Sounds of summer in the city

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Published: 7th May, 2014

Art is to take the streets in an exciting new initiative, says major participant, the Melbourne Recital Centre. The Victorian Government is investing in a new summer arts program for early 2015 focused on the Melbourne Arts Precinct. Dubbed Summer in Southbank, the program will activate public spaces in the Melbourne Arts Precinct in a unique collaboration between individual artists, independent arts organisations and the organisations which call the area home.

The program, with free and low-cost events and participatory activities, is designed to support and build on existing activities and complement Melbourne’s other summer drawcards such as White Night Melbourne. The initiative is being championed by Melbourne Recital Centre which will work with the performing arts venues, galleries, presenters and other major organisations in the Arts Precinct, including: ABC, ACCA, Arts Centre Melbourne, The Australian Ballet, Chunky Move, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company, National Gallery of Victoria, Opera Australia and the University of Melbourne’s Conservatorium of Music and Victorian College of the Arts.

Mary Vallentine AO, CEO of Melbourne Recital Centre said, “The Centre is incredibly excited about leading the Summer in Southbank initiative and for the opportunity to collaborate with our neighbours and the broader sector to engage with Melbournians and visitors of all walks of life. Activating the Melbourne Arts Precinct will contribute to making the arts more accessible to more people, and towards creating year-round vibrancy in the area.”

Minister for the Arts the Hon Heidi Victoria MP said the $1.1 million investment responds to the recommendations of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint, released in February 2014. “The Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint is a vision for the future of the area. It recommended that revitalising the precinct was about bringing artists and institutions together to create projects and programs that enliven the streets and take the arts to new and diverse audiences. Summer in Southbank will deliver on this and much more”

The festival will enhance Melbourne’s reputation as a sophisticated, vibrant, global city for visitors during summer and provide highly-visible cultural activities that connect the other major events taking place in the CBD, sporting and arts precincts in summer. Summer in Southbank will be directed by Kirsten Siddle, Melbourne Recital Centre’s Director of Programming and Presenter Services. Ms Siddle said, “Melbourne’s arts companies, local independent artists and the community will play together this summer in a diverse, surprising and fun program of events that turn the Precinct’s venues ‘inside out’, bringing art outdoors.”

Virginia Lovett, Executive Director of Melbourne Theatre Company, said “The scale of the event is a first, and frankly can only be contemplated through the co-operative effort of the cultural institutions resident in the Precinct as well as the creative organisations we work with.”

The Summer in Southbank 2015 program of events will be launched in October 2014, after an extensive collaborative planning process.

Based on a Media Release issued by the Melbourne Recital Centre,  May 6, 2014.