Taking in constellations of Greek heroes before a Greek tragedy will become a real possibility in a new regional cultural hub.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has turned the first sod on the new Orange Regional Conservatorium and Planetarium.

The centre would help meet a huge demand for music education and be a major boost to the cultural life of the central western NSW city, he said on Saturday.

“It’s a perfect fit for Orange, which is on the astronomical highway to both Parkes – home of the famous radio telescope – and Siding Springs near Coonabarabran,” he said.

“A conservatorium and a planetarium – this place truly will be full of stars.”

The new facility will have a 275-seat auditorium, a 65-seat planetarium auditorium and 40 practice studios and rehearsal spaces.

It will also become a boon for local jobs with between 500 and 700 people working on the project over the next 18 months.

The $33.5 million project is funded by $10 million from the federal government, $5 million from NSW’s creative arts fund and $18.5 million from Orange City Council.

“This development is a real win for the people of Orange and the Central West,” Federal Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Catherine King said.

The facility replaces the current conservatorium, which caters for 1400 students ranging in age from young children to people in their 80s.

Source: AAP