Between the blazing fire shows taking over the Royal Botanic Gardens, the swag of immersive theatre experiences inviting audiences into parallel worlds, and the huge international acts returning to Aussie shores for the first time in decades, this year's Melbourne International Arts Festival will be tough to ignore. The festival's 2018 program is set to deliver a diverse, vibrant celebration of dance, music, theatre, visual arts and architecture from October 3–21, with the entire city as its stage.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, acting as the festival's mini hub, will be transformed in a haze of flames across four nights, for the Fire Gardens fire-burning spectacular. Elsewhere on the site, acclaimed contemporary circus company NoFitState explores the 250-year history of the circus ring, with an exclusive performance of Lexicon.
Post-punk legends The The make their first Melbourne appearance in almost 30 years, to play hits from across their internationally renowned back catalogue, and Berlin composer and pianist Nils Frahm makes his return to Hamer Hall, four years after the sell-out success of his Melbourne Festival debut. Japanese sound artist ASUNA will present its unique aural installation 100 Keyboards, which will see 100 battery operated keyboards brought to life.
And the creators of last year's iconic House of Mirrors installation and Dark Mofo's upside down crosses, Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney are at it again, taking over the Arts Centre forecourt with their new work 1000 Doors, an interactive piece inviting audiences to choose their own adventure.
Meanwhile, the program's broad-ranging dance lineup includes top choreographer William Forsythe's boundary-pushing A Quiet Evening Of Dance, and visually stunning, Romeo & Juliet-style dance-opera, Layla and Majnun.
Image: Fire Gardens, shot by Vincent Muteau.