USQ Artsworx, along with USQ has a long history supporting Arts in the Toowoomba Region. Dating back to the 70s and 80s, USQ Artsworx under various names, has been providing artistic entertainment, education and opportunities to regional Queensland for over 40 years.
The early days: PERFORMANCE
The early days were heady times for the arts. The 70s and 80s saw the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education’s fledgling music and theatre program develop into one of the most celebrated and highly regarded in the nation, and from this success came the Department of Performance Arts outreach arm: Performance.
Incorporating Arts Theatre Co; Studio 9; The Acme Sausage Company Children’s Theatre; The Darling Downs Youth Theatre; The Phoenix Singers and the Toowoomba Symphony Orchestra, Performance entertained locals and gave artists the opportunity to perform for live audiences.
1992 – 2005: USQ PERFORMANCE CENTRE
In 1992, the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education became the University of Southern Queensland, and Performance become the USQ Performance Centre under which USQ arts continued to grow and evolve.
The Centre presented brimming seasons of music, theatre and exhibitions showcasing student, community and visiting artists. The seasons featured theatre; theatre restaurants; opera; Children’s Theatre Week; and even the odd Greek classic in the Toowoomba Quarry.
The USQ Performance Centre was the home of Toowoomba Concert Orchestra, USQ Sinfonia, USQ Chamber Choir and Big Band.
2003 saw the arrival of the Shakespeare in the Park Festival, held in the picturesque Queens Park Gardens featuring future stars of stage and screen before they completed their final year of study.
2006 – Current: USQ Artsworx
In late 2006, a merge with the long running McGregor School called for a new all-inclusive name: USQ ARTSWORX.
Under this banner, Artsworx acts as the production house for the University of Southern Queensland, the organiser of McGregor’s Arts Retreats and Access Workshops, as well as a performing arts venue and gallery for the broader community.
As a production house, this new era has seen the introduction of regular weeknight concerts, Friday at the Flicks, Little Village Sessions and the birth of ‘incubator’ events, which showcase student work.
The expansion of the McGregor Creative Arts, Visual Arts and Music Retreats and the creation of Access Workshops means that over a thousand professionals and enthusiasts learn, perfect and master creative skills right here in Toowoomba, every year.