White Night Reimagined 2019
This year, Melbourne's after-dark arts extravaganza is part of a three-day city-wide festival happening in winter.
If there's been a big, White Night-shaped hole in your social calendar since the famed Melbourne after-hours fiesta wrapped up its last edition in February 2018, you'll be happy to know it's making a return this August. Just be prepared for a very different experience, as the immersive festival makes some serious changes to its programming and farewells part of the late-night fun.
As well as making the move from summer to the deep of winter, White Night Reimagined has swapped its previous one-night format for an expanded three-night affair. Interestingly, it's also scrapped the all-nighter aspect in the process. Instead of the usual 7pm–7am program, which has been in place since the festival's inaugural 2013 edition, White Night is this year running from 7pm until midnight on Thursday, August 22, and again on Friday, August 23, followed by a 7pm until 2am session on Saturday, August 24.
The new curfew means punters will no longer get to experience what some might argue is one of White Night's biggest pulls — the adventure of roaming around town soaking up art and installations, right through until the wee hours. Although, frosty August probably isn't the best time of year for pre-sunrise wanderings, anyway.
The new-format event has also expanded in scope, held across three key precincts with each boasting its own distinct theme. Treasury Gardens will take the form of the 'Sensory Realm', showcasing dazzling projections, lighting and audio installations, and interactive artworks inspired by the five senses. Here, you'll find British artist Michael Pinsky's immersive Pollution Pods, which represented the different environments of global cities; a musical and calming SongCloud; a colourful light and audiovisual installation called Cluster; as well as a giant floating Cocoon made from 1000 lights tied together by ropes.
Carlton Gardens will be transformed into the mystical 'Spiritual Realm', featuring a huge ten-metre lion puppet by Melbourne artist Joe Blanck, along with illuminations sharing the stories of Indigenous Australia. And the 'Physical Realm' descends on Birrarung Marr, showcasing the Aussie debut of internationally acclaimed street theatre performance Globe, from a troupe of 41 acrobats, aerialists, singers and actors.
Other famed Melbourne spots coming to the party include the Melbourne Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria and the State Library Victoria, all hosting their own programs of art, food and music. The rest of White Night Reimagined's extended program, including the music component, is set to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Starting from 2020, White Night will also form part of a new and bigger winter festival, in conjunction with the Melbourne International Arts Festival (MIAF).