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Saturday 25 May 2019

MONA unveils new entertainment precinct in Hobart CBD

The operators of Hobart's MONA are to open a new 24-hour entertainment precinct in Hobart city centre.

After two years of planning, Melbourne’s Riverlee and MONA's DarkLab have announced a new $5 million cultural and entertainment district to be known as ‘In the Hanging Garden’.

Encompassing nearly an entire city block, ‘In the Hanging Garden’ will be a live music and cultural precinct opening at 8pm on June 5 to coincide with the start of the 2019 Dark Mofo festival. 

After the festival concludes, the precinct will remain open and operated by DarkLab year-round, seven days a week.

The first stage of the development has the Odeon Theatre at its heart and encompasses the renovated former Tattersall’s Hotel, and extensive outdoor dining, beer garden, and entertainment areas with food trucks, rotating pop-up kitchens and night markets.

The precinct fronts Liverpool Street, Watchorn Street, and Murray Street.

Riverlee development director David Lee said: "“It was actually David’s [Walsh] suggestion that at first, we open up our doors and let the city in. We agreed that before we can design a ‘cultural’ precinct for the people, we first need to bring the people into the precinct - to give them the opportunity to explore the site, interact with the space, and to create their own culture.

“It has been an enjoyable journey thus far, and we are both excited and humbled with the opportunity to partner with DarkLab on this project, to deliver something truly unique for the city. And with our partners, we are committed to our vision - to transform this site into a vibrant cultural precinct for the city and the people of Hobart.”

DarkLab director Leigh Carmichael said if Hobart is to assert its reputation as a cultural leader in Australia, these types of projects are essential.

“We have a vision for this site to become a significant cultural facility in the heart of Hobart," he said. "We hope it inspires a reinvigorated CBD, and that other businesses can also capitalise. There is momentum building in Hobart at present, and this project has the potential to be a game-changer for the city centre.”

The Odeon Theatre will feature live music at weekends with a capacity of 1200, while there will be outdoor dining, a beer garden and pop-up kitchens seven days a week. 

Altar will offer live music on ground floor of former Tattersall’s Hotel, while High Altar will be a nightclub on the first floor. 

After Dark Mofo concludes, the Odeon will be programmed and operated by DarkLab, with an increase in programming from a dedicated team. Post-festival programs will be announced in July.

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