Arts & Culture
Be amazed by the lavish musicals, enthralling exhibitions and magical festivals that have culture vultures spoiled for choice each time
they visit Melbourne.
Exhibitions to Inspire
Contemporary art from around the world — more than a hundred artists from 32 countries are involved — is the focus of NGV Triennial (until 15 November) at NGV International. As well as art, there’s a program of talks, workshops, kids’ events and musical offerings. At NGV Australia, The Field Revisited
(24 April – 26 August) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking exhibition called The Field, an exploration of Australian colour field painting and abstract sculpture. At ACMI, the world of Lewis Carroll comes alive for the world premiere of Wonderland (5 April – 7 October), which celebrates the screen history of his famous Alice tales. ngv.vic.gov.au acmi.net.au
The World’s a Stage
Go over the rainbow with Dorothy in the stage musical adaptation of one of the world’s favourite stories, Wizard of Oz (from 15 May). Depending on the day you book, you’ll see a local rock star — either Phil Jamieson, Adalita or Sarah McLeod — take on the role of St Jimmy in Green Day’s American Idiot (until 11 March). International sensation Stomp ’18 (1–6 May) arrives for just eight shows of rhythm, theatre, dance and comedy. wizardofozthemusical.com americanidiotlive.com.au marrinergroup.com.au
Stop to smell the blooms at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (21–25 March). For five autumn days, you can see the best landscape and floral talent in the world at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. The free Buddha Day & Multicultural Festival (19–20 May) celebrates the Buddha’s birthday with a huge range of blessings, musical and cultural events and, of course, vegetarian food in Federation Square. melbflowershow.com.au buddhaday.org.au
Connect with the Land
Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Melbourne Gardens, on the land of the Kulin nation, with an Indigenous guide. He or she will perform a traditional smoking ceremony, then tell you about the local Boonerwurrung and Woiwurrung people and how they used native plants for food, tools and medicine.
At Melbourne Museum, Bunjilaka’s First Peoples exhibition tells the story of Aboriginal Victoria. It’s a story that stretches back more than 60,000 years and this exhibition celebrates the diversity, continuity and vitality of the Koorie people. Visit the Milarri Garden to see plants used by the Indigenous people and view sculptures and animals. At 1.45pm each day, a guide feeds the short-finned eels in Milarri Pond and explains their importance to Aboriginal people. museumsvictoria.com.au/ bunjilaka
Trace the history and culture of the Indigenous people of south-eastern Australia from Creation Time till the present day at the Koorie Heritage Trust Indigenous Culture Centre’s interactive multimedia exhibition. There are also three galleries showing Koorie art and artefacts, and an exhibition called Listen To Your Elders (until 3 June), which features oral history recordings of Koorie Elders telling their stories and sharing their knowledge.
The centre is also the starting point for the Birrarung Wilma (River Camp) Walk. With a friendly guide, you’ll walk down to Birrarung Marr on the banks of the Yarra River to gain a more meaningful appreciation of the location and its significance to local Indigenous people.
See Another Side
Follow in the footsteps of famous performers on the Backstage Tour at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Visit dressing rooms, hidden passageways and the technical areas of this vast performance venue. Watch dancers jeté through their daily classes, visit the wardrobe department and explore the pointe shoe room during an intimate guided tour of the Australian Ballet Centre. Find out what goes on behind the scenes at Parliament House. On nonsitting weekdays, there are a number of general tours, but check the schedule for architecture, art and garden tours, too. artscentremelbourne.com.au australianballet.com.au parliament.vic.gov.au
From Times’ Past
Older than the city itself is Cooks’ Cottage. Built in 1755 in Yorkshire, it was the childhood home of Captain James Cook, but was carefully transported to Melbourne in 1934 and rebuilt in Fitzroy Gardens. Now guests can see interpretations of Cook’s voyages, antiques and a cottage garden. Between 1842 and 1929, Old Melbourne Gaol held the state’s worst prisoners and witnessed 133 hangings, including that of bushranger Ned Kelly. See historic artefacts at the museum and find out what it was like to be held here during the Watch House Experience. melbourne.vic.gov.au/cookscottage oldmelbournegaol.com.au
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Angel, Birrarung Marr
Koorie Heritage Trust Indigenous Culture Centre
Aboriginal Heritage Walk
Word on the Street Virginia (49) from Hawthorn “We spent hours at NGV Triennial. The works are captivating, but none more so than Einat Amir’s Coming Soon Near You. She installed a living room in one gallery and invited people to bring a VHS tape....
Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
Old Melbourne Gaol