The proposed $128-million Tamworth Performing Arts Centre and Cultural Precinct took a significant step forward with the Tamworth Regional Council voting to begin the process to engage a lead architect to design the project.

The proposal for the new precinct was first initiated in 2017, with the detailed concept design, capital cost estimates and business operating budget prepared by William Ross Architects receiving approval in 2019. At the meeting on 23 February 2021, the Councillors have agreed to call for expressions of interest to appoint a lead architect for the proposed precinct.

Committed to providing arts and cultural facilities that meet the needs of the community, Tamworth Regional Council had leased the Capitol Theatre in 2008 to serve as the town’s performing arts venue. The lease for the Capitol Theatre is due to expire in 2023.

“The Capitol has proved that a live theatre is crucial to the cultural fabric of the city and region. It has delivered positive social and economic outcomes but has some constraints with what it can deliver. We now look towards planning a community-owned asset that can support the growth of our region's cultural and social offering as well as help attract new residents and professionals and be a drawcard for visitors,” the Council stated.

According to the Council, the new dedicated performing arts centre co-located with the existing Tamworth Library and Tamworth Regional Gallery will deliver a cultural precinct that meets the needs of the Tamworth community and greater region for the next 50 years and beyond, creating a community asset for the future.

The new Performing Arts Centre and Cultural Precinct will include a 600-seat main theatre, a 200-seat studio theatre, 2 large rehearsal/breakout/function rooms, a 150-seat cafe/restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a forecourt area running across the front of the library and gallery to the cafe/restaurant, an inner city conference and seminar venue to accommodate up to 600 participants, a professional recording studio, a large light-filled entrance foyer, a community meeting room, and an outdoor event space among others.

The venue will also house the Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music as well as commercial tenants including ABC Radio New England North West.

The site for the new performing arts centre is located at 468 - 474 Peel Street, Tamworth.