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Published January 29th 2019
Building Community Through Arts
Images - Burrinja
Burrinja is a vibrant community cultural centre in the Dandenong Ranges and they have a clear, creative and community-based vision for the region. They're not short of art and cultural events that run throughout the year. With multiple gallery spaces, artists' studios, a theatre, cafe & bar and more, it's a great place to experience the arts or listen to live music. Located at the corner of Glenfern Road and Matson Drive in Upwey in lush surrounds, they've been awarded Best Small Museum in Victoria for 2010, 2013 & 2017 at the Victorian Museums Awards (Museums Australia - VIC).
This year, the range of shows and entertainment does not disappoint. Underground in March at the Burrinja Theatre is about the Underground reimagined through the eyes of the woman herself, Nancy Wake. Born in Wellington New Zealand in 1912, the family moved and settled in North Sydney two years later. She was a secret agent during the Second World War and lived in Marseilles with her French industrialist husband when the war broke out.
She was known as The White Mouse for her skilful ability to run rings around the Gestapo in occupied France, in spite of a 5m franc price on her head. In this new work, Underground unfolds as a hallucinatory journey through Nancy Wake's life. The only female special agent to survive the war, she's going to tell it her way, with humour and pathos. What happened in France in 1944 changed her forever!
Ladies of song; catch up with Karise Eden for an unforgettable show, live in concert in February coming up - Born to Fight Tour. Winner of the first series of The Voice Australia in 1912, Karise has come a long way. Distinctive with her soul and blues voice, this year she showcases her brand new album Born to Fight. She'll perform songs from her latest release as well as the soul classics she's known and loved for.
Nina Ferro pays tribute to the great Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, in Lady Be Good, in March. One of the brightest stars of the international jazz scene, Nina is powerful, evocative and stunning in her vocal range and has a commanding stage presence. Joined on stage by a jiving band, you'll hear songs like How High The Moon, The Lady is a Tramp, Blue Skies, Love For Sale, & Someone to Watch Over Me. Based in London for ten years before returning to Melbourne, Nina appeared alongside greats such as Tony Bennett, Hugh Jackman, Jose Feliciano, Michael Buble, Billy Ocean, Ricky Martin and more.
Swansong is an achingly brilliant, ovation worthy theatre show. Hop onto a roller-coaster ride that'll transport you into the life of an enraged Occi played by Andre De Vanny - Best Actor', 2015 Green Room Awards. He's violent, vulnerable, soaked in alcohol, yearning, seeking redemption, abused and isolated, and struggling to avoid ghosts and tortured memories of mental institutions. Your challenge is to perceive Occi as more than just a thug, as he and his mother fight for survival in a tough garrison town on the edge of a cruel and unforgiving world.
The children don't miss out either with Creative Movement and Drama Classes that start on 6 Feb and runs through to 3 Apr and suits ages 5 to 13 years. Big Tops and Tiny Tots in April is an interactive theatre event for small humans aged 3 to 6 years old. Walking a tightrope between circus and magic, it's non-stop action and fun and introduces kids to performances that talk back, unlike the screen-time world we live in. It's constantly engaging and inspires kids to get out and give it a go.
Babar the Elephant and Mozart Melodies in July dives deep into the world of the Orchestra for inquisitive youngsters. A Whitehorse Orchestra Children's Concert it'll perform The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant (L'Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant) by Francis Poulenc (1940). FoRT and Picasso and his Dog are two for the whole family to enjoy with spectacular acrobatics, clowning and poetic visuals to Picasso's sausage dog, an inventive mix of live art-making on-stage, puppetry and magic realism.
From various exhibitions; Aboriginal art from Arnhem Land and the Kimberley to VCE Creative Showcase 2019, this is a cultural centre with a lot to offer in 2019, as it has done in previous years. You need to check the events page and start booking, so as not to miss out. Stay updated via their Facebook page .
Why not become a Burrinja Member and connect with the community, whilst supporting local arts and culture, as well as the many local projects that Burrinja manages. Each year you'll get one FREE theatre ticket to a Burrinja season show (excludes venue hire No Free Tickets shows), member ticket discounts on Burrinja shows, special event invites, member priority new season bookings and more. Find out more HERE.