As winter arrives, there’s no shortage of events to keep Melbournians busy in June. After a false start last year, the city’s biggest arts festival, Rising, is finally taking off. Alongside Rising there’s the Emerging Writers’ Festival, plenty of gigs, art and literary events, and even a three-storey art carpark with a rooftop bar.
Sydney Myer Music Bowl | June 1 – June 19 | Tickets from $12
Part of the Rising festival, The Wilds features fluoro, constantly evolving sculptures, soundscapes and digital movement-responsive art. Try the ice-skating rink, where you’ll be spurred on by a choir belting out hits from the ’80s and ’90s. Once skating’s tired you out, choose between dining at the glasshouse bistro or a range of pop-up kitchens from Melbourne’s iconic food venues, including Piccolina Gelato and vegan haven Smith & Daughters.
Heffernan Lane Night Market
Heffernan Lane | June 3 – June 12 | Entry is free
Inspired by the great street food cities across Asia, the Heffernan Lane Night Market will include street stalls with a range of dishes from many of Chinatown’s popular restaurants.
The Melbourne Magic Festival
multiple venues | June 27 – July 9 | Ticket prices vary
Rabbits appearing out of top hats is only the beginning at the Melbourne Magic Festival, which features more than 130 performances over 30 shows. Whether you’re a budding magician or sleight-of-hand aficionado, enjoy magic shows, masterclasses, and even a magic bar.
multiple venues | June 1 – June 12 | Some events are free, others ticketed
Bringing together many of this month’s events is Victoria’s new Rising festival. Rising is three years in the making to bring together a range of art, performance and events across Melbourne.
Arts Center | June 3 – June 11 | Tickets from $71
Featuring 40 dancers, Kunstkamer is the Australian Ballet’s largest contemporary dance show to date. Inspired by the 18th century cabinet of curiosities, this Nederlands Dance Theater commission features music from Janis Joplin to Beethoven. Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot, Sol Leon, Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite.
Arts Center | June 17 – June 25 | Tickets from $50
Marius Petipa’s Harlequinade is brought to life by former director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky. A lively love story scored by Riccardo Drigo, Harlequinade is a loving and humorous revival of the commedia dell’arte-based classic.
Melbourne Recital Center | June 1 | Tickets from $59
As one of opera’s most sought after singers, Ferruccio Furlanetto is renowned for his vast range and vocal power. Accompanied by pianist Natalia Sidorenko, Furlanetto’s two-hour recital features the work of Brahms, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov, as well as bass arias from The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov and Don Carlos.
Meat Market | June 1 – June 4 | Tickets from $49
A one-woman performance exploring power, submission and observation through Mette Ingvartsen’s choreography on a LED-lit set. The 70-minute performance inspects all facets of pornography, from its violence to its titillation to its humor.
Her Majesty’s Theater | March 16 – September 18 | Tickets from $70
The ubiquitous Tony-, Grammy- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical tells the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton. The sung-and-rapped musical pulls its sound from a blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway.
Come Rain or Come Shine
Southbank Theater | June 20 – July 23 | Tickets from $53
Adapted from Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro’s wildly comic short story, Come Rain or Come Shine is a musical about music, memory and lifelong friendship. Directed by Simon Phillips, Gillian Cosgriff (Vivid White), Angus Grant (cock) and Chris Ryan (Shakespeare in Love).
Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical
Athenaeum Theater | May 25 – June 19 | Tickets from $89
Based on the movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar, the iconic thriller from the ’90s is now a musical featuring hits from the Verve, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, *NSYNC, and more.
Regent Theater | May 20 – July 17 | Tickets from $99
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic fairytale comes to life at the Regent Theater in this Tony Award-winning musical from the creators of The Sound of Music. Starring Shubshri Kandiah Cinderella is a contemporary take on a classic tale.
The Picasso Century
NGV | June 10 – October 9 | Tickets from $8
Tracking the career of Pablo Picasso, The Picasso Century features over 80 works from the artist himself, as well as over 100 works of the artists, poets and intellectuals he interacted with during the 20th century. Created exclusively for the NGV by the Center Pompidou and Musee National Picasso-Paris, this exhibition is a must for history and art lovers alike.
