SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival launches 2015 program

SummerSalt_editorialThe SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015 has launched its spectacular program, packed with outdoor fun for families during the day and after-dark treats for mates and dates throughout January & February 2015.

On launching the program, Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria said: “Melbourne’s leading arts organisations will turn inside out and join forces to take the arts outdoors over five weekends from Friday 23 January to Saturday 21 February 2015.”

“The inaugural SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival will transform Melbourne’s Arts Precinct into a creative playground for people of all ages to enjoy. It will be the ultimate backyard party, celebrating summer, Melbourne’s creativity and our extraordinary arts and culture.”

The festival brings together some of Melbourne’s key Southbank venues including Melbourne Recital Centre, Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts, Chunky Move, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company, National Gallery of Victoria, The Australian Ballet and Victorian College of the Arts amongst many others.

Across five weekends, SummerSalt will present a slew of free and low-­cost, kid-­friendly adventures to enliven the day and turn Southbank into an adult playground at night. The festival’s Opening Night will provide a glimpse into the adventure, intrigue and interactive fun that awaits Melburnians in the following weeks.

Bold as Brass: Music of the Streets will lead a procession from Federation Square, through to Southbank and ending at Testing Grounds, inviting people to join them on a musical walk to get festival fit and ring in the start of this summer long celebration. Kid Congo Powers and the Monkey Birds will join the line-up at Testing Grounds, with many more bands to be announced.

Opening weekend will see 7000 colourful, wooden houses popping up across the city as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s huge interactive community arts project Home. Members of the public will be asked to take a house, place it in a public space, photograph it in the new location, upload the image to the Arts Centre Melbourne website and share it via social media. Another public art installation that kids will love is Creature Features – a series of giant, inflatable animal installation artworks unleashed upon Southbank.

The elaborate, inflatable labyrinth of light and colour that is Exxopolis will make a welcome appearance at SummerSalt. This series of beautiful walk-­in spaces, called a luminarium, sees inflatable domes soaring 10 metres into the air amidst a maze of twisting tunnels, geometric pods and alcoves in a series of living sculptures reminiscent of Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals.

It’s not just humans who are in for a treat this summer: Farnsworth’s Republic for Dogs will be a dog-­park with a unique Melbourne flavour where canines and their owners can come and enjoy an outdoor installation specifically made for our four legged friends by Melbourne artist Anastasia Klose. Taking over the ACCA forecourt for two weeks, this off-­leash world for Melbourne’s much-­loved pooches complements the exhibition Menagerie which taps into the link between humans and other animals.

Music fans will enjoy a multitude of events transforming familiar venues and showcasing what Southbank has to offer. Sugar Mountain Festival will take over the Victorian College of the Arts and will feature an incredible line-up of cutting-­edge contemporary music. Headlined by Nas performing the entirety of his seminal album Illmatic, the day also features Body/Head (Kim Gordon + Bill Nace), Horse Meat Disco, The 2 Bears, Dan Deacon, Soulclap and lots, lots more.

For the very first time, The Australian Ballet and Chunky Move will collaborate to present the world premiere of Dance at Dusk – a joyous celebration of movement and film. In an event likely to appeal to both contemporary dance and So You Think You Can Dance fans, audiences will be taught the iconic steps from cult dance films before they play on an outdoor silver screen.

Dance remains the focus of the second weekend when audiences will have the opportunity to catch a striking balance of precision and athleticism in three works by Melbourne Ballet Company, who are known for their daring shows which harness the beauty of classical ballet while pushing the boundaries of the genre.

There’ll also be an opportunity to catch the specially created Chunky Move show gentle is the power, an exploration of contained power. Created with dancers James Vu Anh Pham and Niharika Senapati and choreographed by Anouk Van Dijk, it merges physically challenging movement with refined virtuosity.

