Melbourne Festival Creative Director, Josephine Ridge’s first Festival program issues a warm invitation to all Melburnians and visitors to experience 105 events and activities, including contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, forums, conversations and encounters, with over a third of the events free of charge.
With 19 world premieres and 13 Australian premieres, the Festival runs for 17 days from 11 October 2013, and offers a chance to make new discoveries, reconnect with much admired favourites, and encounter collaborations and special Festival commissions.
Occupying over 45 venues, including some of the city’s most iconic buildings and sites including The Palais Theatre, Capitol Theatre, the Athenaeum Theatre, Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Her Majesty’s Theatre, and Fed Square).
The Festival also embraces new venues and unexpected sites including RMIT Design Hub, Yarra Trams, Peppercorn Gardens, Chinese Museum.
“Melbourne Festival at its heart is a celebration of this city. With this Festival program, we wanted to really explore the city and see it through different eyes; to appreciate the depth of its creative history and how this is woven into the fabric of the urban landscape,” says Josephine Ridge.
“If the Festival can be seen as a room with many doors, then our hope is that audiences enter through one, but once inside they discover a wealth of extraordinary experiences.”
Commencing on Friday 11 October with Tanderrum, a Welcome to Country directed by Rachel Maza from Ilbijerri Theatre, plus a free concert featuring Archie Roach, and continuing for 17 days, program highlights include Gurrumul accompanied by an orchestra at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
A dedicated Kids Weekend for children and families using spaces in and around Fed Square, featuring Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre with Trailblazer and The Listies with Earworms. A weekend of Brahms vs Wagner and Haydn For Everyone, featuring the MSO, Flinders Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Richard Tognetti, and Asher Fisch.
In the film program, the Festival presents a John Landis Retrospective, with Landis himself in attendance to introduce many of the screenings. Spanning such cinematic touchstones as The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, Landis’s outlandishly entertaining films defined the feel of an era.
Director Michael Kantor’s film debut, The Boy Castaways also features in the program, starring Tim Rogers, Paul Capsis and Megan Washington – coupled with a live concert (Songs of Wreck and Ruin) performed by the film’s cast.
Highlights of the theatre program include Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s epic masterpiece Life and Times: Episode 1 – 4, seen in separate parts or as a 10 hour marathon complete with icecream.
Contemporary issues speak loud and clear in The Shadow King, an un-missable Indigenous adaptation of King Lear – a co-commission with Malthouse Theatre; and Belarus Free Theatre, an inspiring theatre company making its Melbourne debut with Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker.
One of Britain’s most exciting touring theatre companies, Kneehigh Theatre’s adaptation of Noël Coward’s classic romantic drama Brief Encounter, will perform nightly at the Athenaeum Theatre.
The Festival hosts the Australian premiere of Ontroerend Goerd’s Teenage Riot and All That Is Wrong – parts two and three of the trilogy that began with Once And For All We’re Going to Tell You What we think so Shut Up and Listen.
The Festival will also host the world premiere of Eddie Perfect’s The Beast with Melbourne Theatre Company, and excited to be working with local, independent companies to co-present with Theatre Works the world premieres of The Rabble’s Room of Regret – a reimagining of Dorian Gray, and Daniel Schlusser Ensemble’s M+M – inspired by The Master and Margarita.
In contemporary dance, two events feature one of the world’s most admired ballet dancers, Sylvie Guillem. 6000 miles away is a triple bill described as ‘a love letter to Sylvie’ by choreographers William Forsythe, Mats Ek and Jirí Kylián, and the Melbourne exclusive event PUSH, stars Sylvie and choreographer/dancer Russell Maliphant.
The classical music program includes piano prodigies, Katia and Marielle Labeque, plus the world premiere of Bruchlandung, a bold and experimental post-apocalyptic chamber opera project by wild child sonic artist/composer James Hullick.
The Crowd is an astounding concert by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, led by Artistic Director, Richard Tognetti, and featuring breath-taking footage by cinematographer Jon Frank.
Musical prodigy Ben Walsh presents an exhilarating musical and cinematic celebration of a silent-era goddess – the Australian born star of Indian cinema known as Fearless Nadia.
After a hugely successful debut in 2012, the Foxtel Festival Hub returns to the banks of the Yarra as a new, custom-designed bar, club and hub – a performance space and festive destination.
The 2013 Melbourne Festival runs from 11 – 27 October, with tickets going on sale on Friday 16 August. For more information and the complete programme, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au for details.
Image: Life and Times – Nature Theater of Oklahoma