At a global level, the city is Australasia’s official host to many of the world’s great exhibitions, and many exclusive to Melbourne collaborations such as the recent The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture and Van Gogh and the Seasons.
In the laneways and streets of the city, Melbourne is also known as one of the world’s leading street art cities with stunning works creating free open-air galleries alongside an enviable range of bars, cafes and restaurants.
Melbourne offers one of the highest densities of commercial art galleries in the world, with the National Gallery of Victoria Ian Potter Centre housing the nation's largest permanent collections of Australian art. Melbourne also boasts the largest museums organisation in the southern hemisphere with Melbourne Museum, The Immigration Museum and Scienceworks.
Melbourne hosts more than 3000 live music performances every week, showcasing huge international artists, to local musos and up-and-comers playing intimate mid-week gigs.
No matter what time of year, Melbourne has a cultural event to suit every taste.
Melbourne's Cultural Calendar
White Night Melbourne
During White Night Melbourne, Melbourne is alight, alive and shining more brightly under the cover of dark. The buildings, the streets, the parks, and the laneways all come alive with art and installation, every one a stage, a canvas, a reimagining. From big moments of magic to small moments of mystery, visitors can experience the event in their own way.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Rip-roaring laughter can be heard every March when the streets of Melbourne come alive with a stunning line-up of international and Australian comedy and cabaret. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has become one of the three biggest comedy festivals in the world (alongside Edinburgh and Montreal) and visitors are invited to join the fun.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
The Melbourne International Jazz Festival celebrates the constantly-evolving style of jazz music at concert halls, art venues, jazz clubs and through the streets of Melbourne. From golden-age icons to genre-bending innovators, the festival’s program appeals to young and old, enthusiasts and the uninitiated with headliners, intimate club gigs, late-night jams, close encounters, workshops, family events, and free concerts.
Melbourne International Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) showcases the best contemporary cinema from Australia and the world as well as retrospectives, tributes and discussion programs. One of the oldest film festivals in the world, MIFF has become an iconic Melbourne winter event.
Melbourne Writers Festival
Melbourne Writers’ Festival is an annual, two-week celebration for writers, readers and thinkers, from Nobel prize winners to influential bloggers. The festival celebrates the talent and ideas of hundreds of writers from Australia and around the world, through a vibrant program of storytelling, conversation and discussion.
Melbourne Fringe Festival
The Melbourne Fringe Festival is Victoria's largest celebration of independent art, featuring local, national and international artists activating a variety of Melbourne spaces with works across every conceivable art form. Thousands of artists participate in the Festival to present some of the most exciting new work from Australia and beyond.
Melbourne Festival is one of the world’s leading arts festivals and Australia’s premier celebration of art and culture from around the world. The annual event brings an unparalleled feast of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, multimedia and outdoor events from renowned and upcoming Australian and International companies and artists to Melbourne.
Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic Of Aardman (until January 2018)
Animation enthusiasts will adore this exciting new Australian Centre for the Moving Image exhibition celebrating 40 years of one of the world’s most successful animation studios. Wallace & Gromit and Friends: the magic of Aardman will showcase the journey of Aardman’s characters – from concept drawings and storyboards, to the handmade puppets and sets.
Pop-Up Globe (until January 2018)
Epic battles. Laugh-out-loud comedy. Dazzling special effects. Elaborate costumes, Spectacular dances. Sword fights in full suits of armour. Do not miss the immersive experience of Shakespeare performed in the space for which it was written. See Pop-up Globe’s four critically acclaimed productions As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello and Henry V at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (opens January 2018)
Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) will welcome the Australian premiere of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Direct from the United Kingdom, this acclaimed National Theatre production is the winner of five Tony Awards and seven Olivier Awards, including Best Play for both. Featuring remarkable, immersive staging and the full British cast, this Australian premiere is presented by MTC and Arts Centre Melbourne.
Masterworks from MoMA (opens June 2018)
The NGV will be the sole international venue for Masterworks from MoMA, which will include renowned art and design from a roll call of iconic figures including Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Edward Hopper, Jeff Koons, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Lyubov Popova, Mark Rothko and Vincent van Gogh. This exhibition will feature around 150 works including some never-before-seen in Australia, and is the largest instalment of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, for the first time traversing the entire ground floor of NGV International.
MANDELA: My Life - The Exhibition (opens September 2018)
Melbourne will welcome the world premiere of MANDELA: My Life – The Exhibition, giving audiences access to Nelson Mandela’s history as it is brought to life through careful curation and digital technologies. It will be hosted at the Melbourne Museum as an exclusive for the Asia and Pacific Region, coinciding with the 100th anniversary celebration of Mandela’s birth.
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