With Victoria for a good part of last year serving as a major epicentre for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arts Centre Melbourne cultural precinct spent a good amount of time entirely shut down. While Victoria is still not case free, Arts Centre Melbourne last month found itself able to open up for the school holidays – opening the cafe ‘Protagonist’ and being able to hold scattered events across the precinct. Arts Centre Melbourne has this afternoon outlined the next stage of their reopening plans with things going well.
Featuring in the next stage of opening will be a range of events including Vault Sessions: Live & Lo-Fi (performance sessions on the forecourt by Melbourne-based musicians) and a First Nations Playlist curated by Allara Patterson Briggs which will be featured across all open venue spaces. In what I would personally argue is of most significant note is the unveiling of Me & Uoo-Uoo, two public art sculptures marking the 150th anniversary of the fantastic Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. This is in addition to more venues opening, more daily happenings and more.
First to reopen will be The Australian Music Vault, open to the public on 15 January 2021. This will be run with ticketed, timed sessions to manage capacity within COVID Safe guidelines. Vault Sessions: Live & Lo-Fi will begin from the same date with free live music performances on the forecourt on Friday and Saturday afternoons from 5.30pm.
Me & Uoo-Uoo, the collaborative installations with Royal Children’s Hospital, will engage children, adults and families alike with an unveiling on 20 January.
Bombini Buzz is set for a return at the end of January and will be used as a base for local businesses to operate from. The Barre backyard will be open from mid-February, returning drink service and eventually ticketed lunch options. Arts Centre Melbourne claim there will be a major focus on highlighting local food and beverage providers as time goes on.
It is clear that everything is being phased in rather than taking an all-in approach, which is smart given the ever-changing happenings around the pandemic. This means that the ability of the Arts Centre Melbourne Theatre Building to welcome guests has yet to be confirmed. According to Arts Centre Melbourne:
A series by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in March is earmarked as the first ticketed event of 2021, with plans to perform to a Covid-SAFE Hamer Hall. The capacity of this event is still yet to be determined and will be based on government recommendations.