RISING Melbourne’s 2023 program invites audiences to reflect, reckon, rave and revel in Melbourne’s nighttime culture

RISING Melbourne’s 2023 program invites audiences to reflect, reckon, rave and revel in Melbourne’s nighttime culture

A festival that you do in the city that does it best—art, culture, food and music under moonlight: RISING’s expansive 2023 program of 185 events features more than 400 artists including 35 commissions and 12 world premieres, set to ignite the heart of Melbourne from 7—18 June.

Over 12 nights of powerful theatre, exhilarating dance, music that traverses the globe, largescale installation, public performance, free and low cost experiences, and outdoor works of mass participation, RISING will invite audiences to join a 10,000 strong kazoo orchestra, to slice up the ice, and to reflect, reckon, rave and revel in Melbourne’s night-time buzz.

Spilling out across the city’s streets, carparks, churches, theaters, train stations, town squares, and on the banks of the Birrarung, RISING returns this winter to take the city as its stage, bringing the best premiere art and performance from around the world and across Australia.

“RISING is a mass celebration of Melbourne’s unique culture in the heart of the city,” said RISING co-artistic directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek. “The 2023 program is a rallying call to get involved, experience the new and be a part of a festival that couldn’t happen anywhere else.”

A festival that embraces Melbourne’s distinctness—from its hidden spaces to its landmarks reimagined, RISING in 2023 will be a chance for Victorians and visitors alike to discover the city anew. The long abandoned upper level of the city’s iconic Flinders Street Station, now one of the nation’s most unique arts spaces, will become home to Shadow Spirit, a new dimension of First Nations art, and the largest commissioned exhibition of contemporary First Peoples art in Victoria’s history.

Opening on the first day of RISING and extending for an eight week season until July 30, Shadow Spirit sits at RISING’s spiritual and physical centre. A festival of place and time, the 2023 program will reflect this significant moment in our history, bringing First People’s work, stories and culture to the fore with 31 powerful and diverse First Peoples-led projects, spanning theatre, dance, visual art, music, food, music and more.

Set to be a stunning showcase of theatre, dance, and performance, featuring some of the leading names in Australian and international performing arts, RISING’s 2023 program includes compelling and innovative productions that explore themes of identity, community, and resilience.

In Tracker, director-choregrapher Daniel Riley’s first show as Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre, dance, ceremony and oration bring the legendary story of Riley’s great-great-uncle into the now at Arts House. Telling the powerful story of Alec Riley, the Wiradjuri Elder and skilled tracker who joined the New South Wales Police Force in 1911 and served for 40 years, Tracker is performed in the round by an all First Peoples cast, and anchored firmly in present. Presented in association with ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and co-directed by Rachael Maza, it’s an intimate and restlessly inventive ode to shared cultural resilience across generations.

For the company’s diamond anniversary, Australian Ballet has commissioned two ambitious, unique takes on the meaning of identity and the idea of community and the concept of art itself—past, present and future. These powerful perspectives, will come from two of Australia’s leading dance makers, Daniel Riley with his second production in the 2023 program, and Australian Ballet’s resident choreographer Alice Topp.

In the THE HUM Riley evokes the search for cultural perpetuity while centering on the tangible-yet-invisible connection between performers, the orchestra and audience. With a score by celebrated composer and soprano Deborah Cheetham AO and costumes by Taungurung fashion designer Annette Sax, it’s a never-before-seen collaboration between the Australian Dance Theatre artists and The Australian Ballet.

Topp’s work Paragon, is a tribute to the company’s origins, strength and evolution. Starring an intergenerational mix of emerging talent and masters from past decades, it celebrates the tapestry of artists who’ve delicately thumped the stages and shaped Australia’s ballet landscape, exploring the pursuit of perfection and the idea that pressure can form diamonds.

Defying genre and smashing gender clichés at Arts Centre Melbourne, TANZ, the new work from Austrian choreographer and provocateur Florentina Holzinger, who’s been hailed the Tarantino of dance, is an abject two-act romp that plunges meat hooks through the idea of self-optimisation in the name of art, beauty and ballet. TANZ has stirred walkouts and fainting, following it’s premiere in Vienna along with its accolades and rapturous applause. It’s part gross-out comedy, part schlock-horror show, part ghost story, part superhuman dance work.

“Melbourne is the nation’s arts and culture capital and is renowned for creative ventures that push boundaries and imaginations. We’re thrilled to welcome RISING back for another year, with a program that weaves throughout the very fabric of our city-from along the Yarra River-Birrarung, dancing across historic facades and into Town Hall itself for Euphoria. A number of free components means this experience is open and accessible to everyone,” said Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp. “We believe RISING is fast on its way to becoming aniconic, unmissable event on our revered calendar.”

Visit rising.melbourne to learn more.

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