre and John Street
- Provision of creative expression spaces
- Integration of the Civic Centre with the upcoming John Street Public Domain and Activation project
- Creation of new outdoor terrace
- Remove existing entry stairs
- Introduction of outdoor performance spaces and vehicle drop and ride kerb.
- Accessible entry will be maintained from the carpark through new path network
- Remove access to existing stairway to the lower level
- Enclose veranda space to extend internal spaces
- Improved aesthetics and functionality
- Convert the existing foyer to an additional bookable space
- Creation of digital makerspace
- Extend polished concrete flooring treatment
- New exhibition and lighting systems
- Signage and wayfinding improvements
- Aesthetic improvements and renovations to bathrooms and kitchen
Surrounded by the heritage district, the venue has adequate adjacent parking and is easily accessible. The carpark has disabled parking provisions and an easy access drop-off point.
The Landscape design includes:
- Significant net increase of trees
- Wayfinding signage from all access points
- Relocation of the RSL Memorial
- Ramp access from John and Oxley St
- Proposed sculpture
- Sandstone edging
- Additional bench seating
- Paving consistent with Camden Town Centre design palette
- Landscaping and planting
Improvements to safety include:
- External lighting
- Replacement of stage accessible lift
- Improved wayfinding and directional signage from all access points
- Improved access pathways including ramp access points
- Ramp access from John and Oxley St
- Improved storage facility for furniture and equipment
- Improved visibility between Civic Centre and Precinct
- Improved internal lighting
- Removal of front stairwell
- Removal of stairwell to lower level
The Camden Civic Centre is a part of the Camden Town Centre, which is the historical centre of Camden LGA, retaining much of its rural history, heritage buildings and cultural infrastructure. Residents and visitors enjoy its heritage and historic character, cultural and recreational precinct, natural assets, and range of eateries and boutiques along a network of high streets and arcades. The Camden Town Centre projects are situated in various locations across the town centre and, together, form a holistic approach to transforming the area to enhance its vibrancy, community connection and economic opportunities.
The project will establish the Camden Civic Centre as a cultural hub at the heart of Camden’s emerging Cultural Precinct, consisting of the Alan Baker Art Gallery, the original School of Arts, which is now Camden Library and Museum, and heritage façades of the Camden Town Centre. The redevelopment realigns the Centre’s entry point to John Street, leveraging the cultural heritage of the Camden Town Centre and better connecting with adjacent cultural facilities. This will support engagement with nearby stakeholders and further activation of the public domain