Art & Design

Our Top 10 Picks of Melbourne Festival

By Hannah Valmadre
10th Oct 2014

Melbourne Festival begins today and, as always, the program is an impressive combination of home grown heroes and internationally renowned artists. Whatever your preferred arts medium may be, whether it's music, dance, theatre, film, visual art or design, there will be something for you in this year's stellar program. Melbourne Festival is not just an excellent chance to see world-class performances, but it also gives artists an opportunity to collaborate and create something truly innovative. To save you hours of deliberation, here are our Top 10 Picks of Melbourne Festival.


There are few albums that have made such a lasting impression as the Avalanches debut (and only) LP, Since I Left You. Recorded in 2000, the album features up to 3,500 vinyl samples and it was never thought possible to be played live, until now. Jonti and Astral People are teaming up, and will be joined by a 17-person orchestra, to recreate Since I Left You in its entirety live. To that we say, 'You're a nut! You're crazy in the coconut!' but who are we stop this glorious madness?


One thing that makes Melbourne Festival stand out amongst the plethora of arts festivals this great city hosts is its inclusion of circus as an art form. And so they should. Coming to you from Montreal, Cirque Éloize is bringing Australian audiences their latest award winning show, Cirkopolis. The show is visually inspired by Fritz Lang's film Metropolis, and it's an excellent mix of spectacle and creativity. A bored office worker's imagination springs to life, and his grey and dreary office becomes a wonderland filled with jugglers, acrobats and contortionists. Just another day at the office? We think not.


Belgian artist Carsten Höller is bringing something big and shiny to Melbourne Festival this year, and we're keen to see this contraption in action. This is not the first time Höller has worked with carousels; previous works include Mirror Carousel (2005) and Double Carousel with Zöllner Stripes (2011). The coolest part is that you can actually get on this fairground ride, just don't expect it to reach any giddy high speeds. The Golden Mirror Carousel will be located in Federation Court at the NGV International.


Chunky Move's Artistic Director Anouk van Dijk and playwright Falk Richter have been working together on various projects for the last 15 years, and their latest creation incorporates text, movement and music. Complexity of Belonging explores identity in the age of social media in a darkly humorous way. It follows nine characters grappling with self-imposed questions of where they fit within a hyper-connected globalised society. Challenging and timely, this piece will no doubt get audiences talking.


Detroit techno pioneer Jell Mills joins forces with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to create Light From The Outside World. Here, drum machines work alongside a 60-piece orchestra to mix classical, jazz and electronica genres together. While Mills may have made a name for himself as a techno DJ and producer in the mid 1980s, he has since worked his magic with minimal compositions featuring in film, dance, and contemporary art. No matter what your musical preference may be, this is going to blow some minds.


In its simplest form, Framed Moments explores the potential that lies at the shifting boundaries between dance and art. Curated by Hannah Mathews, Framed Movements includes works by both Australian and international artists who use a choreographic approach when constructing art. A highlight of the exhibition will be the Australian premiere of New York performance artist Maria Hassabi's Intermission. The exhibition also features film, installation, photography and performance.


Want to experience theatre in the digital age? Melbourne's city streets will be the setting, but the performances will play out on a handheld device, blurring the lines between art and reality. The performance will be Shakespeare's Measure For Measure, but unlike you've ever experienced it before. The performance is viewed two people at a time and takes a total of two and a half hours to wind your way around to each CBD location.  Co-created by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Richard Jordan Production Ltd, expect the unexpected, and wear sensible shoes.


Heiner Goebbels, one of Europe's greatest living artistic legends, is bringing 40 young singers from the world-renowned Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica to Melbourne for his latest production. When The Mountain Changed Its Clothing explores the transition from youth to adulthood, blending dance, spoken word and song to create his latest masterpiece. Goebbels' last performance as part of the Melbourne Festival was in 2010 and there has been a lot of (well deserved) hype around this year's offering; if there are still tickets, grab them.


Acclaimed film score composer, Clint Mansell, will be performing a retrospective of his work with a nine-piece band at Melbourne Recital Centre. Mansell is particularly renowned for his work scoring all of Darren Aronofsky's projects, including Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, Pi and Noah. His eerie and expansive soundscapes are immediately identifiable, and the performance will be paired with haunting visuals to take audience members to another dimension. Not just a concert, but an experience.


Rowland S. Howard was possibly one of Australia's most influential guitarists, with a career that spanned over 30 years in bands including The Birthday Party and also as a solo artist. His final album, Pop Crimes, was released in 2009 – the same year as his all-too-soon demise. A collection of musical guests who have worked with and been influenced by the genius of Rowland S. Howard will pay tribute to him, on what would have been his 55th birthday. Performers include Adalita, Harry Howard, Mick Harvey, JP Shilo and many others. Sure to be a moving night dedicated to one of Melbourne's greats.

We hope you enjoy our top 10 picks of Melbourne Festival, Listers!


Main image credit: Melbourne Festival 

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