The Container Festival

Just when it looks like there might be a week without an arts festival in Melbourne, along comes the inaugural Container Festival presented by MUST, the Monash University Student Theatre association.

The Container Festival. Photo be Sarah Walker.
The Container Festival. Photo be Sarah Walker.

From August 2 to 20, a performance hub of shipping containers is being set up at Monash University in Clayton. The containers are performance venues and the MUST theatre is being transformed into a lounge bar.

With over 200 diverse performances and exhibitions including music, dance, theatre, visual art, games, burlesque, poetry and puppetry, the festival is designed to showcase and encourage student and graduate talent, while engaging the university and local community in an interactive and welcoming way.

MUST Artistic Director, Yvonne Virsik says, “It will ignite cultural engagement and expression, foster innovation and provide brilliant and affordable entertainment.”

It’s a bit like a mini Fringe festival, but there are no participation fees for the artists, it’s in one place and tickets are very affordable.

There are lots of FREE events, but the bargain is a $50 Festival Pass that gives you entry to every festival event. Day passes are only $15 or tickets for individual shows range from $2 to $8.

With offerings including one-on-one story telling, an espionage caper game called Dead Drop, 10-minute dance parties, Vietnamese folk takes, a Bingo Bonanza (with “genuine $2-shop quality prizes), performances from the Monash Jazz Orchestra and an intriguing piece called Belgian Roulette where you have to choose between two chocolate brownies (one of which is filled with chili), the Container Festival promises a unique experience for every visitor.

Theatre highlights include a workshop production of Robert Reid’s new work Bacchae Rising and new works by Fleur Kilpatrick and Tom Molyneux.

The festival launches with an opening party on Friday 2 August from 6 pm. Entry is FREE and there will be plenty of chances to meet the artists and have a sneak peak at the performances.

Monash arts graduates and MUST members continue to make an impact on the Melbourne (and Australian) independent and professional arts scene and there’s likely to be a former MUST member in most local companies from writers to performers to general managers.

Playwrights like Declan Greene and Amelia Roper had their first full-length works performed at Monash; local companies Attic Erratic, Quiet Little Fox and A Modern Deception met at Monash; and creators like Sarah Collins, Daniel Lammin, Mark Wilson, Celeste Cody, Tom Pitts, Sarah Walker, Danny Delahunty and Kaitlyn Claire all began their careers at Monash.

Events and festivals like this are vital to develop and encourage emerging artists and to give more experienced artists an opportunity to experiment and give new work its first outing.

Container Festival poster

The Container Festival is a terrific opportunity to see and engage with the next generation of Melbourne artists and performers.

And remember that Clayton campus is only a 20-minute drive from the city and there’s parking or public transport will drop you at the door.

The Container Festival
Monash University, Clayton
2–20 August
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Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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