• performing

9 January 2019

From musical blockbusters, diverse theatre, bold contemporary dance and world-class shows at iconic regional venues it’s set to be a massive year in dance and theatre for artists and audiences alike. Here’s just a taste of what’s in store.

picasso and his dog

Picasso and his Dog

Starring familiar faces

Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn hits the Melbourne stage alongside local favourites Lisa McCune and William McInnes in 33 Variations. At the Melbourne Theatre Company, Nadine Garner plays Dr. Rosalind Franklin in Photograph 51 and Offspring favourite Kat Stewart joins the cast of Heisenberg.

Fresh voices

The irreverent lesbian musical Romeo is not the only Fruit by Victorian playwright Jean Tong plays Wodonga’s Hothouse Theatre in March.

Picasso and his Dog, a puppet show as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids, kicks off at Arts Centre Melbourne before visiting regional towns, while This is Eden - developed with support through the VicArts Grants program - makes its regional Victorian debut later this year.

Malthouse Theatre presents a fresh take on the famed novel and film Wake in Fright and Victorian Opera will stage the world premiere of The Selfish Giant – a opera based on the fairy tale by Oscar Wilde, featuring members of the Victorian Opera Youth Chorus Ensemble and young opera artists.

Local stages

You don’t have to wander far from home to see the best in theatre and dance. Every major regional town in the state - and some smaller spots too - has its own performing arts centre with an annual program of performances and events featuring local stars alongside high-profile tours by the likes of Circus Oz. Fresh from major redevelopments, West Gippsland Arts Centre is back and bigger than ever and the historic Ararat Town Hall is once again hosting performances following its stunning makeover.


Everyone knows about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the musical but don’t miss Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre celebrates a facelift (and new seats) with Tony-award winning musical Come From Away, Muriel’s Wedding relocates to Melbourne after its successful Sydney season and Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2019 program sees Shakespeare In Love make its Australian debut.

New moves

The biennial Dance Massive Festival returns in March with a 12-day celebration of new work from established and emerging Australian dance companies and choreographers. Presented by Dancehouse, ArtsHouse and Malthouse Theatre, the festival lives up to its name with a packed program across six venues around Melbourne.

Bangarra Dance Theatre brings its acclaimed Bennelong production to Bendigo, Geelong and Warragul.

Independent icons

The Sapphires are back on the road, with the acclaimed play, written and directed by Victoria’s own Tony Briggs, set to take in 33 regional Victorian destinations across the year as part of a national tour.

With hundreds of independent companies and venues spread around the state keep an eye out for the latest productions from Back to Back Theatre and La Mama Theatre’s 2019 season landing January 15. For opera like you’ve never seen it before, follow Chamber Made Opera or glimpse the future with Courthouse Youth ArtsILBIJERRI Theatre Company will continue to present incredible theatre that tells the stories of our first nations people and organisations and venues like Theatre WorksArtsHouse or fortyfivedownstairs will continue to showcase the talents of independent artists from Victoria and beyond.

If you’re a Victorian-based creative individual, collective or organisation with a brilliant project or program idea check out the VicArts Grant program.