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Taking White Night to another level

10 Nov 2016

Taking White Night to another level Image

By Sean Car

With a CV boasting events such as the Sydney Olympic Games, Melburnians can expect White Night 2017 to be bigger than ever under the guidance of its new artistic director, David Atkins.

The founder of global commercial theatre and public events company David Atkins Enterprises will address the Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) luncheon at the Arts Centre next month on his vision for White Night.

David’s company won the tender through Visit Victoria off the back of an impressive major events track record, which has included Olympic and Commonwealth Games, World Expos and the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

He told Southbank Local News that, while he was keen to build on the successes of previous White Nights, his company was hoping to deliver the best one yet on February 18.

“We’re hoping to deliver something that will be as impactful as the best of the White Nights have been in the past and then take it to another stage on top of that,” he said.

“We’ve ended up with over 400 submissions for Melbourne and 200 for Ballarat so a big part of this process has been going through that, analysing all of those contributions and working out how we can collectively bring all that together.”

“Obviously we can’t afford, nor could we accommodate, that many pieces but it gives us a great selection to choose from.”

Having specialised in commercial theatre, production, choreography and major events for 25 years, Mr Atkins said his company had the right background and experience to deliver the next level of White Night.

The all-night cultural event has quickly grown into one of the city’s most loved annual showpieces since the inaugural White Night Melbourne in 2013.

However, there will be a certain level of expectation on David’s company to revitalise the event after White Night 2016 received widespread criticism for delivering what many considered to be an underwhelming spectacle.  

While he said it wasn’t his place to comment on previous White Nights, he said last year’s team wasn’t given enough time to deliver an event to the standard Melburnians were used to.

“I’d have to say that in defence of the team it was very short notice last year,” he said. “They had very little time to prepare so I’m surprised that they did as well as they did given the lead times they were given.”

“Not withstanding that, our approach has been to review and look at what has been done successfully over the previous four years and there are some significant moments and achievements.”

Mr Atkins said his company hoped to deliver a White Night with a diverse array of offerings that responded to the event’s various audiences.

And with the Yarra River, Arts Precinct and Southbank Promenade making up some of the event’s most attractive assets, he said local businesses could expect to benefit from some major activities and installations.

“I think that the Yarra is obviously a central focus for people in terms of their experience both of the installations and things that take place south of the Yarra and immediately north of the Yarra,” he said.  

“Southbank and Southgate have significant roles to play in terms of footfall and we’re looking at installations along Southbank there and activating the site.”

David Atkins will speak at the YRBA’s next networking luncheon at the Arts Centre on November 25. To book your seat visit

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