Light: Works from Tate’s Collection
ACMI | June 16- November 13 | Tickets from $10
Head over to ACMI to experience this exhibition curated from London’s Tate collection. See how the element of light has been captured by artists over 200 years through painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, installation and the moving image.
Arts Center Melbourne, Forecourt | June 1 – July 10 | Tickets free-$15
Weave through a 700-square-meter installation of glass, steel mirrors and moving prisms at the Arts Center Forecourt. The premiere solo project of artist Keith Courtney, Kaleidoscope distorts motion and gravity, and fuses sound, light and color in an immersive mirror maze.
Sampa the Great
The Forum | June 1 | Tickets from $80
Aria Award-winning Sampa the Great will headline two live performances at The Forum, performing with a 15-person band of musicians and dancers, and special guests Kye, Mwanje and C.Frim.
The Forum | June 8 | Tickets from $80
Lucy Dacus heads to The Forum off the success of her critically acclaimed 2021 album Home Video, which includes tracks such as Hot & Heavy, Thumbs and Triple Dog Dare.
The Kid Laroi
John Cain Arena | June 10 | Tickets from $90
The beloved Liverpool rock band of the noughties, The Wombats are back on Aussie shores to perform their hits off their latest studio album, Fix Yourself, Not the World.
Emerging Writers’ Festival
multiple venues | June 15 – June 25 | Some events free, others ticketed
The Emerging Writers’ Festival returns to Melbourne with an array of events over 11 days. With many free in-person and digital events, from panels to masterclasses to lunchtime readings, there’s something for every writer.
Williamstown Town Hall | June 17 – June 19 | Tickets free-$35
Since 2013 the Willy Lit Festival in Williamstown has brought ideas, writers and readers together for a chock-full program of panels, interviews, author talks and workshops. The festival’s guests include Kyoko Imazu, Peter Doherty, Brian Nankervis, Andy Griffiths, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Smokie Dawson and Leigh Hobbs.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Arts Center Melbourne | June 5 – July 17 | Tickets from $80
Oscar Wilde’s Gothic classic takes center-stage at the Arts Center in the theatrical adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Directed by Kip Williams, audiences will experience Wilde’s novel as a one-person show, with actor Eryn Jean Norvill transforming into all 26 of the show’s characters.
The Sound Inside
Arts Center Melbourne | May 20 – July 2 | Tickets from $46
Nominated for six 2020 Tony Awards, The Sound Inside makes its Australian premiere at the MTC. Described by New York Stage Review as a play that “consistently challenges us to wonder and think”, it follows the unlikely relationship between two intellectuals faced with an impossible choice.
Chapel-on-Chapel | May 24 – June 5 | Tickets from $28
The queer thriller Dirt makes its Victorian debut. Starring Wil King and Patrick Livesey Dirt takes audiences through a night in Moscow, exploring sexuality, solidarity and persecution.
Royal Botanic Gardens | June 24 – August 7 | Tickets from $36
Created in partnership with Sony Music, Lightscape takes visitors after dark through a 1.8-kilometer journey of light and sound. The gardens will be transformed with large-scale light installations, glowing tunnels, luminous walkways and light-filled tree canopies.
Winter Night Market
Queen Victoria Market | Wednesdays from June 1 – August 31 | free
The return of the Winter Night Market will feature over 35 street food traders, a bustle of artisanal stalls and entertainers, and even a silent disco. Rug up and head to the Queen Victoria Market every Wednesday this winter.
chinatown | June 1 – June 12 | Tickets from $24
An art car park sounds so very Melbourne, doesn’t it? In the middle of Chinatown you’ll find exactly that: a car park with three levels of art, performance, parades and rooftop bars. Grab a drink and wander through the exhibition themed around ritual, mythology and digital spirituality.
Good Food and Wine Show
Convention & Exhibition Center | June 3 – June 5 | Tickets from $33
Warm up with hundreds of food and drink exhibitors at the Good Food and Wine Show. Enjoy whiskey tasting sessions, wine and cheese pairing masterclasses and live on-stage cooking sets from celebrity chefs.
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