Making the most of the Melbourne Arts Precinct this summer

Stretching from Fed Square across Princes Bridge and Southbank, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is home to many of Melbourne’s iconic arts and cultural institutions, including Arts Centre Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Buxton Contemporary Art Museum and more.
 
The Precinct has one of the highest concentrations of arts, cultural and creative organisations anywhere in the world – and presents up to 3000 performances and exhibitions in a typical year.
 
This summer Southbank residents will have access to hundreds of these performances and exhibitions – right at your doorstep!
 
Throughout December, Fed Square will light up for Christmas Square featuring the spectacular 17.5m LED Christmas tree, a nightly light show, choir performances, film screenings, and a free and sustainable Christmas gift-wrapping service.
 

The festive spirit continues at Arts Centre Melbourne with Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, followed by a curated calendar of performances and shows including a summer circus extravaganza. From 4 – 14 of January, Circus 1903 brings unmissable grandeur, death-defying acts and mindboggling human endeavor from around the globe to the State Theatre stage.
 

Melbourne Recital Centre celebrates the season with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra presenting Noël! Noël! filled with festive classics and Sing of Christmas performed by the Australian Boys Choral Institute. Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2024 season kicks off in January with a funny and heartwarming play about adolescence featuring six legends of stage and screen playing teenagers on their last day of school.
 
Summer in the precinct also promises a stellar season of art experiences, including the return of the NGV Triennial. In the first week of December, join artists, designers, curators, and commentators in a full program of talks, conversations, tours and more to celebrate the exhibition’s opening week. For those wanting to experience more, Triennial EXTRA from 19 – 28 January offers an after-hours experience featuring free music, DJs, talks, performance, art, and more.
 
At ACMI, the spectacular Marshmallow Laser Feast: Works of Nature showcases four major digital artworks on a grand scale plus evocative works on paper from London-based collective Marshmallow Laser Feast. When visiting Fed Square this summer, be sure to check out the newly upgraded Koorie Heritage Trust which reopens from 9 December coinciding with the annual Koorie Art Show.
 

In the heart of the arts precinct, the Buxton Contemporary Art Museum presents a free exhibition Around, the first major survey of over 80 works by Melbourne-based artist Nadine Christensen. Meanwhile at ACCA, From the other side is an evocative exhibition drawing on the genre of horror and its capacity to speak to the collective anxieties and fears of our times. For your last chance to see Hour of the Wolf at the Malthouse Theatre, you can book in until 17 December to experience the immersive theatre mystery.
 
Throughout the summer, The Australian Ballet tours a dynamic new vision of the timeless classic Swan Lake before hosting a final performance of Alice in Wonderland in Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre in March 2024, before the theatre closes its doors for renovations.
 

For those wanting to try a hand at performing in the precinct, visit Chunky Move Studios – Melbourne’s premiere purpose-built dance studios – to participate in their morning or evening classes, or make a venue booking. To make the most of your visit, don’t miss The Royal Botanical Gardens of Victoria and The Shrine of Remembrance during Melbourne’s long summer days.
 
While visiting precinct venues, you will notice changes in the area as the works progress for the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation. As works progress in the precinct, updated traffic and pedestrian access is in place. There is hoarding and wayfinding signage to show the updated pedestrian pathways, and traffic management will be onsite during construction hours. To read the latest construction updates and project news, click here.
 
Construction works for the project will close over Christmas and resume in January 2024.

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