Arts Centre Melbourne kicks it up a notch this festive season

Arts Centre Melbourne kicks it up a notch this festive season

By Kaylah-Joelle Baker and Jemma van Zaanen

Christmas is just around the corner and to celebrate, Arts Centre Melbourne has a jam-packed schedule all throughout December for the community to enjoy.

Beginning its celebrations on December 9 and running until December 24, Arts Centre Melbourne is establishing itself as the Christmas hub of Southbank for people of all ages. 

Paul Kelly’s Making Gravy concert will return to Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Friday, December 9 to begin the month-long calendar of festivities.

Now an annual event, the night will consist of all the classics that have made up the Australian singer-songwriter’s rich four-decade-long career, including his 1996 track How to Make Gravy which has become a symbolic Christmas anthem for those separated at this time.

Festivities will then move to Hamer Hall from December 10 to 11, where the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will present Sir Andrew Davis’s new orchestration of Handel’s iconic Messiah.

The song has been a staple for many years and is made up of various passages in the Old and New Testament and contains the famous Hallelujah chorus.

Since singing Messiah as a boy himself, Sir Andrew has been labouring away to transform it in a way that amplifies a modern orchestra and his arrangement is being performed for only the second time in Australia. 

The following night, December 12, will see Hamer Hall host the annual Christmas Melodies concert featuring classic songs and new favourites. 

The festive sing-along will be hosted by Gorgi Coghlan and will present musical theatre stars Thomas McGuane from Frozen and Sarah Krndija from 9-5 The Musical.

A great night for family and friends, audiences can also expect to see performances from the Pasefika Vitoria Choir led by music director Rita Seumanutafa-Palala and The Salvation Army Band led by Ken Waterworth.

Christmas movie lovers can look forward to screenings of Home Alone (1990) with scores conducted by Nicholas Buc and performed by a live choir, on December 14 and 15.

Home Alone is a classic festive film starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister defending his home from two burglars after he was accidentally left behind by his family when leaving for a Christmas holiday.

Audiences will experience John Williams’s compositions from the film brought to life by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Another classic film, Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert, will take over Hamer Hall on Friday, December 16. 

The Muppet Christmas Carol sees The Muppets perform the classic Charles Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine).

Moving closer to Christmas, The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet will return with Tchaikovsky’s iconic The Nutcracker from December 20 to 22 at Hamer Hall. 

Choreography is by former Principal Artist of the Australian Ballet, Christine Walsh and 65 dancers will perform throughout the ballet, including international guest artists. 

In a unique on-stage setting, 60 musicians of The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet Orchestra will perform alongside the dancers, conducted by the renowned composer Peter Brandy. 


To finish the festive season, the crowd favourite Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight will return to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl from December 23 to 24.  


This year’s celebration will mark the 85th anniversary of the Christmas Eve event and will continue to support children who are blind or have low vision. 

Vision Australia CEO Roon Hooten welcomes family and friends in person to the event this year and he believes it will be the “brightest carols yet”. 

“It’s thanks to the funds raised through Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight event that we can provide much-needed services to thousands of children who are blind or have low vision,” Mr Hooten said.

New and familiar faces will take the stage to perform feel-good Christmas carols and songs, including Marina Prior, Denis Walter and David Hobson, as well as many more. •

For more information:

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