The idea of gathering orchestra, theatre and Opera Company under one roof was born as early as in the 1980s. Kristiansand has never had its own orchestra stage, and Agder Theatre (later to become Agder Regional Theatre) was looking to move to another location that could allow production work as well as performances. The 90s were spent discussing how and where to build a common house for these companies, and what its overall function should be.
For the first few years of the new millennium, the prognosis was to erect two new buildings in Kristiansand; one theatre and one concert hall. But, for various reasons, a co-location of the two institutions was finally approved by the City Council in 2002. By 2003, the proposal of building a performing arts centre was also approved, and the Performing Arts Centre for Southern Norway Inter-Municipal Company was formally established.
The dream was finally about to be realized as the architectural competition was announced in 2004. After evaluating works by 95 participants, the winner, the Finnish architecture firm ALA Architects, was announced in 2005. ALA Architects entered into a partnership with SMS Architects in Kristiansand, and formed ALA Architects AS. The name Kilden was decided on in 2006 in concurrence with the City Council's wishes.
In 2007, construction work begun, and four years later, the Kilden Performing Arts Centre stands proudly on the waterfront in Kristiansand. It took almost 20 years to turn the dream into reality, and today, orchestra, Opera Company and theatre are all united under one roof, and with the same goal; to enthuse and inspire.