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The Green Room

The departures lounge at Darwin International Airport is getting a tropical makeover and will transform into a pop-up venue, channelling vibes from Darwin Festival’s Festival Park and the original Hotel Darwin.

By Tamara Howie

The Green Room will turn the airport lounge into a mini oasis, complete with tropical entertainment on stage from Top End arts organisations.

Project manager Claire Punch says the move to create a dedicated arts venue inside the airport was possibly an Australian first.

“Brisbane Airport has some interesting art installations, while Melbourne has a pop-up bar in its terminal, but we are looking to create a pop-up space that specifically showcases NT arts. We aren’t aware of anything else to the scale and quality we’re creating,” she says.

The Airport is working with its partner arts organisations, including Tracks Dance, Brown’s Mart Theatre, the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, SPUN, Darwin Festival, the NT Travelling Film Festival and Darwin International Film Festival, to  program events through August and September to showcase NT arts and culture.

The Green Room was originally a working title for the space before the creators realised the former bar of the same name at Hotel  Darwin would be the perfect theme.

Punch says there is still a strong sense of nostalgia for the old bar within the community.

“When you start talking to people who were living here when the original Green Room was around, they have fond memories of it as a venue,” she says.

“It had all those qualities we love about Darwin – a relaxed atmos-phere and loungey environment in somewhere that was built for the tropics.

“There was cane furniture, lush tropical pot plants, hanging lights and louvred windows. There were many beautiful design elements we can draw on today.”

The fit-out will pay homage to the original space, with a modern twist. Performances on stage and across digital screens will pop up at peak times.

NT Airports’ CEO and Chair of  Darwin Festival, Ian Kew, is keen to see the space come to life.

“We want to create an environment that is reminiscent of old Dar-win, the original Green Room and Festival Park – lively, engaging and entertaining. It needs to reflect our unique Territorian story, not only for passengers, but also for locals dropping off family and friends,” he says.

Tracks Dance director Adelaide Wood says Top End travellers will get a teaser of their Darwin Festival show, In Your Blood, on August 3 at the airport.

“The Festival show this year is performed on an area 26 meters long, so we’re resizing it to fit on a six metre stage and will perform a section of it at the airport,” she says.

“It’s about things that are in your blood – your bloodlines, your family and things you’re passionate about, like sport,” Wood says.

Wood says it’s exciting to see the airport used in a unique way.

“It’s a really fascinating concept,” she says.

“It’s great to think Darwin Airport is having this initiative that no other airport has had.”

“I think it’s going to really take passengers by surprise and they’re not going to expect the level of production that’s going to happen.”

Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) general manager Kate Stephens says travellers will be treated to a performance by a string quartet.

“We’re looking to provide a variety of styles,” she says.

“For this space it’s important that we engage with a number of genres to keep different audiences engaged, and we like to be playful with our repertoire.”

Stephens says the DSO is very excited about the opening of The Green Room.

“It introduces the unique local flavour that we have in the Territory and it’s a terrific opportunity to showcase the local talent we have here.”

Producer Amy Hetherington has been busy organising live music for every Friday lunchtime, and special shows through August and Sep-tember across spoken word, dance, classical music and film.

Alice Springs-based live-looping cellist Xavia will bring her modern-folk tunes to the airport for Darwin Festival.

Aug & Sep | Darwin International Airport | facebook.com/the-green-room-darwin-airport

Top: Artist’s rendering by DKJ Projects. Architecture 2018. 

Second, banner and thumbnail: Bert Wiedemann, ‘Hotel Darwin’; PH0730/1969, Northern Territory Government Photographer Slide Collection, Northern Territory Library. 

Third: In Your Blood, Tracks Dance; image by Mark Marcelis

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