As the festival gains momentum there’ll be a chance to seek out the new and find outdoor events and adventures by both major companies and independent artists. A contemporary revue with a twist, Scotch + Soda is a whiskey-­soaked evening of raucous dance and dexterous feats with a rowdy mob of (very talented!) misfits, acrobats and music-­makers butting heads to create a speakeasy vibe under the stars on Dodd Street. Rollicking late into the night, it’s the perfect end to a summery day on Southbank.

At Malthouse Theatre, Blak Cabaret is set to be party like no other: lighting up the night with music, comedy and dance, the star-­spangled outdoor gala will feature some of Australia’s finest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedians, musicians, dancers and poets under the stars.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Theatre Company invite audiences to a staged reading of new shows which could very well end up on the main stage of the theatre in the next few years at Cybec Electric. For traditional theatre lovers, The Australian Shakespeare Company will present Shakespeare’s Dream Unplugged – a comedic showcase of The Bard’s Best Bits in which his plays are unshackled from traditional constraints; fun and accessible, and above all entertaining for everyone.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will provide the perfect soundtrack to summer in the city, bringing together timeless music and great artists against the backdrop of sunset at one of Melbourne’s most iconic outdoor venues – the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

One of Melbourne’s most exciting physical theatre ensembles, Born In A Taxi, brings two festival favourites to SummerSalt to delight, surprise and entertain in wickedly fun ways. In Something Fishy, visitors will enter through the mouth of a nine metre inflatable whale into a world where reality and myth blur. In The Curious Game, Dodds Street will be transformed into a giant chessboard awaiting human pieces for devilishly fun interactive game fusing the worlds of fairy tales and board games.

Food and art lovers rarely get the chance to enjoy both of their indulgences at the same time, so they should jump at the chance to take part in the experiential Dining Room Tales Summer BBQ by Melbourne company A Is For Atlas. Two shows, individually titled Cherry Cherry and Acrobat, will introduce audiences to two fascinating artists who tell their story while preparing and serving a meal for everyone.

Combining real world clues with GPS location services, Sour Times is a playfully gritty whodunit, which relies on the participant’s smartphone to solve clues. Using an app supported by Telstra, players will be led through the SummerSalt site as they attempt to follow the adventures of three different characters as they retrace their steps after an evening of misperceptions and mix-­ups from a night of misadventure.

Closing weekend will coincide with White Night Melbourne, ensuring a spectacular close to more than a month of outdoor pleasure. Onlookers will revel in the adrenaline-­fuelled exuberance of Pixel Mountain – a breath-­taking physical theatre and audio-­visual treat. Using a specially constructed 10m wall as its performance area, high-­octane aerial dance and interactive projection work merges with a supersonic score of intricate precision as aerialists dance on the side of walls, while real-­time projections respond to their every move.

Also on Closing Night at Testing Grounds, Melbourne music fans will finally have a chance to catch one of 2014’s biggest breakthrough bands, Lake Street Dive. Occupying the space between Motown soul, Sixties pop zip, and British Invasion swagger, this American four-­piece have been named the best band of the year by Rolling Stone and are fresh from appearances on Ellen, David Letterman, The Colbert Report and more.

SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival will occupy the area bordered by St Kilda Road in the east, King’s Way to the South, the Yarra River to the north and City Road to the West. The Botanical Gardens and associated parklands will also be in use, as will a corridor along Southbank Boulevard to the riverfront, while Federation Square and Flinders St Station will act as the Festival’s city gateway.

“Bringing so many companies and artists together in collaboration to present SummerSalt is a first, as is the uniquely outdoor focus of the Festival,” says Kirsten Siddle, SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival Director.

SummerSalters can expect cross-­pollinations of arts companies and exciting cultural mash-­ups – a bit like Melbourne itself – happening in surprising places around the precinct. We hope that people will delight in SummerSalt and discover the city’s quirky artistic heart.”

More announcements on the summer’s most exciting festival are due in the coming weeks. For more information, visit: for details.