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Performances, Events and Exhibitions

Live music, circus performances in the Festival Big Top, a series of free concerts at the Bowl, aerial artists and acrobats, contemporary and traditional dance, visual arts exhibitions and installations, outdoor theatre, roving performers, a youth program, Indigenous performances and exhibitions, food & wine events, public dance classes and forums, literature events - Festival Melbourne2006 really has something for everyone. Best of all, everything is free during the Games!

The Festival Guide can also be downloaded in PDF and audio form from OCGC at

Urban Dream Capsule

Special Events and Installations

From a flagscape installation to a 14 day residency by four performance artists in the Myer Bourke Street windows; from the Luminarium, an 800 square metre inflatable walk-through sculpture in St Kilda, to the appearance of a classic Aussie beach in the middle of the Arts Centre, these special Festival events and installations shouldn’t be missed.
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Concerts at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Nine free evening concerts featuring international and local superstars of world music, percussion and dance including reggae king Jimmy Cliff; legendary South African diva Miriam Makeba; Cypriot superstar Alkinoos Ioannidis; acclaimed Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; the remarkable Random Dance from England; and Bollywood at the Bowl, an all-singing, all-dancing, all-sari spectacular.
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Live Music

With over sixty different groups and artists of every description from every corner of the Commonwealth, Festival Melbourne2006 takes you on a magical tour of the best music from around the globe. You’ll find free concerts, recitals, acoustic sets, demonstrations and workshops at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Alexandra Gardens, Federation Square, the Arts Centre and Waterfront City, Docklands.
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A fabulous display of contemporary and traditional dance from around the Commonwealth, from the remarkable athleticism of England’s Random Dance to the rollicking exuberance of Bollywood at the Bowl; from the superb traditional skills of New Zealand’s Te Matarae I Oerehu and Australia’s own Mornington Island Dancers to the cutting edge martial-arts-meets-contemporary-dance of India’s Daksha Sheth Dance Company.
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If it can be beaten, banged or rattled, it will be at Festival Melbourne2006! A remarkable line up of percussionists, both traditional and contemporary, playing every percussive instrument imaginable, will be performing as part of special percussion showcase. And if rhythm is your thing, don’t miss All-Star World Percussion Spectacular at the Bowl, when the percussion stars of the Festival take the stage together.
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Massed voices will soar over Federation Square and the Alexandra Gardens with these extraordinary choral events, including the 1000-voice Sing For Water choir, Tanzania’s remarkable Golden Pride Children’s Choir, and a combined 160-strong Australian youth choir performing Karl Jenkin’s glorious Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary.
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Circus in the Big Top

From the extreme circus/ hip-hop combo of Big Top Hop to the breathtaking skill of Canada’s Les 7 Doigts de le Main; from the deeply decadent neo-vaudevillian world of The Candy Butchers to the high energy collaboration of three youth circuses in 3wAyXchange; Festival Melbourne2006 proudly presents an extraordinary and eclectic showcase of the best circus talent in the Commonwealth.
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Aerial Artists, Acrobats and Circus Acts

From the startling to the staggering, from the radical to the ridiculous, from the death-defying to the giggle-inducing, a veritable army of aerialists, acrobats and assorted circus performers parade their miscellaneous talents at Festival Melbourne2006.
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Outdoor and Physical Theatre

Experience a wonderful world of outdoor and physical theatre interpreted by a hugely eclectic line-up of performing artists. Whether it’s masterful storytelling from South Africa’s Ellis and Bheki or the amazing use of vertical space by Australia’s own Legs on the Wall, the overhead spectacle of the Heliosphere or the cutting-edge political satire of Third World Bunfight, this program is sometime whimsical, often thought-provoking and always fascinating.
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Roving Performers

A surprise waits at every corner when the Festival’s menagerie of roving performers - including synchronised sharks, giant seagulls, life-size dinosaurs, jugglers and comedic musicians, and other assorted extraordinary characters - is turned loose throughout the Festival. You never know what you might stumble upon!
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The Beach at the Arts Centre

Grab your thongs and Speedos and head for the newest sunspot in town – a classic Aussie beach oasis smack in the middle of the Arts Centre! The Beach at the Arts Centre will be hitting the city especially for the Commonwealth Games, with beach parties, live music, street theatre, beach games, roving performers, movies and lots and lots of sand.

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Especially Great for the Kids

Festival Melbourne2006 is family-friendly with events to suit all ages. Kids will particularly love the fabulous circus performances in the Festival Big Top, the acrobatic performances, the street theatre and roving performers and the interactive ArtPlay workshops. If you’ve got little ones, keep an eye out for these events:
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Indigenous Events

A celebration of Victoria’s unique cultural heritage and history from an Indigenous perspective with Welcome Place at Federation Square, and the Tribal Expressions showcase of the best of Victoria’s Indigenous businesses, artists and performers at venues around the city.
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Joining in the Festival

This is your chance to join in the festivities! Learn a dance from a different Commonwealth country each weeknight, with Dancing in the Square. Hear what the artists of Festival Melbourne2006 have to say at a series of Lunchtime Forums. Or bring the kids in to the ArtPlay activity centre in the Alexandra Gardens.
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Youth Program

A series of exhibitions, performances and events curated by the Next Wave Festival featuring young artists, aimed at young audiences and responding to the Festival theme of Empire Games.
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Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2006

With the State Library of Victoria hosting the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, regional winning writers from across the Commonwealth are coming to Melbourne to take part in a week-long program of events from 9 to 14 March. To celebrate writers and writing from across the Commonwealth, the Library presents the following program:
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Food and Wine

Three delectable events that showcase the best of Victoria’s food and wine, created especially for Festival Melbourne2006 by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
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Festival Calendar
Ellis and Bheki
15-26 March 2006

  • Festival events pre-Games.
  • Festival events post-Games.

    Over 2,500 performing artists will stage Australia's largest ever free cultural festival during the Games.
    Learn more about the festival.
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