Barry Humphries iconic costumes on display at Arts Centre Melbourne

A time capsule of items exploring the career of iconic Australian comedian Barry Humphries will be on display at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Smorgon Family Plaza until 30 August 2023.

The free display curated from the Australian Performing Arts Collection includes garments worn by Dame Edna Everage at the peak of fame, as well as programmes, screenplays and artefacts from Humphries’ meteoric rise.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s Head of Curatorial Margot Anderson hits nostalgic notes with the display, exploring the journey of the star:

It is challenging to sample Edna’s expansive wardrobe, but we chose three costumes that have been favourites with visitors in the past. Barry Humphries donated a rich selection of Edna’s costumes over many years creating a lively record of her rise from humble beginnings in 1950s Moonee Ponds to international ‘megastardom’ in the 1990s.

With more than one thousand individual items of Humphries’ career in the Collection, Anderson and the team channelled the vibrancy and uniqueness of Dame Edna for curatorial inspiration.

These costumes all have Edna’s trademark pizzazz and a three-dimensional quality that would have made her performance on stage even funnier. In addition to the costumes, we’ve selected items from Barry’s extensive collection including programmes, photographs and correspondence that capture the many facets of his career.

The Australian Performing Arts Collection was founded in 1975 and is the largest specialised performing arts collection in the country holding close to 800,000 unique items relating to the history of circus, dance, music, opera, and theatre in Australia.

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