Creative jobs and liveability in Melbourne’s west will receive a boost with $2.3 million in funding announced to support local artists and Victoria’s flagship festivals to stage events in venues across the region in the year ahead.
From Werribee to Newport, Caroline Springs to Footscray, the Go West Fund is backing new drawcard events for diverse local audiences while creating job opportunities for local artists and workers including producers and technical crews.
Kicking off the Go West activities, Melbourne International Comedy Festival will bring shows featuring the likes of Bob Franklin, Andrew Hansen, Suren Jayamanne and Celia Pacquola to venues throughout the west as part of this year’s program. The festival will also deliver performance and writing workshops in the west later this year.
In October, Melbourne International Jazz Festival will host a program of 29 events, including major commissions by local artists, while next year, Midsumma will present a queer photography festival including 10 major new public artworks by local and international creatives along with mentoring for artists based in the west.
In addition to bringing new events to communities in the west, the fund is also investing in local artists and creative companies to present new work.
Footscray’s much loved Snuff Puppets will host a festival at their Footscray Drill Hall headquarters in September, while Melbourne Fringe will present a program out west involving local creatives at its 2023 and 2024 festivals.
Australia’s only First Peoples-led circus company, Na Djinang, will present a new performance that combines local flora, contemporary circus and storytelling as part of Melbourne Fringe in 2024, while Women’s Circus will stage their work Momentum as an indoor immersive theatre production in St Albans in November.
Award-winning theatre ensemble Born in a Taxi will create a new work to present in the west in 2024 that will involve community members of all ages, while Western Edge Youth Arts will launch New Voices for the West, which will support a young west-based playwright to create an original work.
The Go West Fund was supported in the 2022/23 Victorian Budget.