Catherine Woodfield staged her first production (Keating!) in the Old Council Chambers, Trades Hall in March 2005 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Based on that experience, and those of the three other festival shows performed at Trades Hall that year, Catherine thought an opportunity existed to create an independent hub within the walls of the proud and historic building. Her particular bent was on programming a diverse mix of emerging and established artists interested to push the bounds of funny, perhaps not so well represented elsewhere.
In late 2005, Catherine registered a company and set about finding artists and staff to join what she hoped would be quite a party. Comedy @ Trades had its premiere season during the 2006 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In it's first year, she programmed 27 shows, created six theatres and hosted around 20,000 patrons with a talented team of pioneers for crew. More importantly, everyone had a hoot! Bella Union went on to present three more Comedy @ Trades seasons in 2007, 2008 and 2009, playing host to over 100 shows and providing an alternative performance playground for in excess of 110,000 festival patrons since inception.
In November 2007, when Catherine signed on as the new licensee-tenant, Bella Union became a year-round proposition and the name of Trades Hall's licensed venue.
Maintaining an interest in having a diverse offering, Bella Union continues as a performance space and casual bar, programming live music, film screenings, fundraisers, private parties, live comedy, forums, book launches, conferences and just about everything else you can think of.
Got an event in mind? Contact us and we'll email you our standard deals for:
~ Ticketed Events
~ Un-Ticketed / Free Events
~ Book Launches
~ Private Functions, and
~ Community Fundraisers
Bella Union is also available for use as a rehearsal space on weekdays between 10.00AM and 4.00PM
Our indicative maximum capacities are as follows:
120 Fully seated
160 Seated & Standing
Bella Union is wheelchair accessible - please call us to arrange access
Bella Union is a tenant of the Trades Hall and Literary Institute, licensee for the Late-Night On-Premise Liquor Licence 32248117, and the sole licensee approved to operate within the building. Visitors are strictly prohibited from bringing alcohol into the licensed area.
Bella Union welcomes people under 18 years old on the following basis:
o They are accompanied by a responsible adult,
o They do not drink alcohol, and
o They leave the venue by 11.00PM
Please note that the following Trades Hall areas are covered by Bella Union's liquor licence.
* Old Council Chambers
* New Ballroom
* Level 1, Victoria Street Wing
The hire of these spaces is managed by Trades Hall Venues directly (contact details below). Venue hirers will need to contact Bella Union about supply of alcohol for these areas once their booking is confirmed via Trades Hall personnel.
T 03 9659 3511
Further information on Trades Hall and its history can be found here.