Regional Arts Victoria curates and presents a diverse array of artists from all across the state for each year’s Regional Victoria Living Expo.
From the dynamic stylings of Ballarat’s hip hop crew Existdance, to the powerful Skin Choir from country all across Victoria, to Albury-Wodonga’s high-power Flying Fruit Fly Circus, and everywhere in between: the Expo is a massive partnership event that offers its 10,000 annual visitors a taste of regional culture, inspiring an increasing number to make the move to regional Victoria. Here’s a taster:
The Expo as a whole is managed by the Victorian Government department, Regional Development Victoria, and takes place over three days at the enormous Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Regional Arts Victoria curates and produces the cultural program, working with key arts organisations Multicultural Arts Victoria, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Public Galleries Association of Victoria and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, as well as the Victorian Government department, Creative Victoria.
Past Expo programs have included:
Main Stage Program
H.K.U.D. “LADO” – Croatian Cultural Artistic Association
Established in 1972, the Croatian Cultural Artistic Association “LADO” Geelong has played an integral role in showcasing and promoting the rich and proud Croatian culture and heritage through music, song and dance. Our performances are recognised as being at the highest standard maintained by continual training overseen by Mr Tihomir Zlatic, composer and professional musician with the Croatian Radio Television (HRT) Orchestra in Zagreb. Today, “LADO” has over 100 active dancers and 30 musicians. We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2012, after a monumental year in 2011 with our first CD being recorded in Zagreb on our tour of Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatian community in Subotica.
Ballarat based dance school and performance group, Existdance perform street & club styles including Hip Hop/House/Hardstyle, DJing, MCing, Graffitti. Performing group routines across broad age range from beginner to experienced.
Presented by the National Celtic Festival. This trio comprises Cathy Blake and daughters and Michelle Doyle. Raised in a family of classical musicians, Cathy discovered folk music in her mid-twenties. ‘I love the way folk music crosses the age boundaries and brings to life past traditions.’
Generation Ignite, based in Shepparton, is a dynamic group of Pacific Island community members who love to share and learn their culture. Elders in the community pass these traditions down to the youngsters, who will be performing ‘sasa’ Samoan body percussion and dance at the expo.
THE FLYING FRUIT FLY CIRCUS
Based in Albury /Wodonga, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus is Australia’s only full time circus training institution for children. For 30 years, the Fruit Fly Circus has played an important role in the development of contemporary circus in Australia. Today, Fruit Fly graduates are working, teaching and performing in many new and emerging professional companies here and abroad. Offering an elite full-time training program for children aged 8-18 years, professional performance touring opportunities and a select entry school.
IAIN ELLIS AND THE DEEP SEA DIVERS
ABC EXHUMED Regional Winner, Mildura – Swan Hill Representative. Mildura’s “acoustic-folky-rock” band, “The Deep Sea Divers” are three friends whose shared love for Radiohead, The National and Pink Floyd inspired them to form their original band. Singer songwriter Iain and his band of merry sea-monkeys (one sea-monkey actually – called Jeff – with surprisingly good percussion skills) play a raft of songs from Iain’s extended back catalogue and the odd cover song or three.
THE KISSIN’ COUSINS
ABC EXHUMED Regional Winner, Goulburn Murray Representative. Hailing from Beechworth and Wodonga, The Kissin’ Cousins are a six-piece bluegrass outfit who recently were the winners for the Goulburn Murray in the ABC’s Exhumed contest. The six members of Beechworth blue-grass cover band, “The Kissin’ Cousins” aren’t really cousins, but they do boast a cartoonist, a stay-at-home dad, and a physiotherapist. Inspired by bands such as Old Crow Medicine Show, The Stanley Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs, The Kissin’ Cousins got together because “we just love to play – any excuse really.”
BEC AND THE BIG RIVER TRIO
ABC EXHUMED Victorian Winner, South West Victoria Representative. Heralding from Warrnambool, Victoria, Bec spends her days working on her family’s dairy farm. The rest of the Big River Trio, inspired by classic country acts from Patsy Cline to the Dixie Chicks, are a “foot tappin’, thigh slappin’, good time band”. Together, the four of them are good friends playing music for the fun of it.
THE FESTIVAL CEILI BAND
Presented by the National Celtic Festival. Comprising some great traditional Victorian Irish musicians – a Ceili band is a dance band and his group will play a great mix of tunes to get your toes tapping and your feet dancing. The band will be joined by a set of dancers who tempt you to join them.
Skin Choir is a choir made up of Victorian Indigenous artists who compose and perform. Developed by Jessie Lloyd, Skin Choir is a collaboration project produced by Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation through its Artist Support & Development Program. An initiative that supports local Indigenous singer songwriters by generating increased performance opportunities and broader skills development. SKIN’s sound is uplifting, energetic and has a flare of effervescent comedy. With song writing collaborations between James Henry, Deline Briscoe and Lee Morgan, Jessie Lloyd leads choir into a direction that empowers and informs. Aiming to give a true and honest representation of today’s Indigenous Australians.
PAPER PLANET – Polyglot Theatre
Paper Planet is a world filled with tall, strange cardboard trees, paper leaves, boulders, ponds and other mysterious shapes that inhabit any venue it spreads to. This is a constantly evolving artistic work created live by award-winning Polyglot Theatre artists, children and their families using the simplest of materials: paper and cardboard. Moving beyond audience participation, Paper Planet is experiential, tangible and wholly immersive. Polyglot Theatre are internationally renowned creators of interactive and experiential theatre for children aged up to 12 years.
The Glitter Critters team provides the all-important family event provision of painted faces – for children and their adults.
Brilliant in springtime, Ned and Nellie Narcissus are a brilliant stilt-walking duo, inspired by the European daffodil and the Australian golden wattle. Whether roving in a street parade or mingling with the audience, this colourful sight always creates a high impact. Public Mischief presents a series of character-based stilt-walking performances across the weekend.
FREHD THE CLOWN
All the way from Eleventy 5 Jellybean Drive, CLOWN TOWN via Melbourne Comedy Festival, comes award nominated Frehd the Clown. Infectious humour, dazzling magic, bubbles and songs. Frehd appears by arrangement with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where you can catch her in The (Very) Big Laugh Out.
Justin’s brand of physical comedy, circus skills and improvisation makes him a perennial crowd favourite. Watch out… you never know where you might find him… Justin appears by arrangement with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where you can catch him in The (Very) Big Laugh Out.
SHARON FROM CANADA
Meet Sharon – she’s from Canada and wants to know all about regional Victoria. Can you help? Sharon appears by arrangement with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where you can catch her in The (Very) Big Laugh Out.
BIG RIVER TRIO
The Big River Trio, inspired by classic country acts from Patsy Cline to the Dixie Chicks, are a “foot tappin’, thigh slappin’, good time band”. Good friends playing music for the fun of it.
PETER HOOPER TRIO
20’s to 40’s Jazz including Swing and Latin, Bossa Nova, Rag Time, Trad and Dixieland favourites, Beatles. Variations of banjo, guitar, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, double bass, vocals.