Princess Theatre - Queensland's oldest theatre supports Brisbane's thriving arts scene

For more than 130 years, the Princess Theatre has been a Brisbane landmark, housing everything from a picture theatre, an engineering firm and a rag merchant throughout its colourful history.

Following meticulous renovations, the Princess Theatre reopened to the public in 2021 under the helm of The Tivoli operators Steve Sleswick, Dave Sleswick and Simon Waide, and Brisbane businessman Steve Wilson.

Following the reopening, the Woolloongabba theatre has hosted some of the country’s most iconic artists from The Whitlams, Spiderbait, Meg Mac, Archie Roach, Matt Corby, Baker Boy, Sunnyboys, Julia Jacklin and many more.

The arts can change a city

Managing Director Steve Sleswick said music, theatre, and the arts have a massive impact on making Brisbane a great place to live.

“I think a vibrant live music and cultural scene makes the city as a whole a more exciting place to live,” he said.

“The most enjoyable travel experiences I’ve had, are the ones where there’s a lively creative scene.

“We’re trying to play a role in making Brisbane a cooler, livelier, and more exciting city, and live music and the arts plays a really big role in that.”

In 2022 the team’s hard work was recognised when the Princess Theatre took home a win at the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

The theatre was awarded the ISPT Award for Investment in Brisbane, an award that acknowledges the benefits companies bring to the city when they set up a new division or project.

“The restoration of the Princess was a high profile project that had a lot of positive support as the local community wants to see these places brought back to life”

“This award for us is more about live music and the arts being elevated and recognised more than it is about personal notoriety.”

“The project was done during really challenging circumstances, the building came up for sale in February 2020, then a month later we went into lockdown.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction in taking a risk because you believe in something, especially during a very challenging time, and then seeing it succeed in the way it has.”

Live entertainment across the country hit pause when the pandemic struck, but as restrictions began to lift, Princess Theatre quickly became a favourite for artists and performers looking to book a venue in Brisbane.

“People really missed live music during the pandemic and they’re making up for it en masse which is great to see.”

Looking to the future

The Princess Theatre’s owners bring together a wealth of experience across arts and business to make a winning combination for the business.

Steven Wilson AM is a titan of Brisbane business with more than 30 years in the investment industry alongside a history of helping community sports organisations grow and advance.

Dave Sleswick has been the creative director at the Tivoli Theatre in Fortitude Valley since 2016, bringing a completely unique venue to Brisbane’s arts scene.

Rounding out the Tivoli partnership, Steve Sleswick and Simon Waide bring their business and entrepreneurial backgrounds to Brisbane’s arts and business sectors to give the Princess Theatre it’s winning edge.

Now is an exciting time to be in Brisbane as the city moves towards the 2032 Olympics says Steve Sleswick.

“The momentum of the Olympics is really palpable in Brisbane generally, and particularly our industry. There’s a lot of confidence and people want to make things happen” he said.

“I think there’s a wave to be ridden over the next 10 years.

“If you’re in a business that stands to benefit from the games then I think it’s a really good time to invest and back yourself.”

Date posted:
Last updated: 23 January 2023
Topics: business

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.