COVID safety at the forefront for Arts Centre Melbourne

COVID safety at the forefront for Arts Centre Melbourne

By Jack Alfonso

Arts Centre Melbourne is welcoming back visitors to enjoy the many events on offer this summer with the provision of COVIDSafe environments being the top priority.

“Every step that we take will ensure that being COVIDSafe is at the centre of what we do, and we will be transparent on the things we are doing to make our spaces safe for all,” Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer said.

Having begun proceedings with the tentative openings of forecourt cafe Protagonist and the Sunday Markets, events such as Live at the Bowl, an initiative to promote Australian-grown talent, and a range of different artistic performances — ranging from theatre through to circus — are designed to rekindle Melbourne’s passion for cultural experiences.

With the state government announcing a $17.2 million package to reinvigorate Southbank’s Arts Precinct, the Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson said the “extensive program” would “showcase Victoria’s incredible creative talent.”

“It will be a celebration of all we’ve achieved together to get through this year and will bring people back to the experiences we love in new, exciting and COVIDSafe ways,” Minister Pearson said.

Among those new and exciting ways are the re-opening of the Australian Music Vault, with Vault Sessions: Live & Lo-Fi being made available for free of charge, and the brand-new public art exhibition Me and UooUoo — an initiative to support the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) 150th anniversary, which opened on January 20.

“Me and UooUoo offers the unique opportunity for the community to be involved in celebrating the incredible heritage of this world-leading institution,” Sue Hunt, CEO of the RCH Foundation, said.

“Most importantly, it provides a sense of unity and aspiration, so that we can persevere through these challenging times together.”

After the exhibition is finished, each of the 200 sculptures will be auctioned off to raise funds for the RCH Foundation.

Accompanying every Me & UooUoo exhibition is a “First Nations Playlist”. The playlist, titled SovReign Sounds, features 85 different tracks from 80 different First Nations artists nation-wide.

The return of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building is not forecast to return until late February, with Wata — an event celebrating indigenous culture through ceremonial song cycles called “manikay” — scheduled to take place at Hamer Hall on February 20, as the public tries to work with government recommendations to deliver a COVIDSafe event.

“We are dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming space alongside all cultural, hospitality and retail offerings across the Melbourne Arts Precinct,” CEO Claire Spencer said.

“It’s been a monumental effort to open up and activate the spaces that we treasure so we hope that the community will continue to embrace us and the offerings that we’ve been able to provide.” •

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