City to enjoy new cultural precinct program from University of Melbourne Arts and Culture

February 21, 2024

Photo credit: Geraint LewisThe University of Melbourne Arts and Culture (UMAC) will showcase an engaging first-year program of public shows at the Arts and Culture Precinct on the Parkville campus for students and the community to enjoy. University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global, Culture and Engagement) Professor Michael Wesley highlighted the significance of the program and experiences for the student and wider community. “The University of Melbourne is proud of its long-standing support of the performing arts community,’’ Professor Wesley said. Headlining UMAC’s 2024 program is the Victorian premiere of Counting and Cracking as part of RISING (31 May-23 June at the Union Theatre). “This is just one of many projects we look forward to welcoming audiences to at the wonderful arts and culture precinct at the University.

Kaivu Suvarna From 2022 production of Counting and Cracking. Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

The University of Melbourne Arts and Culture (UMAC) will showcase an engaging first-year program of public shows at the Arts and Culture Precinct on the Parkville campus for students and the community to enjoy.

UMAC was created to strengthen the University’s long-standing commitment to the performing arts by presenting, curating and commissioning inspiring and entertaining arts experiences to enrich student life and engage the public throughout the year.

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global, Culture and Engagement) Professor Michael Wesley highlighted the significance of the program and experiences for the student and wider community.

“The University of Melbourne is proud of its long-standing support of the performing arts community,’’ Professor Wesley said.

“The expansion and utilisation of our theatres and spaces on campus allows us to offer incredible local and international cultural performance experiences to our students and the wider community.”

The Arts and Culture precinct includes three main venues: the new Union and Guild Theatres at the $70-million Arts & Cultural Building, the magnificently restored deco Building 189 and the open-air Amphitheatre.

This 6 Star Greenstar New Build precinct has already been recognised with multiple wins at the Australian Institute of Architects and the 2023 Good Design Awards.

Under the leadership of University of Melbourne Performing Arts Director Virginia Lovett, UMAC will be programmed annually with major contemporary works, activating these civic, cultural spaces in the CBD North and offer a new destination for arts lovers and artists.

Headlining UMAC’s 2024 program is the Victorian premiere of Counting and Cracking as part of RISING (31 May-23 June at the Union Theatre). Since its debut with Belvoir at the 2019 Sydney Festival, the gripping Sri Lankan-Australian family epic has been showered with accolades including eight Helpmann Awards and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama and the Prize for Literature.Counting and Cracking has received five stars from ArtsHub and The Times UK.

“Counting and Cracking is exactly the sort of show we want to present at UMAC – important, transformative and community-driven with brilliant storytelling,” Ms Lovett said.

“This is just one of many projects we look forward to welcoming audiences to at the wonderful arts and culture precinct at the University.

“Co-presenting with the city’s major festivals and events reinforces the University’s place as a leader and contributor to Victoria’s creative industries and Melbourne’s global reputation.  Students will now have the opportunity to experience world-class productions as part of their university life.

“Together with the long-held tradition of theatre presented by the Student Union during semester, the annual UMAC program will ensure these venues are operating year-round, embedding them into the life of not only the student but the city,” Ms Lovett said.

Other productions this year include Britney Spears: The Cabaret (18 - 19 April, Union Theatre) starring Christie Whelan Browne as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival; Pieces (November, Union Theatre), a large-scale dance co-commission with Lucy Guerin Inc showcasing bold new contemporary dance works by the next generation of independent choreographers alongside exclusive opportunities for University of Melbourne students; Victorian Opera’s English Eccentrics (4 – 6 July, Union Theatre); the return of Chunky Move’s acclaimed dance work 4/4 (November, Union Theatre) before it embarks on a tour to London’s Southbank Centre and across Europe; and the unique song cycle Spinifex Gum (November, Union Theatre), featuring the award-winning Marliya – a Cairns-based ensemble of Aboriginal and Torres Strait teenage singers.

UMAC has also commissioned two new works in development:

  • Love in the Time of Revolution, a theatrical imagining by Zindzi Okenyo, Sarah Goodes, Dr Rebecca Sheehan and Courtney Collinsexploring the early days of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Black activism and Second Wave Feminism inspired by letters between Germaine Greer and Roberta Sykes in the University’s archives.
  • A List of Games Buddha Would Not Play, which will beled by co-creators and performers Joe Paradise Lui and Vidya Rajan as they produce a new performance work that reflects the diversity of contemporary Australia.

Complementing the 2024 program will be a series of public talks and events which will take place at Building 189’s Market Hall and in the Amphitheatre.

The source of this news is from University of Melbourne

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