The 1870 Founders Theatre, opened in 1981, was built from funds raised through public appeal from the Ballarat Community and other interested organisations and companies. They had responded to an appeal which coincided with the centenary celebrations in 1970 of the School of Mines and Industries Ballarat, the tertiary division of which was subsequently incorporated into the Ballarat University College. The School of Mines was the first technical institution to be established in Australia having been founded in 1870. The theatre perpetuates the memory of the founders of the institution and indeed technical education in Australia. On 1 January, 1994, the University of Ballarat was created incorporating the Ballarat University College which is now dissolved.
This facility is used by the University for lectures, dramatic and musical presentations, graduation ceremonies and other official functions. It is also available for public hire. The Theatre is particularly ideal for stage presentations of many kinds, film screenings, conventions, conferences and public lectures.
The well-appointed and comfortable Auditorium has fixed seating for 660 persons. Of these 516 are at ground floor level and the remainder (144) on a balcony above. Disabled persons should have no difficulty in gaining access to the Hall as there are no stairs requiring negotiation by wheelchairs.
The stage is particularly designed to suit a wide variety of dramatic presentations. The stage area is 9.3 metres x 15 metres and the width of the proscenium arch is 15 metres. The stage is surmounted by a fly tower with a grid height of 7 metres. Currently 17 lines are fitted to the fly system with provision to fit up to 33 lines. Stage lighting is controlled by a switchboard operating through a flexible patching system. A professional standard audio system complements the excellent acoustics of the auditorium.
The University commends the use of the theatre in association with your musical, drama or conference activity.
Founders Theatre Booklet (pdf, 242kb)