A New Performing Arts Experience at the Hedberg

Since its completion in September, the Hedberg provides music and arts students at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), with the ability to rehearse, create and collaborate in state-of-the-art facilities. Located in the heart of inner-city Hobart, the Hedberg is equipped with world-class recording studios, rehearsal spaces and recital halls that aim to bring community together to celebrate the creative efforts of local students.

Named after the Hedberg Brothers Garage, originally built on the site in 1925, this AU$110 million initiative has provided lecturers and students with brand new facilities to maximise on their learning and performance.

Third-year music student Naomi Dickers, has found the move from the Conservatorium to the Hedberg to be a challenging experience that has allowed her to spend more time focusing on her instrument. Whilst initially the winding corridors and six floors proved to be a challenge, she found that “it has been a lot of fun exploring all the new spaces and thinking about all the possibilities for creative projects at the Hedberg”.

Complications from moving campuses during a global pandemic, mean that the Hedberg is still under some construction, with Naomi explaining that students were initially required to “switch classrooms and practice spaces in order to accommodate everyone. It was a juggling act to begin with, but as more spaces were completed things have run more smoothly.” A return to on-campus learning in 2021 has eased these disruptions, with a return to the creative collaboration and performance that the Hedberg was designed to encourage.

A shared space within the Theatre Royal, hints at the possibility of future partnerships between these two spaces as performances begin to open to the wider public throughout the year. Encompassing the historic Theatre Royal, the Hedberg adds a contemporary contrast to this building, whilst still maintaining the site’s heritage and creative past.

Endless rehearsal spaces line the hallways of the Hedberg, each catering to a variety of instruments and media, providing students with areas to come together to rehearse and master their art. The tall, timber ceilings provide the illusion of endless possibilities, with the sound of music and creativity drifting through each room.

The Ian Potter Recital Hall is a space for both student and audience to come together to celebrate the work of students. With a world-class sound system and cutting-edge live streaming technology, this is the perfect space for audiences around Tasmania to share in the creative talents of our students.

This space is a personal favourite for Naomi as “it’s always an enjoyable space to perform in. Many of the conservatorium ensembles use the recital hall to rehearse, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of concerts, recitals, and performances held there in the future”.

The rooftop balcony with sweeping views of the city below, is an idyllic place for students to mingle and relax between classes and provides a welcome reprieve to the hustle and bustle of the city below. Lined with seating, and a lavish red carpet, this space perfectly matches the creative energy of the Hedberg building and is sure to be the centre of many events in the future.

Since commencing classes in the Hedberg, Naomi has enjoyed the added capacity for large creative projects, working with students across all disciplines to create major pieces that perfectly utilise the new facilities available. Widespread collaboration with “the skills of staff and students from several different streams, including composition, commercial music creation, music technology, and performance” is something that she is looking forward to working on in her future at the Hedberg.

As students are beginning to learn at the Hedberg and take full advantage of the new facilities available, Naomi remarked that students would enjoy seeing the inclusion of more soundproof rooms for rehearsing, and wider student access hours to the building. But she reiterates that “the most important part of my degree is not the space in which I complete it, but the quality of my learning, the calibre and dedication of the teachers and staff, and the opportunities I have to grow along the way”.

The world-class facilities at the Hedberg, provide UTAS students across all disciplines with state-of-the-art technology that will certainly be enjoyed by students and staff for many years to come.

Photography by Sarah Davy