ARENA Theatre expects an influx of tourists to the region after landing a huge $602,700 grant to turbocharge a struggling arts industry.
Artistic director Christian Leavesley said the youth-focused company is "absolutely ecstatic" by the win.
The federal funding will allow the company to bring together specialist artists to create a large augmented reality adventure in which people will be able to walk from room to room, plunging into a completely new world through every door.
The exact location is still to be revealed but Mr Leavesley said it would be "a large spot".
"We are planning the narrative and the plot on boards at the moment but it is still top secret," he said.
"It will be a year or so before performances begin, so obviously we don't want to give anything away too soon."
Theatre-goers will bring each room to life with iPads or their mobiles, though there could be some virtual reality technology used, as well as other high-tech design tricks, Mr Leavesley said.
The project will also be a boon for an arts sector still rebuilding after the pandemic.
Mr Leavesley said it would bring together artists with a wide set of skills.
"They will be from all over because this is such a unique project. There is nothing quite like this in Melbourne right now and not much in the rest of the country," he said.
Arena also hopes to set up a workshop in Bendigo which can connect artists with local school students, Mr Levesley said.
The students' ideas might even make it into the final performance, depending on how the creative process can come together, he said.
YOUTH theatre group Arena Theatre Co will get $602,700 in a major federal grant designed to help arts groups move on from COVID-19.
The money will go towards a "creative experience" the group will form for people outside metropolitan areas, to experience immersive digital art through an attraction known as Journey.
Arena Theatre recently put on a virtual reality performance "inside a beating heart" to coincide with Bendigo's Pride Festival.
Students from Bendigo schools partnered with Arena and the University of Melbourne for the performances.
It was the first time Arena had made such a performance a public one.
The Bendigo-based group is among three regional Victorian groups sharing in $25 million in federal government funding.
The Castlemaine Art Museum will get $267,750 to produce 'Future Beacon', funding seven artist's commissions of projections onto the exterior facade of the building.
Geelong's Platform Youth Arts Inc will get $269,000 to champion young western Victorian artists' works.
Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson announced $1.1 million in grants on Friday morning.
"This significant funding for these projects will support the financial viability of our creative and cultural organisations and allow all Australians, including those living in regional and remote Australia, to experience a diverse range of high-quality arts events and activities," she said.
More to come.
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