Carlton Court House

From Gothic court house to contemporary playhouse


349 Drummond Street, Carlton


Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung land


This former court house stands on the land of the peoples of the Kulin Nation.

La Mama Theatre has been using this former court house as a theatre space for twenty years. With more than 10,000 people attending theatrical performances at the courthouse every year, this adapted building has a vibrant new life.

In October 2017 Working Heritage completed improvements at Carlton Court House, adding a contemporary new structure that sits alongside the historic building to provide a new space to welcome audiences to the theatre. Improvements to security, storage and amenities for crews and performers were also made. 


The unusual Gothic style Carlton Court House was built in 1887. It was built directly opposite the Carlton Police Station and is a reminder the Drummond Street was once the civic centre of Carlton. The court house is also a reminder that the nineteenth-century city was far from an idyllic, trouble-free place, and that the expansion of settlement everywhere was accompanied by the expansion of the institutions of law and order.

Working Heritage began managing Carlton Court House in 2004. Working Heritage restored the building – from its limestone façade to the original court room timber furniture. Other features were added to ensure to ensure it could continue to function as a theatre.

The future

Working Heritage will continue to manage Carlton Courthouse in partnership with La Mama Theatre.  

Photographs by Peter Glenane.

Carlton Court House
Carlton Court House


t: 9600 1667

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