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

12 November

St Kilda’s George Cinemas to be reborn as Alex Theatre

Alex Theatre

Amid the disheartening news of the Astor Theatre’s forthcoming closure and the uncertain status of the Palais Theatre, good news about St Kilda’s arts venues is very, very welcome.

Today, it comes in the form of news that Fitzroy Street’s George Cinemas will be converted into a mid-size performing arts hub: the Alex Theatre, opening in February next year.

Earlier this year, the George Cinemas were closed by developers who planned to convert them into a block of apartments. Thankfully, progress was halted by entrepreneur and theatre producer Aleksander Vass, who couldn’t abide seeing yet another of St Kilda’s arts venues fall.

Stepping up in front of media and local politicians at the site of the former cinemas, Vass proudly announced that the building will be transformed into three performing arts spaces.

“St Kilda residents have been blunt in telling me how much they want our theatres to succeed,” he said.… Read more

5 September

Melbourne Theatre Company announces 2015 season

Posted by in News, Theatre

MTC 2015 season

MTC must be acutely aware that it’s never had a female Artistic Director in its history, and next year’s season clearly aims to redress this, featuring several plays with women in key creative roles. The result of a welcome cultural shift in the medium as much as the fruition of its inaugural Women Director’s Program, exactly half of the 2015 season is written, adapted or directed by women.

Opening play Jumpy, by British playwright April De Angelis, stars Jane Turner in a comedy about a fractious mother–daughter relationship. No doubt trading on audiences’ fondness for Kath and Kim, it will be directed by MTC royalty Pamela Rabe, and comes off a highly successful West End run.

An alumnus of the Cybec Electric series of play readings is playwright Kylie Trounson, the daughter of the “Father of IVF” Professor Alan Trounson. Her play The Waiting Room explores the profound changes in society’s notions of family and fertility brought about by her father’s pioneering work on IVF.… Read more

3 September

Malthouse Theatre 2015 season launched

Posted by in News, Theatre

Launched on a surprisingly balmy September evening, the Malthouse Theatre 2015 season boasts a healthy mix of new faces and Malthouse favourites, dance and theatre, text-based work and more exploratory, devised pieces. There’s tragedy and comedy, world premieres and worthy revivals.

The year opens with the return of Blak Cabaret, followed by a swag of new dance pieces as part of Dance Massive 2015, including work from Kate Champion, Anouk van Dijk and Victoria Chiu. Deeper into the season, there’s new theatre from Malthouse regulars Lally Katz, Declan Greene, Jane Montgomery Griffiths and Ash Flanders.

Looming as a season highlight, Caryl Churchill’s most recent play, Love and Information will get its Australian premier in a co-production with the Sydney Theatre Company in June. Nicola Gunn and David Woods collaborate on a new work about class and privilege. The year then rounds out with newcomers Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton, and holiday favourites The Listies.… Read more

28 July

Top five things to know about the Melbourne Festival 2014 program


The Melbourne Festival is the most significant arts festival in the city’s calendar, and this year, the organisers are squeezing over 60 music, theatre, film, dance and art events into just 17 days. The program – released today – can feel a little overwhelming, so we’ve put together the top five things about this year’s cultural fiesta that impress us most.

1. The opening of the festival will bring together elders from the five clans of the Kulin nation
Last year, elders from the five clans of the Kulin nation (Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Wathaurong, Taungerong and Dja Dja Wurrung) invited the people of Melbourne to a Tanderrum: the first ceremony of its kind since modern Melbourne was founded in 1835. This powerful affirmation of Koorie culture is back again this year, comprising song, storytelling and dance.

2. There’s a huge focus on circus
And it’s far from lion-tamers and tightropes. Festival Director Josephine Ridge and her team decided to celebrate Melbourne’s rich circus tradition (the Arts Centre used to be the site of the Wirth Brothers’ Circus in the early 1900s) by inviting the world’s most innovative circus artists – including Montreal’s Cirque Éloize, Belgium’s Dique & Fien and France’s Circa – to perform alongside local indie ensembles like Dislocate.Read more