Alter State announces program for Melbourne’s inaugural disability arts festival

Rodney-Bell-in-Meremere-photo-by-Vanessa-Rushton-PhotographyAlter State will make its anticipated debut at Arts Centre Melbourne from 12 September to 9 October 2022.

Alter State is here. A bold newcomer to the arts world, ready to share stories and create moments that will excite the senses and captivate audiences,” said Wendy O’Neill – Arts Centre Melbourne, Creative Producer – Access and Inclusion.

“The inaugural program has been curated to platform the incredible diversity of Deaf and Disabled artists across Australia and Aotearoa.”

“We are thrilled to be presenting this alongside Arts Access Victoria and open a new chapter for disability arts in the region,” said O’Neill.

The festival will have both in-person and digital offerings and has been created in collaboration with Arts Access Victoria.

The program has theatre, circus, music, and family works from artists and companies from Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand). What will the festival include?

Aotearoa artist Rodney Bell’s (Ngati Maniapoto) autobiographical work, Meremere will show at the Fairfax Studio from 29 September – 1 October. Meremere is compelling art, weaving stories from Bell’s incredible journey with dance, movement, and theatre.

The festival will feature two new commissioned works that explore a new world of possibilities with the debut of  When The World Turns and Momentum.

Polyglot (AU) and Oilycart (UK) have come together to present When The World Turns. Co-Directors Sue Gilles and Ellie Griffiths have overcome borders and boundaries to deliver this unique sensory work from 14 – 18 September.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s public spaces will come to life with Momentum by Women’s Circus. A circus ensemble will explore concepts of space, time, and energy on the Main Lawn and Theatre’s Forecourt from 15 – 19 September.

Aspiring creatives will have an opportunity to work with Back to Back Theatre with Come And Make Performance (CAMP) from 8 – 9 October. It is a series of workshops for participants from youth organisations Western Edge, Platform Youth Arts and St Martin’s Youth Arts.

The festival will also include a range of collaborations. The Other Film Festival from Arts Access Victoria and the Australian Centre of Moving Image.

Meeting Place with Arts Access Australia, Curated Conversations with Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) as well as arts pop-up Nebula with CheckPoint on the Theatres Forecourt.

“It is so exciting to be launching the 2022 Alter State program. I feel that Arts Access Victoria’s contributions to this project have bought a different perspective, raised different questions, and bought new voices and skills into the conversation,” said Caroline Bowditch – Arts Access Victoria CEO | Alter State Creative Lead.

“I am hoping audiences will experience a welcome that allows anybody to feel a sense of belonging. Authentic stories and voices will be shared through incredible art,” said Bowditch.

Alter State is about showcasing the extraordinary talent Deaf and Disabled communities bring to our creative industries, putting artists at the helm of a new festival that raises the bar on inclusive and accessible events for all.” said Steve Dimopolous – Minister for Creative Industries.

Alter State will make its anticipated debut at Arts Centre Melbourne from 12 September to 9 October 2022. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Rodney Bell in Meremere – photo by Vanessa Rushton Photography