About CPAC

Front of CPAC building on Vincent Street Cessnock

- An iconic façade on the corner of two main thoroughfares of Cessnock; white painted and raw red brick of early 20th Century architecture, seamlessly flowing into the sleek lines of modern red ochre and slate coloured additions. -

Since opening on 22 November 2008, Cessnock Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) has not only built a regular audience for concerts and plays, it has also become a significant player in audience development and community engagement.

Each year, CPAC strives to provide live entertainment experiences for our audiences that embraces the eclectic scope of our industry. From brilliant Australian and international theatre productions through to innovative and expressive dance; from the cream of the comedy crop to original live music and acts that capture the essence of the music greats, CPAC prides itself on providing something for everyone.

The complex itself comprises a 466 seat theatre with stalls and tiered seating. It also houses a spacious foyer, kitchen area, two large rooms suited to a variety of uses including meetings, presentations and workshops, a small meeting room, and two outdoor performance areas.

The facility is home to several organisations including the Cessnock Senior Citizens group, ADFAS (the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society), Hunter Drama's weekly drama classes, and a number of Cessnock City Council civic events. The centre also attracts a number of organisations, groups and individuals who hire various rooms that are available for individual and collective use. 

Our history

Front of CPAC Building when it was still the Grace Bros store

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre is the result of the adaptive re-use of two existing buildings on the corner of Aberdare Road and Vincent Street Cessnock. The entire complex totals some 2,000sqm and has been designed using contemporary materials and finishes that subtly contrast with the older buildings.

The older section of the complex which houses our meeting rooms and dressing rooms, holds local and social significance. Originally built by Morris Light, these buildings were constructed as open plan modern furniture display showrooms. Morris Light was at one time the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and was instrumental in raising funds for the Newcastle City Town Hall and Civic Theatre. His Cessnock building was a similar design to his earlier Newcastle showroom in Hunter Street, and was believed to be the first steel framed building in the area. It later became the Grace Brothers store in Cessnock. It is quite significant that Morris Light’s Cessnock showroom is now an integral part of Cessnock Performing Arts Centre.


What we do

Our driving ethos is the strong belief that the arts are an integral part of the fabric of a community, that when nurtured have the potential to create a ripple effect of positive and lasting benefits:

Our vision

To play an integral role in the cultural life of the Cessnock Local Government Area.

Our mission

To inspire and strengthen our community through shared experiences that are creative, innovative and on occasion, challenging.   

Our principal programming objective is to achieve a balance of performing arts experiences made up of a curated program that is supplemented through hiring that reflects:

  • a diverse program of theatre performances that are dramatic, funny, thoughtful, challenging, entertaining and affordable;
  • local professional and community/educational/youth arts product; and
  • the best local, interstate and international commercially available shows.