Lights Up Melbourne and Ballarat
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.