Opera, crafts, arts and literature – Bendigo pulls out all the culture stops

Ken Done, Sydney Sunday 1982, oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Courtesy of the artist

Ken Done, Sydney Sunday 1982, oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Courtesy of the artist

This autumn is time to get your culture fix at one of regional Victoria’s most renowned arts hubs.

Bendigo has a host of homegrown and international artists and makers on show with everything from opera to fashion, literature to film.

Here’s your guide on what you can find this autumn at the Gold Rush-era town.

Exhibition: Australiana: Designing a Nation

From March 18 until June 25 the Bendigo Art Gallery will exclusively show the Australiana: Designing a Nation exhibition.

Showcasing the many different looks of Australian identity and style over the decades, the exhibition will feature famous Australian artists including Tom Roberts, Ken Done, Russell Drysdale, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Jenny Kee, renowned fashion house Romance Was Born and Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku Yalanji artist Tony Albert.

Australiana: Designing a Nation is an exhibition in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria.


Come try traditional trades and crafts at the Lost Trades Fair. Photo: Supplied

Skills display: Lost Trades Fair

Ever wondered what happened to the traditional trades replaced by machines?

On March 11 and 12 the Lost Trades Fair will take you back in time when time-worn skills were passed from one generation to the next.

Come see demonstrations involving more than 150 makers, artisans, tradespeople and crafts men and women, some of whom have been practising their craft for more than 60 years.

Music and song: Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle from Melbourne Opera

Lose yourself in a world of giants and dwarves, serpents and toads, the likes of which inspired JRR Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings.

Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle is one of the world’s most celebrated operas.

Performed at Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre with a 90-piece Melbourne Opera Orchestra, the four-part music drama comprises Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, performances which in total span 15 hours.

Choose to see one or more between March 24 and April 30.

Installation art: Kaleidoscope by Keith Courtney

Check out something unique with this space of constantly shifting illusion.

Keith Courtney is one of the artists behind House of Mirrors and 1000 Doors, and in Kaleidoscope he has brought together yet another experience to disorientate the senses and challenge preconception.

Set in a colour field of ever-changing light, Kaleidoscope is for the brave and adventurous. Showing from April 1 to April 30.

Art: Castlemaine State Festival

It began in 1976 and now the Castlemaine State Festival has grown to become Australia’s longest-running regional arts festival.

The biennial festival commissions, develops and presents a program of events featuring performance, music, literature, visual arts and film.

Highlights include Frente, Vika and Linda, Ella Hooper and Jem Cassar-Daley, Electric Fields and Dallas Woods, Kian, and Jaguar Jonze.

From March 24 until April 9.

Literature: Bendigo Writers Festival

Enjoy the written word with more than 120 writers and 70 events.

In one of the first program announcements, acclaimed author Nick Hornby will appear onscreen being interviewed by fellow author Benjamin Law onstage at Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre on May 6.

There’s also a schools program on May 4.

The Bendigo Writers Festival runs between May 4 and 7.

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