White Night taps into the physical, sensory and spiritual in new expanded program

White Night organisers have revealed the first taster of what’s to come at this year’s “Reimagined” edition in August, including a huge globe full of acrobats from Amsterdam, a giant roving lion and more.

On Thursday morning outgoing White Night artistic director David Atkins outlined three themed precincts – Physical, Sensory and Spiritual – where artworks will be housed in Melbourne’s parks, so that no city roads will be blocked off to traffic during the expanded three-day event.

Birrarung Marr will become the “Physical Realm”, Treasury Gardens the “Sensory Realm” and Carlton Gardens the “Spiritual Realm”.

A major work by Amsterdam street theatre troupe Close Act, called Globe, will be on the banks of the Yarra at Birrarung Marr. Inspired by childhood memories, there will be 42 acrobats, aerialists, singers and actors performing inside a giant, spherical frame and roaming through the crowd.

Treasury Gardens’ Sensory Realm will include immersive and interactive works “inspired by the five senses”.

And Joe Blanck, the artist who created the popular attraction White Knight Messenger, will bring a new character to the party: a 10 metre-long lion called The Guardian, who will roam Carlton Gardens.

Projections telling Indigenous stories will also appear on the gardens' trees.

White Night Reimaged will take place nightly from 7pm, Thursday August 22 to Sunday August 24. Not only is the event no longer a single White Night, but it no longer goes all night until 7am, as it has since its inception. Instead, organisers will turn off the lights at midnight on the Thursday and Friday, and at 1am on the Saturday.

Amsterdam street theatre troupe Close Act will bring Globe to White Night Reimagined in August.Credit:J. Lousberg/Close Act

Major arts venues that have participated in White Night in previous years will do so again, including the NGV, the State Library, the Arts Centre and Melbourne Museum.

Organisers have also promised expanded “culinary offerings”,  details of which are yet to be revealed.

White Night Reimagined will be David Atkins Enterprises' third and final White Night program, with the company's contract expiring. Next year the event will merge with Melbourne International Arts Festival for a "blockbuster" new winter arts festival that is yet to be named. A new artistic team to head up that festival is expected to be announced in coming weeks.

"My team and I have collaborated with artists from across Melbourne, Australia and the world to curate the White Night Reimagined artistic program for 2019," Mr Atkins said.

Close Act will bring 42 performers to White Night Reimagined.Credit:J. Lousberg/Close Act

“White Night Reimagined will transform Melbourne this winter, embracing our beautiful outdoor spaces and gardens, celebrating our myriad of creative institutions, and awakening our senses.”

More program details will be available at https://whitenight.com.au/melbourne/ on Thursday morning.

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