White Night

Lights Up Melbourne and Ballarat

Where Melbourne - - White Night - By Jenny Burns

AS A YOUNG­STER David Atkins used to visit Ballarat yearly to take part in a show or­gan­ised by his tap danc­ing teacher. At the time, never in his wildest dreams did he think he would re­turn to or­gan­ise a 12-hour artis­tic ex­trav­a­ganza.

Yet in his role as Artis­tic Di­rec­tor and Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer of White Night Melbourne and White Night Ballarat that’s ex­actly what he is do­ing. And he couldn’t be more de­lighted.

“I have never de­liv­ered a fes­ti­val be­fore and White Night is a very spe­cial event,” ex­plained Atkins, one of Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful pro­duc­ers and artis­tic di­rec­tors.

White Night Melbourne is be­ing held in the streets, laneways and gar­dens of Melbourne’s CBD from 7pm to 7am on Satur­day 18 Fe­bru­ary while the inau­gu­ral White Night Ballarat will fol­low on Satur­day 4 March.

Dur­ing both 12-hour events, in­stal­la­tions, light­ing, ex­hi­bi­tions, street per­for­mances, film, mu­sic and dance will trans­form the cities into hubs of cul­ture and cre­ativ­ity.

While cu­rat­ing White Night has been a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Atkins he has no­ticed many sim­i­lar­i­ties to his pre­vi­ous work.

“In some ways it’s like a cer­e­mony in that you do a great deal of prepa­ra­tion work and then the event hap­pens in a few hours,” he said.

Atkins is very ex­pe­ri­enced in cre­at­ing such cer­e­monies. His ex­ten­sive work to date in­cludes the Sydney 2000 Olympic cer­e­monies, the open­ing, clos­ing and vic­tory cer­e­monies of the Van­cou­ver 2010 Olympic Win­ter Games and the Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games Flag Han­dover cer­e­mony at the 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow.

At the same time there have been some ma­jor dif­fer­ences in put­ting to­gether White Night.

“While I had my own ideas for cre­ative pieces for both Melbourne and Ballarat, on­line sub­mis­sions from or­gan­i­sa­tions in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing is an im­por­tant part of White Night,” he ex­plained.

“This year we had around 800 sub­mis­sions—600 for Melbourne and 200 for Ballarat so put­ting both events to­gether has been very in­ter­est­ing. We have seen some fan­tas­tic pieces from a va­ri­ety of artists.”

Atkins is con­fi­dent the ap­prox­i­mately 110 works cho­sen for Melbourne White Night and 40 for Ballarat will wow au­di­ences.

While reg­u­lar at­ten­dees to Melbourne White Night, now in its 5th year, will no­tice some changes, they won’t be rad­i­cal.

“Melbourne White Night has been re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful but we are mak­ing some ad­just­ments based on public feed­back,” Atkins ex­plained.

“Sonic Light Bub­ble”.


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