Arts Centre Melbourne welcomes visitors back with cabaret on the Playhouse stage, Ghostly Machines in Hamer Hall and family activities on the Forecourt

Arts Centre Melbourne has begun turning off its ghost lights to welcome back visitors from Saturday 27 June with music and cabaret on the Playhouse stage, a spectacular light and sound installation at Hamer Hall and fun activations for families on the Forecourt. The program is the first part of a staged reopening following the Victorian Government’s gradual easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Beginning Saturday 27 June, for several weeks, Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse stage will be transformed into the Playhouse Lounge, a salon-style performance venue where audiences sit on stage to enjoy the very best of local music, comedy, cabaret, burlesque and contemporary performance while enjoying a bespoke menu of food and beverages designed to suit the event. The season will support more than 70 independent local artists as they entertain our audiences.

Launching the season on June 27 will be Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite-Variety-Nite Night, every Saturday night at 6:30pm and 9pm, featuring laugh-out-loud comedy acts, saucy burlesque, and heart-stopping cabaret from Melbourne’s finest acts hand-picked by McGregor. This variety show is a night of quality entertainment and was one of the first shows to be cancelled as part of the closure in March. Tickets are on sale now.

Hamer Hall will be brought to life by Ghostly Machines, a spectacular free experience with sessions across the day that begins on Saturday 27 June and continues until Sunday 12 July. Hamer Hall reawakens for a visual and sonic feast of mechanical ballet, kinetic art and immersive soundscape created by Arts Centre Melbourne’s Production team. Ghostly Machines looks at what would happen if the machines, lighting and sound systems starred in their own show, using memories of past performances and celebrating the reopening of the venue. The result is an automated, choreographed “mechanical ballet” that turns the performance space into a mysterious and enchanting place.

Families will have the chance to participate in Winter School Holidays activities over 12 days starting Saturday 27 June. The program, which will employ 15 external local artists and arts workers, will begin with Polyglot Theatre’s Boats, a playful activity where large lightweight boats propelled by a flurry of feet enable families working as crew to voyage across the high seas.

From Wednesday 8 July Born In a Taxi’s The Curious Game (originally commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne) returns, bringing to life characters from an over-sized chess board in a game for all ages. On the final weekend, Thomas & Wells will be creating ‘Window Theatre’ in the Arts Centre Melbourne Theatres Building. This is a visually striking interactive and responsive performance concept that will surprise, enthral, amuse and engage passers-by and transform the forecourt precinct.

As part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s reopening program, the Australian Music Vault, a free exhibition showcasing Australian music and iconic objects from our Australian Performing Arts Collection will reopen to the public. There will also be self-guided tours of the Theatres Building and Arts Centre Melbourne’s award-wining café, Protagonist, will be open for delicious food and beverages.

The Arts Centre Melbourne car park will continue to be open to the public but can now be booked online via the Arts Centre Melbourne website.

“We are thrilled that we are now able to welcome visitors back to some of our venues for this unique program of events, performances and activities,” says Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer AM.

Visitors to Arts Centre Melbourne will be required to provide contact details to assist with contact tracing, with privacy regulations adhered to. All visitors are encouraged to download the Australian Government’s COVID Safe app to assist with rapid tracing.

Patrons are requested to not attend the venues if unwell. All cancellations due to ill health will receive a refund. Arts Centre Melbourne is maintaining strict physical distancing measures (1 person per 4 square metres and 1.5 metres apart). Patrons are advised to be patient and give others space, make use of hand sanitisers and wash their hands frequently while on site.

A deep clean of the buildings will be undertaken before reopening and regular sanitation and cleaning will take place in line with government guidelines.

For the latest advice on good hygiene and how to stay safe, visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ dedicated coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s Together With You digital content hub will continue to bring the best of the performing arts to audiences at home, including performance recordings, educational workshops, artist interviews, podcasts and more episodes of the spectacular weekly musical entertainment show Big Night In with John Foreman, the Aussie Pops Orchestra and a host of other artists and performers.

For more information and to book free and ticketed events in the reopening program – and for Arts Centre Melbourne’s health and safety policies and additional digital content and experiences – visit www.artscentremelbourne.com.au.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

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