Originally built in 1892 as a brewery and malting works, the Malthouse building was donated by Carlton and United Breweries for the creation and presentation of contemporary Australian theatre in 1990. The Malthouse building at 113 Sturt Street now houses three theatres (500-seat Merlyn Theatre, the 175-seat Beckett Theatre and the 100-seat Tower Theatre), administration, rehearsal studios and a vibrant cafe and bar. Malthouse Theatre's scenic workshop is located in the neighbouring 111 Sturt Street complex, which includes Chunky Move contemporary dance company and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Malthouse Theatre commissions, produces and presents contemporary Australian theatre. Malthouse Theatre produces and/or presents up to twenty productions annually, from drama to contemporary opera, music theatre and cabaret, to contemporary dance and physical theatre - a multidisciplinary contemporary theatre where the combined possibilities of all the theatre arts are offered centre-stage. The company regularly co-produces with local and national performing arts companies and tours nationally and internationally. In recent years, Malthouse Theatre productions have been presented by the Edinburgh Festival, Barbican Centre, Vienna Festival, Amsterdam Festival, NZ Festival and Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. In 2009, the company's coproduction with Belvoir St Theatre, Ionesco's Exit the King, in a commissioned adaptation by Geoffrey Rush and Neil Armfield, was reproduced on Broadway and nominated for four Tony Awards, winning Best Actor for Geoffrey Rush.