About PACC

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, Performance Arts Culture Cessnock (PACC) 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, PACC 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, PACC prides itself on providing something for everyone.

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

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. 

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

Our history

Performance Arts Culture Cessnock 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 the art gallery and makers space, 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 Performance Arts Culture Cessnock.

The plan to undertake a refurbishment of the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre to include an Art Gallery was first noted in ‘2031: A Vision for the Future, Community Infrastructure Plan’ that was adopted by Council on 15 June 2016. A successful funding application was submitted to Create NSW Infrastructure program and development approval was given in 2022. All in all, the refurbishment attracted significant government funding. In addition to Create NSW, funds were also received from Stronger Country Communities, Resources for Regions (both NSW government agencies) and Developer contributions. The newly refurbished area includes: 163 square metre gallery, workshop space and retail area. In addition, the centre was rebranded, CPAC to PACC – Performance Arts Culture Cessnock to reflect the expanded capabilities and uses of the building. Works began in November 2022 and were finalised in July 2023.

More about the Art Gallery and Gift Shop

The gallery, occupying the second floor, boasts 200 square meters of exhibition space adorned with 57 meters of versatile wall hanging area. Retaining its historic character through features such as steel supports, pressed metal ceilings, and polished tallowwood floors, the gallery serves as a captivating backdrop for a diverse range of socially engaged exhibitions, workshops, and public programs.

PACC is dedicated to fostering innovation and inclusivity in the arts, with an annual program showcasing vibrant local and national contemporary artworks. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in thought-provoking exhibitions and explore the brand-new retail space, offering unique treasures crafted by local artisans.

Nestled in the picturesque Hunter Valley, PACC stands as a beacon of cultural enrichment, inviting visitors to engage with the region's artistic heritage and vibrant creative community. Since its grand opening in October 2023, marked by a captivating showcase of works by esteemed indigenous artist Uncle Les Elvin, generously loaned by the public, PACC continues to captivate audiences with its dynamic cultural offerings.

The Gallery Shop at PACC offers a diverse array of distinctive gifts, ranging from jewellery and home decor to children's books. With a curated selection of art books, prints, cards, and postcards, the shop provides visitors with an immersive shopping experience that celebrates artistic craftsmanship and creativity.

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 and beyond.

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.

The PACC Art Gallery welcomes proposals from established artists, emerging artists, curators, designers, arts educators, collectives, community and cultural groups to submit exhibition proposals, workshops and public programs for the PACC Gallery and Makers Space.

The PACC Art Gallery values socially engaged, research based exhibitions, workshops and programs. Submissions from First Nations peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Deaf, Disabled and LGBTQIA+ practitioners are encouraged.