The Palais: Geelong’s cultural heart and soul
In the newly refurbished Palais Geelong, general manager Meg Deyell greets people at the door, welcoming audiences to experience the best of Australian and international arts and entertainment.
“If you grew up in Geelong, you’ve heard of the Palais,” Meg said.
Just up the hill from GMHBA Stadium, this heart and soul of Geelong’s culture has been a world-class dance hall, a cinema, a bingo centre, and a music venue for iconic Australian artists such as
INXS, Cold Chisel and John Farnham.
Reopened in 2022 after extensive renovations, Palais Geelong continues to bring world-class artists and entertainers to our region.
Described by renowned musical director John Foreman as “one of the best stage managers in Australia”, Meg brings over 20 years’ experience working among Australia’s artistic elite to her role at the Palais.
Her love of multi-tasking under pressure and extensive network of industry contacts means she is perfectly placed to ensure the Palais has a bold and bright future.
“This building is such an integral part of Geelong’s history,” Meg said.
“It’s a huge privilege to now watch it take its place in the future of the city as well.
“With explosive growth happening across the region, and projected to increase, Geelong and the Bellarine are poised to become ‘must perform’ destinations for artists touring across the world.
The Palais will be right at the heart of that.”
Since reopening, the 350-seat art deco ballroom has already hosted the cream of Australia’s music industry.
As one of the region’s only private locally owned and operated arts venues, Meg feels it’s important that it retains its family atmosphere, where everyone is met at the door and welcomed in.
“It’s a benefit of being the size we are that I can have personal contact with our artists and audience,” she said.
“As I see audience members return show after show, I’m learning their names and faces, and they know mine.
“It’s wonderful to see patrons who initially came for a specific artist now coming because it’s ‘what’s on at the Palais’.
“We’ve been able to maintain such a high standard and a ‘welcome to our house’ family atmosphere at the same time.”
One of Australia’s favourite artists, Katie Noonan, spoke of this unique environment after her concert in January.
“From the get-go we felt so welcomed and looked after,” Katie said.
“We had a wonderful time performing to a full house and can’t wait to come back to your wonderful venue again.
I am so grateful you have ‘bought the old girl back to life’.”
Not easily daunted by the task of building a new arts venue in an historic icon, Meg has big plans for the Palais’ future.
“I think with a thriving program of national and international tours and supporting local artists, Geelong will quickly become ‘the place to play’,” she said.
“The Commonwealth Games in 2026 coincides with the Palais’ 100th birthday, so we will definitely be planning a huge party!”
For more information, head to palaisgeelong.com
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