20 August

Victorian Opera launches 2016 season

Posted by in Arts, News, Theatre

Fondazione Teatro La Fenice - Lucia do Lammermoor - © Michele Crosera

This year marks Victorian Opera’s tenth anniversary, and so far, the company has offered highly successful, innovative productions alongside more traditional pieces featuring world-class performers. The VO’s 2016 season – launched today by artistic director Richard Mills – branches even further out into unfamiliar territory, and opera enthusiasts and lovers of the performing arts have plenty of reasons to get excited.

‘Different dreams’ was the theme of the launch, for good reason: the first production of the year will beVoyage to the Moon (Feb 15-19) which will see director Michael Gow blend Baroque operas into an entertaining pastiche, featuring respected Australian soprano Emma Matthews and leading mezzo Sally-Anne Russell.

A highlight is sure to be Banquet of Secrets (March 1-5), created by Australian author, screenwriter, comedian and producer Steve Vizard and celebrated composer Paul Grabowsky in tune with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The show – starring the brilliant Antoinette Halloran, who stole the show in the VO’s recent production of Sweeney Todd – will see four friends sharing a meal live on stage (created by chef Philippe Mouchel) and swapping secrets.… Read more

17 August

Rock your socks off in 2016 with the We Will Rock You musical

Posted by in Music, News, Theatre

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British rock legends Queen may not be in action as often as we’d like these days, but their hit stage musical We Will Rock You is set to tear up stages across Australia with a futurist comedy narrative by Ben Elton set to Queen’s biggest hits.

This hilarious performance will feature 24 of Queen’s best-known singles, including: ‘We are the Champions’, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and of course, ‘We Will Rock You’. The show opened on the West End in 2002 and has been running for an impressive 12 years. The 2016 show will include Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor and a rockin’ band behind the cast.

In a tale of the struggle of up-and-coming artists in the cut-throat music market, We Will Rock You tell the story of a group of young bohemians with a desire to stand out in an industry determined to quash individuality.… Read more

11 August

The Melbourne Fringe Festival launches its largest-ever program

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Melbourne’s largest celebration of independent arts is about to get bigger than ever, with 401 events taking place in 174 venues across Melbourne. The program spans everything from comedy to cabaret, circus to theatre, and is packed with experimental and exciting new shows that you won’t catch anywhere else.

Setting things in motion at this morning’s media launch was the Victoria government’s minister for creative industries Martin Foley. “The Fringe Festival is a lifeline of support for emerging creators,” he said. “It brings forward creativity that would otherwise be marginalised.” In light of the federal government’s “savage cuts” to independent arts funding (by contrast, the Fringe is still generously supported by state and local governments), Foley re-iterated that the Fringe is more important than ever – the Melbourne Fringe works to develop and promote emerging artists, and ticket sales all go back to the creators.

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Once you get your hands on the program, a good place to start are the free, site-specific works popping up throughout the city, through the Uncommon Places and ACCA in the City programs.Read more

3 July

Arts House Melbourne announces second 2015 season

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North Melbourne’s Arts House champions bold, experimental works that provide an alternative to the work on Melbourne’s Southbank main stages – now more than ever.

Over the course of ten years, Arts House has marked its place in Melbourne’s artistic community by presenting imaginative works, running highly regarded programs like the biennial Dance Massive and last year’s debut of the Festival of Live Art, and fostering new talent through programs like CultureLAB and artist residencies.

Given the quality and originality of Arts House’s first program (Dance Massive and the wildly funny Oedipus Schmoedipus being two shining examples), it’s no surprise that the second season – running from July to December – looks very promising indeed. The season kicks off with a Melbourne premiere of Ahilan Ratnamohan’s piece SDS1 (pictured. Aug 19-22), where soccer is brought to the stage as dynamic, abstracted dance theatre. Following that is local choreographer Jo Lloyd’s dance performance, Confusion for Three (Aug 26-30).Read more

12 November

Sweet Charity the musical comes to the Arts Centre next February

'Big Spender' - Sweet Charity

If the title doesn’t spark the musical theatre-loving sensors of your brain, then surely the song titles ‘Hey Big Spender’ or ‘Rhythm of Life’ will.

In February next year, the Arts Centre’s Playhouse will be transformed into a seedy dance hall of ’60s New York: the world of Charity Hope Valentine. Sweet Charity tells the story of an eternally optimistic, tragically gullible ‘dance hall hostess’ looking for love. During her journey, she finds herself trapped in elevators, hiding in closets and joining the congregations of a new-age flower child religion. It’s silly, slapstick, romantic but – in the end – not the least bit predictable (really!). Song and dance-wise, you can expect everything from huge brassy numbers to jazzy ballads, plus the quirky, jerky moves of the ‘Rich Man’s Frug’, choreographed by the unmatched Bob Fosse, and immortalised in the Sweet Charity film of 1969, starring Shirley MacLaine.

The show touches down in Melbourne after scoring three Helpmann awards (sort of like Australia’s Tonys) – one being for an outstanding performance by leading lady Verity Hunt-Ballard, known for her practically perfect take on Mary Poppins in the 2010 run at Her Majesty’s Theatre.… Read more