Arts Centre Melbourne: The hub for culturally immersive experiences

Arts Centre Melbourne: The hub for culturally immersive experiences
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Melbourne’s biggest cultural festivals, RISING and YIRRAMBOI, are returning to the heart of Naarm (Melbourne) for another year, both with powerful performances scheduled for Arts Centre Melbourne.

Renowned First Nations festival YIRRAMBOI is already under way, after starting on May 4, with the final weekend of the 10-day festival now approaching. Music, food, art and culture festival RISING begins from June 7.

As part of YIRRAMBOI, Arts Centre Melbourne is excited to invite audiences to immerse themselves within First Nations stories, with a future-driven mindset.

“In the local languages of the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung peoples, ‘yirramboi’ means ‘tomorrow’,” Arts Centre Melbourne First Nations executive director Troy Walsh said.

“As a First Nations-led festival, Arts Centre Melbourne looks forward to tomorrow; and is immensely proud to collaborate with YIRRAMBOI as a culturally immersive experience for participants and audiences alike.”

From May 11 to 12, accomplished Gunditjmara and Kokatha singer songwriter David Arden will be performing MEETRA - Rise Up! The Ballad of James Arden at The Pavilion, where he will bring together a team of artists to perform a piece of powerful truth telling.

First Nations artist Maylene Yinarr will then present Kutjika: Songs Under the Evening Star on May 13 in The Pavilion, a powerful live music tribute to her late twin sister, which speaks into the depth of healing and grief.

This performance, as many others throughout the festival, reflects on and honours the experiences of First Nations people.

“YIRRAMBOI plays host to a feast of mediums honouring the endurance of First Nations people and voyaging boldly into what is a Blak-led future,” YIRRAMBOI Festival co-lead and creative lead Sherene Stewart said.


YIRRAMBOI is curated in celebration of Blak love, joy and excellence with a stellar line-up of First Nations creatives.


Come June, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will be presenting, as part of RISING, a hypnotic live performance detailing the inspiration behind celebrated First Nations singer Dr Gurrumul Yunupiŋu’s innovative album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow).

The album, which was posthumously released, was designed to act as a mediator between two traditions in Australia – European orchestral music and millennia-old Aboriginal song.

Designed around the album, the show Buŋgul, translated to “ceremony”, will bring song, dance, and ritual together, in a way that celebrates the record’s legacy and the singer.

The live performance, which will take place from June 14 to 15 in the Hamer Hall, will feature Yolngu dancers and songmen presenting songs, dances, and paintings that inspired the album, accompanied by the MSO.

The work was directed by Nigel Jamieson, and senior Yolngu man Don Wininba Ganambarr who said it was a performance with much to show and teach audiences.

“To the Yolngu, our songs, paintings, and dances are our books – they tell us where we have come from and where we are going to. They are our maps, our law books, our title deeds, and our family history,” he said. •

For more information:


Captions: RISING: (L) Nebbie Burrawanga and (R) James Gurrawiwi. Photo Buŋgul by Anna Reece.

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