29 Nov 2023

TheatreQuip counterweight system for The Play House, Geelong Arts Centre

The Geelong Arts Centre’s Play House theatre has been given a full technical theatre equipment upgrade to bring the theatre infrastructure in line with the recently completed Little Malop Street Development and the associated theatre venues.  

“This is a significant installation,” said Peter Grisard, Manager of Venue Engineering at The P.A. People. “There are some real advantages of a front-loading counterweight system, both from a functional perspective i.e. weights are loaded from the front, and not from the side as many others are. From a safety perspective, the entire system is contained within a frame which is often not the case. We are pleased that the TheatreQuip system provides a fit-for-purpose solution, complementing the overall functionality of the redeveloped Venue.”

Project Outline


As well as new counterweight flying equipment, the Play House has a new audio sound system, production lighting, stage communications and a refurbished stage elevator. In addition, emergency electrical infrastructure upgrades, replacement house and work lighting and a general refresh to the back of house circulation finishes has given a new life to the original theatre on the campus. Refreshing a 40+ year old theatre always presents challenges due to the unforeseen and unknown conditions of the building, but Geelong Arts Centre’s refresh has gifted the Play House a well-earned new lease on life and offered presenting companies and technical staff an amazing upgrade to their beloved theatre. 

A Much-Loved Cultural Asset

The inclusion of a balcony in the design of this 764-seat proscenium arch theatre provides a warm, magical atmosphere popular with performers and audiences alike. With a full fly tower, excellent technical facilities, spacious dressing rooms and Green Room area makes the theatre suitable for a wide variety of large events. The venue is extensively used for live theatre, major concerts, dance performances, and corporate launches.


Multiple redevelopments have seen grand improvements the The Play House including refurbishment of the auditorium with all seating replaced. Most recently the theatre received upgraded technical systems including the installation of new digital dimmer racks and lighting outlets, a new PA system with centre and side arrays on power winches, and a new single purchase front loading counterweight flying system, significantly increasing the capacity of each line set.

The lift control system in the forestage orchestra pit features significant safety enhancements. A new mobile Stage Management Console provides talkback, paging and program relay to all backstage areas.                       


Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.