16.07.2019

The star-studded Melbourne International Arts Festival program has been unveiled

Rite of Spring
Words by Kate Streader

The iconic festival goes out with a bang.

The program for this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival has dropped and, as always, it offers a delectable assortment of live music, visual arts, theatre and dance. Ranging from the renowned to the eccentric, the program is far-reaching and certain to please.

On the music front, US rockers The Flaming Lips will perform their album The Soft Bulletin in its entirety to celebrate its 20th anniversary, while Joan As Policeman is set to deliver a rare solo concert revealing the bare bones of her songs and emphasise her prowess as a songwriter. As for Kamasi Washington, he’ll be doing what he does best: bringing an electrifying live show bursting with jazz-fuelled solos and emphatic groove.

It doesn’t end there, either. There’ll also be music performances from the likes of Nitin Sawhney, Ghost Gamelan, Lina Andonovska, Kukangendai, Matthias Schack-Arnott, and more.

Theatre enthusiasts are in for a treat, too. The Nico Project delves into the world of one of pop culture’s most enigmatic figures, Christa Päffgen — aka Nico — in an Australian exclusive. Starring Maxine Peake (Black Mirror, Shameless) in the lead role, a cast of 15 female musicians will bring this tale to life. Other theatre productions on the program include Australian premieres of Roots, Grey RockThe End of Eddy and A Brimful of Asha.

You can also expect visual art exhibitions and installations from London’s Haroon Mirza, German/Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball, Japanese animation group Teamlab and a range of other artists. Captivating dance groups from around the world will touch down in the city, such as China’s renowned Yang Liping Contemporary Dance company, set to perform the Aussie premiere of Rite of Spring.

As always, a handful of Melbourne trams will be getting a facelift with the Melbourne Art Trams program. Eight artists have been commissioned to makeover the humble Melbourne icon this year.

This is the final Melbourne International Arts Festival before it merges with White Night to become a brand new event, so don’t miss out.

Melbourne International Arts Festival is happening from Wednesday October 2 until Sunday October 20. For more information and the full program, head to the Melbourne International Arts Festival website.