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March 17, 2023

Leaving on a prayer: State Gov exits St Paul’s

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels tells CityMag the government is not renewing its lease on church-turned-nightclub-cum-creative-working-space St Paul's, as it has “limited disability access” and the city has a glut of existing coworking spaces.

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  • Words and pictures: Angela Skujins

After almost a decade at St Paul’s Church, the State Government has revealed it will not renew its rental lease for the 1860s-built structure on Pulteney Street, which the Weatherill Labor Government established as a hub for creative industries in 2014.

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels tells CityMag the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science has decided not to renew its lease from September this year for “several reasons”, including it being an “older building with limited disability access”.

“We also recognise that the landscape for creative co-working spaces has changed considerably since St Paul’s Creative Centre was opened in 2014 and there are now many industry-run spaces available all across Adelaide including The Mill and Mâché among others,” she says.

“The department is actively supporting tenants of St Paul’s to find an appropriate space for their business should that be required.”

Music SA announced on Facebook earlier this month it would move on from St Paul’s after seven years in the space, with the not-for-profit moving to Shop 4 Cinema Place in the East End.


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The organisation’s CEO, Christine Schloithe, tells CityMag the organisation knew for a number of months the multi-level building’s lease would expire later this year, and that “tenants have been given a very long notice period”.

“The timing of MusicSA’s move aligns with the organisation’s new strategic plan and we’re looking forward to settling into the East End and welcoming the industry to our new home,” she says.

Music SA hinted as early as January that it would be moving in a new operational direction, saying in a press release there would be “significant changes in 2023 for the SA music industry’s peak advocacy body”.

They did not elaborate on what what that direction would be when CityMag asked in January.

Music SA has been in its new East End location since 10 March, leaving behind the 160-year-old heritage building first constructed as a High Anglican Church, which served prominent colonial families from Bonython to Bray.

The venue was deconsecrated in 1983, and in 2010 transformed into a less-than-holy but aptly titled late-night venue Heaven Nightclub.

Four years later it underwent another shift, ditching the disco balls and becoming the State Government’s Creative Centre – a nebulous hub of music and creative-industry organisations, such as Music SA, the Music Development Office, and digital marketing company Made in Katana.

At the establishment of the Creative Centre, then-Premier Weatherill told CityMag it was intended to become a nexus where city culture and government support could meet.

A representative from the Music Development Office, which was also established nine years ago to support the growth of the local contemporary music scene, last week revealed at a public event they were moving out from the space, too.

The Jade performing a necessary social function: pouring morning coffee


Zac Coligan owns The Jade — a music and dining venue next door to St Paul’s. The Jade has been operating at this spot since 2014, same year the Creative Centre launched. It too is nestled in an old, 140-year-old building.

Zac — a performing musician himself — tells CityMag he found out two or three months ago his neighbours would be departing and is not sure what spurred on the flight or what the fate of the church will be.

But he does know Music SA in particular have been “great neighbours”, with the staff and former students patronising his venue for a curry, coffee or gig regularly.

“And the Music SA students always put shows on here and that as well; they do their end-of-year showcase,” Zac says.

He expects this bleed between his venue and arts workers will come to a halt, as Music SA’s new location is surrounded by a bevy of other venues.

“Once people move away, they don’t necessarily come back in a hurry,” Zac says.

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