Since its inception in 1997, the biennial Big West Festival has gained a reputation for championing surprising, incendiary and innovative works that speak to the concerns and everyday lives of the multicultural communities of the Inner West. This year, artistic director Marcia Ferguson has outdone herself with a program of nearly 70 events spanning visual art, theatre, dance, music and film over nine days.
At the heart of the festival is House: quite literally, a house designed by local architects and built by university students, located right in the centre of Footscray (cnr Paisley & French Sts). The building acts as a prototype for social housing of the future, and during the festival, will become a theatre, gallery and meeting place. Housing – in relation to its affordability, availability or lack of safety within – is a common thread for Inner West communities, and will became a major theme for many of the pieces.… Read more
It’s hard to put your finger on just what is so intoxicating about the American series Welcome to Night Vale: one of the world’s most successful podcasts, which launched in June 2012. Is it the fact that nightmarish, extraterrestrial subject matter – often so bizarre that it would make Stephen King balk – is communicated through the medium of a community radio station, broadcasted from the fictional desert town of Night Vale? Is it the fact that, as the twice-monthly series continues, characters and plot threads become as nuanced and complex as Twin Peaks? Certainly, the show’s three creators – Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor and narrator Cecil Baldwin – never expected that a show as darkly funny and as surreal as this could command a fan base that now extends to cosplay events, tumblr fan art and fanfiction.
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
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
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.
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