Arts Centre Melbourne's commitment to artistic development has grown and evolved into a year-round program that supports ambitious ideas and creative thinking across all artforms. Arts Centre Melbourne's Artistic Development Program is now a suite of new programs designed to invite artists into Arts Centre Melbourne and to nurture, support and develop Australia's professional arts sector.
"Arts Centre Melbourne is dedicated to developing new Australian works and furthering the talents of our country's remarkable artists," said Arts Centre Melbourne Chief Executive Judith Isherwood. "We are delighted that our Artistic Development Program, spearheaded by our new Artistic Development Program Manager Simon Abrahams, will see many new commissions, including a mini-festival of site-specific work around our buildings, and – perhaps most excitingly – recognising and fostering an artistic community with the roll-out of our Arts Industry Card."
New initiatives in Artistic Development in 2013 include the roll-out of the Arts Industry Card, which will give practicing local artists the VIP treatment with access to specially priced tickets and hospitality, as well as the opportunity to attend exclusive artist-only events including talks, masterclasses and industry forums, including Artist-to-Artist Critical Conversations, in which local artists can pick the brain of Arts Centre Melbourne's touring guest artists, and Foot in the Door, which allows independent artists the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Arts Centre Melbourne's programming staff in a fun-filled speed dating forum. Foot in the Door will have its inaugural staging this Wednesday 14 November.
Arts Centre Melbourne's Artistic Development Program will also see the fruition of a number of New Commissions, helping new Australian works get from the page to the stage. Among the projects being commissioned in 2013 are a mini-festival site-specific works around Arts Centre Melbourne entitled Right Time Right Place. Projects as part of this mini-festival include Validate Yourself Here (an interactive touchscreen project based at the car park validating machines) and Poetry by LED featuring a tweeting poet in residence.
Underground, presented as part of The Famous Spiegel Season, is a series of public script readings of works in development, including Ava (At the End of the World), a new music theatre work by Eric McCusker based on Ava Gardner's time in Melbourne filming On the Beach. All readings will be followed by a Q&A with the artists offering audiences a chance to further delve into the creative process.
Behind the scenes, Arts Centre Melbourne's investment in New Commissions will see the organisation offer support, rehearsal space and expertise to those creating new Australian work. Works being developed with the assistance of Arts Centre Melbourne include a collaboration between Paul Grabowsky and Megan Washington inspired by Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung, and a new musical theatre work developed by one of Australia's most iconic musical storytellers, Tim Freedman from The Whitlams.
Arts Centre Melbourne will also partner with Next Wave to support their Kickstart initiative, which will see Arts Centre Melbourne fund an emerging artist aged under 30 to be up-skilled in finance, fundraising and marketing to develop a new project, which may then be presented on-site as part of the 2014 Next Wave Festival.