It’s time to get inspired: the Melbourne Festival brings the opportunity to connect with art, people, and ideas. Running from 4-22 October 2017, the festival has something in store for everyone. Be it dance, theatre, music, visual arts or multimedia — you can rest assured you will get your yearly fix of culture.
As per tradition, the Melbourne Festival will start by celebrating the cultures that have shaped our city through time. The Tanderrum opening ceremony, held on 4 October, is led by the five clans of the Central Kulin Nation. The traditional owners of the land will invite you to dance with them among sand, fire, leaves and bark to the rhythm of a song reclaimed from ancient times. From then on to 22 October, it’s all fun, games, and art. Not sure where to start? We’re here to help. Check out our top picks!
Backbone (04-08 October)
Adelaide’s famous acrobatic company Gravity and Other Myths comes to Melbourne with a circus show that celebrates human connectedness, perseverance and strength. Their deceptively simple aesthetics might fool you, but their performance will prove that the only way to achieve greatness is through blood, sweat and tears.
Under Siege (05 – 08 October)
Renowned director and choreographer Yang Liping teamed up with costume designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) to tell one of China’s most epic stories through dance. Under Siege meshes hip-hop, ballet, kung-fu and Peking opera to tell the story of the Battle of Gaixia, also known as Farewell My Concubine, where two warlords fight and a beautiful woman proves that love and loyalty are stronger than death.
A Voyage of Time (06 October)
Writer and director Terrence Malick took three decades to produce a biography of Earth. Narrated by Cate Blanchett and musicalized with a live performance of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, A Voyage of Time will take you on a journey that spans from the Big Bang to the rise of the human race.
Ayoung Kim (06-22 October)
Korean artist Ayoung Kim uses film, photography, dance, sound and installation to blur the lines between the myths and the facts of human history. In the two installations that she brings to Melbourne Festival (In This Vessel We Shall be Kept and Porosity Valley), Kim explores the relationships between apparently distant subjects.
Tree of Codes (17-21 October)
Choreographer Wayne McGregor teamed up with visual artist Olafur Eliasson, DJ Jamie xx, and the Paris Opera Ballet to produce a new type of modern dance. In Tree of Codes, contemporary ballet, visual art, and electronic music come together to create something astonishingly new and exquisitely bold.
Bangsokol – A Requiem for Cambodia (13-14 October)
Filmmaker Rithy Panh and composer Him Sophy are both survivors of the genocide undertaken by the Khmer Rouge almost forty years ago. In this occasion, they have teamed up with international collaborators to fuse the traditional Buddhist rite of Bangsokol with a western requiem; resulting in a beautiful work of art that comes through as a hopeful voice born from dark events.
The Festival of Questions (15 October)
Those who cannot shut up their mind will rejoice in this event hosted by the Wheeler Centre. The Festival of Questions will feature four discussions around the big questions facing Australia today. Leading thinkers will debate culture, climate change, politics, and feminism in this fun and fast paced day.
Finally, on 22 October, the Festival will finish with Our Place, Our Home, a free concert featuring emerging musicians from Australia’s refugee and Indigenous backgrounds. What better way to wrap it all up than by celebrating Melbourne’s vibrant cultural diversity?
Lourdes Zamanillo is a Melbourne-infatuated journalist. Originally from Mexico, she loves words, travelling, and (above all) feeling surprised.
The 2017 Melbourne Festival runs from 4-22 October 2017 at various venues around the city. Many are wheelchair accessible.