Alter State – Arts Centre Melbourne’s Inaugural Disability Arts Festival 2022 Programme

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'Meremere' 'Meremere' Image © Tom Hoyle

Alter State will make its anticipated debut at Arts Centre Melbourne this September and October.


There will be in-person offerings and digital offerings. The festival has been created in collaboration with Arts Access Victoria, and will feature theatre, circus, music, and family works from artists and companies from Australia and New Zealand.

“It is so exciting to be launching the 2022 Alter State programme,” Arts Access Victoria CEO Caroline Bowditch says. “I feel that Arts Access Victoria’s contributions to this project have bought a different perspective, raised different questions, and bought new voices and skills into the conversation.”

“I am hoping audiences will experience a welcome that allows anybody to feel a sense of belonging. Authentic stories and voices will be shared through incredible art.”

New Zealand artist Rodney Bell’s (Ngāti Maniapoto) autobiographical work ‘Meremere’ is compelling art, weaving stories from Bell’s incredible journey with dance, movement, and theatre.

As part of the festival, two new commissioned works will be shown. ‘When The World Turns’ and ‘Momentum’ will explore new worlds of possibilities.

Polyglot (AU) and Oilycart (UK) come together to present ‘When The World Turns’. It’s a sensory work from Co-Directors Sue Gilles and Ellie Griffiths who have overcome borders and boundaries to deliver it.

Meremere Credit Vanessa Rushton Photography
'Meremere' – Image © Vanessa Rushton Photography

Meanwhile, ‘Momentum’ from Women’s Circus will bring Arts Centre Melbourne’s public spaces to life. A circus ensemble will explore concepts of space, time, and energy.

Aspiring creatives will have an opportunity to work with Back To Back Theatre in ‘Come And Make Performance (CAMP)’. It’s a series of workshops for participants from youth organisations Western Edge, Platform Youth Arts, and St Martin’s Youth Arts.

Alter State will also feature a range of collaborations. The Other Film Festival, from Arts Access Victoria and The Australian Centre of Moving Image. . . ‘Meeting Place’ with Arts Access Australia. . . ‘Curated Conversations’ with Australian Performing Arts Market. . . And arts pop-up Nebula with ‘CheckPoint’.

“Alter State is here. A bold newcomer to the arts world, ready to share stories and create moments that will excite the senses and captivate audiences,” Arts Centre Melbourne Creative Producer Wendy O’Neill says.

“The inaugural programme has been curated to platform the incredible diversity of Deaf and Disabled artists across Australia and Aotearoa [New Zealand]. We are thrilled to be presenting this alongside Arts Access Victoria and open a new chapter for disability arts in the region.”

Alter State is on at Arts Centre Melbourne from 12 September-9 October.

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