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No more excuses: Arts Life in Melbourne

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Bethany Simons

Bethany Simons

There are no excuses, only apologies. It’s been so long since I last wrote, and I’ve been trying to work out why. You may have thought (as I did) that once the national tour of The Weather and Your Health was over, I’d have plenty of time on my hands, which would no doubt result in regular column entries. Turns out I got my life back for about a moment, before handing it straight over to the Melbourne arts scene.

Tonight, I sat down and flicked through my diary to try and work out where on earth the last two months have gone. I may not have written as much as I had hoped or planned, I may not have slept as much as my body needed, but I did surprise myself in other ways. My iCal tells me that, in the last 8 weeks, I have attended over 25 arts related events. So much for home-cooked meals and early nights in front of the heater. (Apparently the Olympics are on?)

Granted, I’d been fairly starved for any sort of news or culture leading up to this point, having focussed all my energy on my own work for so long. But, even I was shocked to realise how much I have been out and about soaking up marvellous Melbourne. This isn’t a review column, but I thought you might be interested to see the range of events that, when lumped together, still barely scratch the surface of what this wonderful city has to offer:

""[My iCal tells me that, in the last 8 weeks, I have attended over 25 arts related events/pull_left]

Australian Ballet’s Onegin, As You Like It at the Victorian College of the Arts, Circa and Blood Wedding at Malthouse Theatre, Tying Knots and Of Words and War at La Mama Theatre and Carlton Courthouse, The Producers at the State Theatre, Orchestra Victoria’s Mozart’s Requiem, Hayden Calnin, The Vaudeville Smash, and Communion Launch at The Toff in Town, Flavoured Rhythm’s Salsa Night at Dock, Art & Soul Exhibition at 75 on Reid, Melbourne Festival Launch, Matt Corby at The Forum, So You Want Your Musical to Succeed seminar at Auspicious Arts Incubator, Paul Daniel Conducts, Vers Minuit and Viola! week at Australian National Academy of Music, Twisted Broadway Melbourne, Gertrude Street Projection Festival (3 times), Melbourne Open House, studio audience for the pilot filming of Everybody Dance Now, and Hamer Hall Opening Celebration Concert.

Oh, and I popped home for a few days to see my family and managed to catch a few dance sections of the Dubbo Eisteddfod too. (Sorry. I shouldn’t rub it in – not everyone can just pack up and visit Dubbo for a few days. I’ll stick to Melbourne events from now on…)

I don’t have enough room to go into much detail here, but from the above list, I experienced professional, co-op and student theatre, circus, ballet, salsa, orchestral and chamber concerts, independent music gigs, architecture, variety acts, musical theatre, design, visual arts and the all important networking opportunities. I am also willing to admit that I experienced the good, the not-so good and the truly wonderful. That’s what it’s about. Taking a risk, opening your mind and your wallet in order to expose yourself to someone else’s labour of love.

Don’t let money hold you back. If you don’t have connections to get you company rush tickets, why not try student theatre and performance? If you’re strictly interested in professional work (which isn’t always a guaranteed great night out, just so you know) under 30’s are given discounts at various venues in Melbourne. Not under 30? Then, get your seniors card out! In that awkward phase of life known as 31 – 59? Hallelujah, these discount ticketing options are open to anyone and everyone:

LittleBirdyTix- pay an annual membership fee and gain access to FREE tickets for a range of events.
HalfTix - pop into the box office on Swanston Street to secure daily ticketing discounts.

Melbourne is known for its culture. Blink and you miss a festival. So, keep your eyes peeled, flick through the arts pages, pick up flyers, read blogs, visit sites like this one, get a group together and take a risk. Not sure whether you should trust a review? You could go because someone else told you to, or you could just go…

No more excuses.

Visit Bethany Simons’ website bethanysimons.com

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Bethany has written 42 articles on AussieTheatre
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