The School’s Centre for Creative Education has been renamed the School for Performing Arts and Creative Education (The SPACE), incorporating The David Darling Play House and The Bracebridge Wilson Studio, ahead of its official opening on May 23.

As building work nears completion on the corner of Biddlecombe Avenue and School Road, the School Council has decided on a new permanent name for the $20.4 million facility. As Chairman of the Fundraising Committee that raised more than $10 million towards the building’s construction, Ian Darling (P’79) said that the new name reflected the purpose and functionality of the new facility, which will act as a catalyst for the School’s development of creativity and innovation in all areas of curriculum as well as a hub for the performing arts.

"We wanted a name that gave the building a sense of prominence and reflected its broad spectrum of uses whilst highlighting the evolution of creative education at the School," Ian explained. "We were especially keen that the name could be abbreviated effectively by students and staff, whilst retaining the integrity of its formal name. We feel that the acronym of The SPACE from the formal name of School for Performing Arts and Creative Education achieves this perfectly and we hope the community will naturally refer to the building on a daily basis as The Space."

The School Council has also named the two key spaces in the building. The 800-seat Forum is now named The David Darling Play House and the smaller, 270-seat Studio is now named The Bracebridge Wilson Studio.

The Play House commemorates David Darling (P’43), who was School Captain, House Captain of Perry House and 1st XI Captain. Darling (no relation to the School’s long-serving Headmaster Sir James Darling) also served on School Council from 1970-74, was a member of the Old Geelong Grammarians committee from 1967-73 and Chairman of the Glamorgan (Toorak Campus) Advisory Committee. He spent three years at Brasenose College, Oxford, reading philosophy, politics and economics, before embarking upon a successful career as a company director, pastoralist and philanthropist. David Darling’s family have continued to be strong supporters of the School over many decades. His sons, Anthony (M’73) and Ian (P’79), attended GGS, whilst four of his grandchildren have attended/are attending the School – Adelaide (Cl’13), Emma (Yr12 Cl) and Sophie Darling (Yr9), as well as Lachlan Montgomery (FB'14). 

David Darling’s family have been the major donors to the School for Performing Arts and Creative Education (The SPACE) and Ian Darling has been a driving force behind all aspects of the building project and the development of creative education at the School.

Like the Bracebridge Wilson Theatre, The Studio commemorates John Bracebridge Wilson, who was Headmaster from 1863-95 and shaped the character of the School in its formative years. The original Bracebridge Wilson Hall was built in the 1890s and transported from Geelong to Corio on timber jinkers in 1913, before it was destroyed by fire in 1976. The Bracebridge Wilson Theatre was built as a replacement and opened in 1978.

The School for Performing Arts and Creative Education (The SPACE) is scheduled for completion in Term 2 and will be officially opened on May 23.