The 2016 Melbourne Festival

The Melbourne Festival runs from the 6-23 with a handpicked and carefully curated program that features both international and Australian artists across the fields of visual arts, dance, music, theatre and more.

Here are ten of the best picks – from the least to the most expensive.  The ticket prices quoted are the cheapest adult non-concession price available. All photos are courtesy of the Melbourne Festival Website 

Enjoy and be sure to let us know if you have any Festival recommendations.

Ten Highlights

1. Melbourne Art Trams
Cost: Free
Location: No Fixed Address

Eight trams on various routes around Melbourne have been given paint jobs by a mix of emerging and prominent artists. It is therefore the least expensive Festival experience. You don’t even need to travel anywhere.  Its art that will travel to you and maybe even give you a lift home. Keep an eye out!

Melb Fest One

2. Les Tambours
Cost: Free
Location: Federation Square
Dates: 6-8 October

Correfoc translates to ‘fire run’ and will kick start this years festival. To partake in the event, get yourself to Fed Square at 8.30pm and follow the Deabru Beltzak crew around Melbourne. If you miss them look for a series of explosions, follow the smell of gunpowder or listen out for the hard tribal drumming.

3. Visual Art Crawl
Cost: Free
Location: Various
Duration: Throughout

The Melbourne Festival also includes some fine displays of visual art scattered around Melbourne. You could easily make a day of it with AMCI, Queen Vic Markets and Australian Centre of Contemporary Art among the featured locations. Be sure also to keep an eye out for The Home Within by Chiharu Shiota, popping up in a different location each day and looking something like the photo below.

4. The Money
Cost: $20
Location: Various
Duration: 6-23 October

Maybe its a sign of the times but a majority of the theater in this years festival involves a degree of improvisation, audience participation or something that “blurs the line between ….”. This show for example has a script based around audience consensus with the category of ticket you buy dictating the role you play in the show (see the festival website for a full synopsis).


5. The Dark Chorus
Cost: $39
Location: Meat Market
Duration: 6-12 October

Lucy Guerin are an Australian dance company, regularly receiving rave reviews for their original performances. Their latest – the premier of Dark Chorus – is described as “Shadow and illumination, the individual and the mob, the fantastic and the all-too-real” and likely to be one of the bargains of this years festival.

6. Buried Country
Cost:  $49
Location: Melbourne Recital Centre
Duration: 12-13 October

Buried Country is the fascinating story of aboriginal country music. It has already had success as a book, documentary and soundtrack. Now comes a live stage show featuring many of the surviving elders and some of the next generation. Great music and great stories.

7. Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
Cost: $79
Location: Melbourne Arts Centre
Duration: 6 Oct – 22 October

If you just want to sit back and be entertained then this is probably the best bet, providing you can handle a bit of smut. This coming of age has already played around the world to five-star reviews, receiving praise for its mix of comedy and drama. A good choice if going with a group of people.

8. Voces
Cost: $79
Location: Hammer Hall
Duration: 21-23 Oct

One of the flagship events of this year’s festival. Sara Baras is one of the biggest names in Flamenco and will be joined by 14 dancers and musicians for this performance. Expect to see plenty of colour, excitement, energy and emotion.

9. David Bowie – Nothing has changed
Cost: $89
Location: Hammer Hall
Duration: 15-16 October

Melbourne Symphony pays tribute to Bowie across two and half hours and 20 songs. Singing the songs will be some of Australia’s finest pop singers including Tim Rogers, Steve Kilby and Deborah Conway.  Buy now! Tickets are selling fast.

10. The Echo of the Shadow
Location: ACMI
Duration: 6-23 Oct

The most expensive and perhaps the most experimental of the theater shows takes place at ACMI. Immersive theater involves audiences becoming part of the show. This is perhaps the ultimate in immersion with audiences being led one-by-one into a labyrinth based upon the Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Shadow. Very intriguing.


Melbourne Festival  official website
Enjoy the festival and feel free to repost, forward, tweet and email this post as you see fit.

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