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Built in 1921 as the Victory Theatre (cinema), the National Theatre was converted into a live performance venue in 1972-74. It functions today as a community arts centre for over 80 groups including musical comedy performances, dance companies, multi-cultural events and school groups. Annual Festivals are held by groups as diverse as the Latvian Community, major musicals and dance events. Commercial events recently have included Bell Shakespeare, Henry Rollins, Rufus Wainwright and Lily Tomlin. As the events vary it is wise to check the box office.Beneath the theatre in what was the original theatre stalls seating are Australia's oldest performing arts schools. The National Theatre Ballet School was begun in 1939, just a few years after the Drama School in 1936. The Company itself celebrated its 75th birthday in December 2010. The schools offer training for all ages in both unaccredited "hobby" courses as well as Diploma and Advanced Diplomas of Arts. The Ballet School also accepts international students in its full-time courses. Please check online for the drama and ballet school contact details. The venue itself is open to hire as well as the home of many performances by the schools themselves.