Our festival

The Melbourne Festival returns this month bringing an explosive program of events to the CBD. 

Beginning on Thursday, October 6 and culminating on Sunday, October 23, the Melbourne Festival invites artists from all around the world to celebrate and rediscover our great city through a line-up of dance, theatre, circus, contemporary and classical music and visual arts.

The debut program from artistic director Jonathan Holloway focuses on borders – acknowledging, questioning and traversing them. The mammoth program will present 62 events and 207 performances by local and international artists and companies, and will include both world and Australian premieres.

A tanderrum with the five clans of the Kulin will mark the opening of the festival at Federation Square and world-renowned street theatre company Deabru Beltzak will kick off the festivities with an interactive outdoor spectacular that will set the city alight. Featuring live music, pyrotechnics and special effects, the Les Tambours De Feu performance will take over the city’s squares and laneways for three days over the opening weekend.

Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota’s intricate and compelling large-scale installation The Home Within will marvellously make its way around the city throughout the festival, beginning its journey at Deakin Edge and moving to various locations within the CBD.

ACMI will present Nyarri Nyarri Morgan: Virtual Reality, History and Indigenous Experiences, a discussion of culture, creativity and collaboration, with the protagonist of the poignant virtual reality film experience Collisions by Australian filmmaker and artist Lynette Wallworth, on Saturday, October 8.

Barcelona’s Teatro de los Sentidos (Theatre of the Senses) comes to Melbourne for the first time, bringing its immersive and emotive individual performance work, The Echo of the Shadow, to Found Space at ACMI for a strictly limited series of sessions throughout the festival.

Highlights of the music program include Oscar-nominated composer Benoît Charest and friends traversing late 60s to early 70s psychedelic-Afro-funk-jazz on Saturday, October 15 and Irish-French songstress Camille O’Sullivan performing two “best of” shows featuring interpretations of works by Radiohead, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits, among others, on Sunday, October 9 and Sunday, October 16, both at The Toff in Town.

For family-friendly entertainment, You and Me and the Space Between brings to the stage the story of one of Australia’s best children’s playwrights, Finegan Kruchemeyer, and Haircuts by Children offers a unique role reversal, placing punters in the barber’s chair to receive a cut and colour from a ten-year-old.

The festival will culminate on Sunday, October 23 in a celebration of diversity at Melbourne Town Hall with a multicultural exchange through coffee, tea and music, featuring artists from diverse backgrounds showcasing beverages unique to their culture.

Visit www.festival.melbourne/2016/ to view the entire program and purchase tickets.

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