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27 July 2018

From soaring cathedrals of sound to the sweat of the circus and boxing rings, this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival will be an extraordinary adventure through global and local arts, filled with inspiring experiences for people of all ages.

A photo of a dancer


The 2018 Melbourne Festival program features a spectacular line-up of dance, theatre, visual arts, architecture, contemporary and classical music, and free events taking place throughout the city from 3 – 21 October 2018.

The Royal Botanic Gardens will become home to the UK’s leading contemporary circus company NoFit State with the only Australian performance of Lexicon, an extraordinary production celebrating the rich 250-year history of the circus ring.

Visitors will be invited to enter the Royal Botanic Gardens after dark to experience Fire Gardens, a fire-burning spectacular which will see the Gardens illuminated over four special nights.

Following on from the popular House of Mirrors in last year’s Festival, Victorian artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney will return to the Arts Centre forecourt with 1000 Doors, a physically absorbing work providing audiences with an opportunity to choose their own adventure as they go through door after door.

The Festival’s contemporary music program will quench the city’s thirst for ground-breaking live performance. Pioneering Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and experimental electronic artist Alva Noto will blend minimal piano with glitchy beats as they bring their ongoing collaborative performance to Melbourne.

Closer to home, original members of The Go-Betweens will join musical forces with special guests Paul and Dan Kelly, Romy Vager (RVG), Laura Jean, Jen Cloher and more for a 30th anniversary reimagining of one of Australia’s most iconic albums 16 Lovers Lane, in a special one-night-only performance.

One Infinity is a new work developed during a Beijing residency with Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacy and China’s Wang Peng, a master of the Ancient Chinese instrument, the guqin. Now these unique talents have added Victorian director and choreographer Gideon Obarzanek and composer Max de Wardener to create a transformative immersion in music and dance.

With themes of self-discovery, adventure and place, this year’s Festival delivers an immersive theatrical program offering ways of experiencing art through unexpected methods. The program features Prize Fighter set in a boxing ring at Northcote Town Hall, Barking Gecko’s A Ghost In My Suitcase, and Trustees from the Belarus Free Theatre Company (both co-commissioned by Melbourne International Arts Festival).

The MPavilion, to be realised by award-winning Spanish architect Carme Pinós, will be home to jam-packed program of talks, workshops and performances as well as a special Festival closing event, Our Place, Our Home, which will celebrate the many cultures that make up Melbourne.

The Melbourne Festival opens on Wednesday 3 October with Tanderrum – part opening ceremony and part Welcome to Country – as the festival celebrates the ground we stand on and the people whose ancestors walked it before our time.

Peruse the full program