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3 August 2016

From contemporary dance on ice, to fireworks, percussion and CBD street takeovers, to some of the world's greatest theatre makers locally and internationally, the 2016 Melbourne Festival program presents an irresistible assortment of the familiar and the unknown.

A photo of Triptyque

Triptyque, 2016 Melbourne Festival. Photo: Alexandre Galliez.

Over 18 days this October, the Festival will present 62 events and 207 performances by artists and companies from countries including Spain, Canada, Germany, UK, China, USA, France, Ireland, Japan and Australia. The 2016 program  includes world premieres and 18 Australian premieres and events exclusive to Melbourne, drawn from a spectacular line-up of dance, theatre, circus, contemporary and classical music and visual arts.

Presenting his first festival program, Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said: "This year's Festival is full of events that freely and inquisitively traverse borders in all their forms. We shine a spotlight on the ever shifting borders between childhood and adulthood, between life and death, between dreams and reality. We puncture the creative borders between artforms, and between the arts and civic society. We have sought every opportunity to blur the borders between artists and audiences."

Highlights include:

  • A major, free outdoor spectacle from one of the world's most renowned street theatre companies, Basque company Deabru Beltzak.
  • A performance by Canada's Le Patin Libre - the revolutionary Montreal-based troupe will demonstrate a new kind of ice dancing.
  • Straddling the gap between circus and dance to take audiences where neither can alone, Les 7 doigts de la main reimagine the collision of these forms in Triptyque.
  • The extraordinary footwork and captivating stage of Sara Baras, Spain's reigning flamenco queen.
  • A premiere work from Lucy Guerin, The Dark Chorus.
  • The first visit to Melbourne by the world-renowned National Theatre of Scotland, with their gleefully uplifting tribute to youth on the cusp, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour.
  • A brand new production from Geelong's Back to Back Theatre presenting their largest scale work to date, Lady Eats Apple.
  • Barcelona's Teatro de los Sentidos present their astonishing production for just one person at a time, The Echo of the Shadow.
  • A David Bowie tribute featuring iOTA, Tim Rogers, Steve Kilbey, Deborah Conway and Adalita.
  • Philip Glass presenting a live interpretation of Jean Cocteau's masterpiece, LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE, as The Philip Glass Ensemble play his original score live in synchronisation with the film.
  • An intricately intricate large-scale installation by internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota.

One of Melbourne's premier live music venues The Toff in Town will be the late night home of the this year's Melbourne Festival.

The 2016 Melbourne Festival takes place from 6-23 October 2016.

Tickets are on sale from 9am this Friday 5 August.

Explore the full program online