The 29th Melbourne Festival concludes27 Oct
MEDIA RELEASE – 27 October 2014
The 29th Melbourne Festival concluded on Sunday with rapturous responses to the final performances in the Trisha Brown Dance Company retrospective, Shaun Parker’s AM I, Heiner Goebbels’ epic When the mountain changed its clothing, the conclusion of the Circus focus with Dislocate’s If These Walls Could Talk, and with the Foxtel Festival Hub bursting with revelry, as it did on so many occasions throughout the 17 day celebration.
This year’s Festival program, which ran from Friday 10 October to Sunday 26 October, featured close to 100 events, almost half of which were free; 15 world premieres; 21 Australian premieres; 6 specially commissioned works; 1000 artists from 23 different countries; across more than 30 venues.
It connected with an incredibly diverse audience from toddlers with Primo (set in a swimming pool); to Melbourne’s vast Greek community with superstar Mihalis Hatzigiannis thrilling over 4000 people at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl; to techno fans who experienced their DJ hero, Jeff Mills in the unusual surrounds of Hamer Hall with the MSO.
Indigenous artists and events were a strong feature of Creative Director, Josephine Ridge’s second Festival: this year once again commenced with TANDERRUM, a powerful exchange of story, song and dance from the five clans of the Kulin nation, and was followed by MURRU, a musical tribute to young Yindjibarndi man John Pat. Big hART’s extraordinary music theatre piece, Hipbone Sticking Out was a standout event for many Festival-goers, along with KAGE’s Team of Life. The Festival also hosted the world premiere of Brown Cab Productions’ My Lovers’ Bones.
The Circus focus was enthusiastically embraced, from the exquisite and epic performances of Opus and Cirkopolis on the State Theatre stage, to the engaging collaboration between acrobats from Nanjing and Victoria’s Flying Fruit Fly Circus and NICA.
The Trisha Brown Dance Company retrospective, From All Angles introduced Melbourne audiences to the searching intelligence of the NYC choreographer’s work, with performances of 18 works from 1973 to 2011.
A residency by UK’s ground-breaking Aurora Orchestra proved them to be one of the most exciting outfits in modern classical music.
The Foxtel Festival Hub enjoyed a bumper year, with thousands flocking to the banks of the Yarra to soak up the bountiful spring sunshine, the smoky wonders of the onsite BBQ, contemporary music events, and numerous artist talks and free events in the performance space.
Tens of thousands took a (very slow) spin on Belgian artist Carsten Höller’s Golden Mirror Carousel in the NGV, thousands flocked to the exhibition of Vivian Maier’s photographs at CCP, and Framed Movements at ACCA. Hundreds of thousands engaged with Melbourne Art Trams (and the eight mobile art works continue to traverse the tracks), along with Linda Tegg’s Grasslands installation on the forecourt of the State Library.
And who says Melbourne doesn’t give standing ovations? Audiences leapt to their feet at performance after performance, and critics were united in their enthusiasm for so many of the 2014 program’s eclectic offerings.
Merging of art forms was a feature of this year’s program, with many defying traditional categorisation, and the scale of events varied enormously, from the epic presentation of 40 teenage girls on the State Theatre stage (When the Mountain Changed Its Clothing), and Hamer Hall full to the rafters with fans (Jeff Mills, Pat Metheny), to a per show audience of only two (Since I Suppose), to an audience of children under five (Pepper the Monkey and the Rainbow Circus).
The Festival expects to achieve a box office in excess of $2 million for the seventh consecutive year, despite a smaller number of events and an increase in free programming in 2014. The average ticket priced dropped dramatically from $52 in 2013 to $43 this year, reflecting a desire to be as inclusive as possible.
Josephine Ridge said: “We try to achieve a lot of things with each Melbourne Festival: to present great artists from around the world and from within our own community; to enable artists to create new work; and to partner with many of our extraordinary organisations and institutions so that together we can achieve something really special.
“But on top of all that, one of the really wonderful results of this year’s Festival has been the enthusiasm with which our audiences have embraced the many experiences we have offered. In so many ways, a festival is about connections and this year the very real and live connection between audiences and the artists and their work has been fantastic.”
The 30th anniversary edition of Melbourne Festival will be held from Thursday 8 to Sunday 25 October 2015.
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