Friday, 17 February 2017

New Events in Melbourne and Victoria for 2017

The Backlot Rooftop Drive-in

From its elevated site in Melbourne's Docklands, The Backlot Rooftop Drive-in will accommodate 65 vehicles and will show films against a 360-degree view of Melbourne's dazzling city lights. On offer are first-release films, encompassing all genres, via staggered evening sessions across two giant, state-of-the art raised screens. For those without a car, there will be an intimate 'blue-deck' seating area with sound received through supplied headphones. From December 26. 90 Waterfront Way, Docklands.


From the Shadow Electric team, Shimmerlands is a new two-month long outdoor festival that will be held at Melbourne University's Parkville campus. The campus will be divided into four main entertainment areas: The Cinema, The Pavilion, Live Music and The Food Quarter. In addition to multiple bars and outdoor dining areas, the grounds will host a concert hall, outdoor cinema and an open-air amphitheatre. January 1 to February 26, 2017. Grattan Street, Parkville.

Circus 1903

Circus 1903 celebrates the golden age of circus with a cast of acts from all over the world. From strong men to contortionists, acrobats to musicians, knife throwers to high wire performers, this show has a little bit of everything. But the real highlight will no doubt be the two life size elephants created by the puppeteers and model makers who made the life-like horse that featured in War Horse. Put together by the producers of The Illusionists, Circus 1903 will launch 3 January at Regent Theatre.

The Book of Mormon

In an Australian premiere, The Book of Mormon - the first Broadway Musical by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker - will land in Melbourne in January. Resulting in sell-out seasons wherever it goes, this cheeky musical has already sold out the first month of its Melbourne run. Opens 18 January at the Princess Theatre.

Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts

For the first time ever, Melbourne will host Asia TOPA (Triennial of Performing Arts) from January to April. The festival of Asian-focused performance and culture will present performing, visual, screen and literary arts programs, commissioned works and collaborations between Australian artists, and artists from the region. It will be hosted at and with Melbourne arts venues and companies including Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Federation Square, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Grampians Music Festival

The inaugural Grampians Music Festival will offer a mix of indie folk, pop, rock and blues music in a range of venues around Halls Gap on 24–26 February. There will be a mix of acts both big and small featuring up-and-coming artists and local talent, as well as musicians who just turn up and play.

AFL Women's League

Australia's first national women's Australian Football League (AFL) will kick off in 2017. The inaugural season is scheduled to begin in February with eight teams competing. Three of the eight teams will hail from Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, placing the city at the centre of the competition in keeping with AFL tradition. The line-up includes: Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Brisbane, Greater Western Sydney and Fremantle.

White Night Ballarat

For the first time ever, White Night Melbourne will be joined by a regional counterpart, with the inaugural White Night Ballarat set to take place on 4 March – two weeks after the Melbourne event. White Night Ballarat will showcase the city's heritage streetscape in a whole new light with projections to feature on some of the city's most historic buildings. In another first, both events will be under the artistic direction of David Atkins OAM.

The World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards

In 2017, Melbourne will become only the third city in the world (after London and New York) to host the annual World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards – the global ranking which has become the most coveted for the world's best chefs. On 5 April, Victoria will welcome more than 800 of the world's culinary elite for the program of events – cementing the city's reputation as a global food destination and trend-setter. The annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will coincide with this major international awards program, positioning Victoria at the centre of a celebration of food and drink culture on a scale never before seen in Australia.

Lord of the Flies

Arts Centre Melbourne will host choreographer Matthew Bourne's production of Lord of the Flies, an adaptation of William Golding's classic novel, from 5–9 April. An Australian exclusive, the production will see the story transferred from deserted island to a deserted theatre, as a group of schoolboys find themselves abandoned. With no adults around they start to make their own rules and create their own civilisation, before order breaks down and the story builds to an electrifying climax.

Van Gogh and the Seasons

The National Gallery of Victoria will present Van Gogh and the Seasons from 28 April – 9 July. Curated by Sjraar van Heugten (former Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), the exhibition will be exclusive to Melbourne and feature works belonging to several museums including the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. It will feature approximately 40 paintings and 25 drawings, presented within sections devoted to each of the four seasons.

Phillip Island and South Gippsland Food and Wine Festival

This new festival will be held 28 - 30 April at venues across San Remo and Phillip Island with mini events spread throughout the weekend. The festival will showcase the best of the region's land and sea-based produce.


The musical theatre version of Disney's Aladdin will open at Her Majesty's Theatre in April. The show will be one of the largest productions mounted in Australia, with a cast of 37, a total of 337 costumes made with 500,000 Swarovski crystals, and 30 tonnes of 'flying' scenery.

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady, Lerner and Loewe's classic musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, will open in Melbourne in May. It will be directed by musical theatre icon Dame Julie Andrews, who was originally cast in the Broadway production. From 11 May at Regent Theatre.

Creative Record Festival

Bring out your vinyl, bring out your vinyl! In the beautiful gold rush town of Inglewood a new festival will launch in May. Some of the finest music players in the business have come up with some creative ways of spinning tunes.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

In September, the Australian Ballet will complete its 2017 season with the Australian premiere of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This new production, by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, will bring Lewis Carroll's classic story to the stage, blending the spectacle of Broadway with his rigorous ballet style.

Rugby League World Cup 2017

For the first time, Melbourne will host the opening match of the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC), with the home team – the Kangaroos – beginning its campaign against England on 27 October. Melbourne will also host a RLWC quarter-final which is likely to feature the highly fancied England outfit, as they look to progress to the semi-finals.

Archibald Prize 2017

The country's most recognised portraiture award will call Geelong Gallery home from 28 October – 10 December. In what is now an annual tradition, the Archibald Prize will showcase some of Australia's most prominent artists and their depiction on canvas of the who's who of Australian culture.

Romancing The Skull

The Art Gallery of Ballarat will turn its attention to all things skeletal, when it launches Romancing The Skull in October. The exhibition will examine the human skull and skeleton in contemporary culture, exploring themes surrounding the depiction of the skull as a reminder of our mortality, and its use in political satire, contemporary art and pop culture.

For further events, attractions and experiences in Melbourne and Victoria, see

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