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It began life as a brewery in 1892 – but these days the Malthouse is a theatre. Once they removed the barley crusher and the kegs there was room to build three large performance spaces: the 500-seat Merlyn, the 175-seat Beckett and the 100-seat Tower Theatre. Thanks to the acclaimed Malthouse Theatre Company, the year-round program is packed with contemporary productions at affordable prices. And yes, you can order a beer at the cafe. 113 Sturt St, Southbank | au | 03 9685 5111 | Adult from $10

If things get crazy when lunatics take over the asylum, they definitely get entertaining when actors take over the theatre! Red Stitch’s programming is decided according to what plays the actors most want to perform, so audiences get to see groundbreaking, ensemble-based works that are rarely staged by larger companies. Buying an annual subscription is a good way to support the theatre, and it also gets you $10 off the regular ticket price. Rear, 2 Chapel St, St Kilda | | 03 9533 8083 | Adult from $14



When you’re committed to fearless new theatre, you have to be agile. In recent years the MKA Theatre of New Writing has flitted from an apartment to an abandoned knitting mill to the QV building to the Prahran Mission to an old schoolhouse next door to the Abbotsford Convent. No matter where they are, though, they stage performances of new plays that are ambitious, eccentric, seductive and far-fetched. In the best possible way. | Adult from $15

Short + Sweet is now the biggest festival of ten-minute theatre in the whole world. That’s right: the plays are ten-minutes long. But more than 150 are written and performed at the festival each year, which means it’s impossible to get bored. One minute, romance; the next minute, horror – the whole thing is rather addictive. Before you know it you will have seen 25 hours of plays by Melbourne’s up-and-coming stars. Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran | | 03 8290 7000 | November-December | Adult from $25

MTC LAWLER STUDIO Adorned with glowing white geometric piping, the Melbourne Theatre Company’s new home is hard to miss. Nestled between the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Recital Centre, the building also houses the MTC’s wonderfully intimate Lawler Studio. Fitting an audience of only 150, the Lawler offers up-close and personal performances throughout the year – and a special price for under-30s theatre fans. 140 Southbank Blvd, Southbank | | 03 8688 0800 | Under-30s tickets $20

THEATRE WORKS Look for the big brick building on Acland Street with the bright red arch and you’ll find Theatre Works – St Kilda’s busiest independent performance space. The box office doubles as a cafe, so you can pop in any time to browse the program over a hot beverage. Don’t expect the old classics on stage though. Theatre Works productions come straight from the brains of local writers – sometimes experimental, always original. 14 Acland St, St Kilda | | 03 9534 3388 | Adult from $15

Cheap Arts Guide  

This little book is a guide to hundreds of free and affordable goings-on in Melbourne – and right around Victoria. Read on for music, comedy...

Cheap Arts Guide  

This little book is a guide to hundreds of free and affordable goings-on in Melbourne – and right around Victoria. Read on for music, comedy...