Architect: Emerald Hill Total Abstinence Society, 1863
The Temperance Hall was built in 1863 by the Emerald Hill Total Abstinence Society, one of the influential temperance movements that shaped social life in nineteenth-century Melbourne. In its early days, the hall was also used by a large number of social clubs, political parties and societies, and hosted alcohol-free concerts, dances and performances. Anthill Theatre made the space their home in the 1980s and from that point the building has had an association with the performing arts.
Since 2016 Temperance Hall has been home to leading Australian dance and interdisciplinary arts company Phillip Adams BalletLab and their performances, and hosts a curated program of ground-breaking contemporary performance and other arts events. The building comprises a main hall, two artist studios, offices and an apartment, and hosts activities including arts creation and rehearsals, residencies, exhibitions, performances, community events and private functions. While Temperance Hall has been lovingly restored, much of the building remains in its original condition, from the studio’s mosaic of layers of pastel colours showing through the cracked and fading paint work to the grand stained-glass window in the main hall.
Photos: 1 – Kristina Arnott, 2+3 – Jeff Busby, 4 – Sarah Walker.
Originally created for BalletLab performance works including EVER, Aviary, Glory, Brindabella, Kingdom and Amplification, these wondrous curios have never been shared with the public outside of performance seasons, currently hidden away in BalletLab’s archive storage.
Wunderkammer’s exhibited pieces are works of art in their own right, designed and made by Phillip Adams and a raft of exceptional artists working across costume design, visual art and other practices, including Toni Maticevsk, Paul Yore, Akira Isogawa, The Huxleys, Richard Nylon, Matthew Bird, and Graham Green.
Experience the detail and fine craft of the individual costume and set pieces, watch footage of the performance works they were created for, and read anecdotal reflections about their conception and creation provided by Artistic Director Phillip Adams.
Enjoy an unprecedented insight into the artistic process of one of Australia’s boldest dance and cross-disciplinary artists and his collaborators, as Phillip unpicks the webs of inspiration drawn from queer culture, pop culture, fine art, fashion and other disciplines that informed these objects’ creation.
FREE, no bookings required.
Explore the Phillip Adams BalletLab Wunderkammer – a digital 360° exhibition of strange and beautiful costumes, set design pieces and art objects created over BalletLab’s 20-year history, set in the Temperance Hall studio.
Take the tour below.