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Family program at RISING Festival 2023

The 2023 Rising Festival program invites families to immerse themselves in Melbourne’s vibrant nighttime culture. Through a series of events that encourage reflection, reckoning, raving, and revelry.

Get ready for an unforgettable experience in the heart of Melbourne. RISING celebrates the city’s art, culture, food, and music under the moonlight, with 185 events featuring over 400 artists, including 35 commissions and 12 world premieres, and a family program that is bigger and better than ever before.

Over 12 incredible nights, families can experience large-scale installations, performances and ice skating. Here are the highlights for the family-friendly program at the 2023 RISING Festival:

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023
Image: Euphoria, credit Julian Rosefeldt

EUPHORIA

Euphoria — a festival exclusive from Berlin-based master artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt — will transform Melbourne Town Hall into an arena swallowed by screens into an arena of screens. The monumental multi-channel film installation featuring Cate Blanchett as an anthropomorphic tiger explores 2000 years of capitalism, greed and the effects of unlimited economic growth.

At ground level life-sized choir of singers from Brooklyn Youth Chorus encircles viewers across 24 gigantic screens while above, five duelling jazz drummers — including the legendary Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine (Weather Report), and Grammy Award-winning drummer and composer Antonio Sánchez (Birdman 2014) — will be projected in the round.

All this in time with the five theatrical vignettes that loop featuring acclaimed actors like Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) and Virginia Newcomb delivering musings from some of history’s most influential economists, writers and thinkers from Snoop Dogg, Warren Buffett and Ayn Rand to Angela Davis and Mark Fisher.

PLEASE NOTE: Strong language and drug use. Recommended for ages 8+

Date: 2 – 18 June 2023
Time: Entry every 60 minutes, full circle of work is 117 minutes
Location: Melbourne Town Hall
Price: $18 – $32

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023
Image: Rinky Dink, credit: Eugene Hyland

The RINK at RISING

Ice Skating is back at the RISING Festival. RISING will create a new ice-skating experience of celestial proportions, The Rink at RISING, this year will bring a new, super-sized rink to the banks of Birrarung Marr. Flanked by fairy-lit elms – families can follow the river trail and the scent of buttery popcorn and hot chocolate — towards the glow of the big top, then lace up and glide like a galactic gazelle under a solar system of glowing spheres.

Date: 1 June – 8 July 2023
Location: Birrarung Marr
Price: $22 – $34 (includes up to two hours of skating). Family packages are available from $69. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult on the ice.

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023

HIDE THE DOG

At Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse, Hide The Dog is a swashbuckling First Nations comedy for all ages that sails the high seas to hide a Thylacine and strengthen the bonds between trans-Tasman spirit stories. Written by Tasmanian playwright Nathan Maynard (Trawlwoolway pakana) and Aotearoa writer Jamie McCaskill (Māori) it’s a richly realised tale bursting with nimble puppetry and colourful costumes and stunning scenic projections.

Date: 16 – 17 June 2023
Location: Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne
Price: $25 – $40

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023
Image: Spark, credit: Studio Roosegaarde

SPARK

In a co-presentation with Fed Square, a heavenly cloud of lights will float like fireflies for SPARK, the creation of Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. Designed as a flock of thousands and made from biodegradable materials, once released the sparks form ever-shifting shoals — sublime atmospheric bioluminescence, caught in a cool night breeze. For the first four evenings of RISING, the light show will be released over Fed Square, free to be enjoyed by anyone.

Date: 7 – 10 June 2023
Location: Fed Square, Flinders Street
Price: FREE

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023
Image: Electric, credit: Eugene Hyland

First Nations digital projection will transform the facade of Hamer Hall, into a dreamscape connecting time and place. For those in its radius during lockdown, Ancestral Memory, by Maree Clarke(Mutti Mutti/YortaYorta/BoonWurrung), was a symbol of solidarity and connection to a deeper timeline. Now in partnership, with The Arts Centre Electric will see the facade of Hamer Hall once more transformed each evening of RISING into a canvas featuring First Nations stories, culture and knowledge–this year by revered Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta artist Aunty Zeta Thomson and her work Mookies Around the Watering Hole.

Date: 7 June – 16 July 2023
Location: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Price: FREE

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023
Image: 10000 Kazoos, credit: Michael Pham

10,000 KAZOOS

10,000 Kazoos is a city-sized pied piper of absurdity, open to anyone and led by artist and composer Ciaran Frame who wants to put 10,000 biodegradable kazoos in the hands of 10,000 people for the biggest musical project Melbourne has ever seen. An all-encompassing frenzy of kazoo-thiasm, it promises to be a big, unifying, howling moment of mass participation.

Date: 10 June 2023
Location: Fed Square, Flinders Street
Price: FREE

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Family program at RISING Festival 2023
Image: Wallabies, credit: Rick Maxwell Douglas

WALLABIES

Twenty-three-metre tall Wallabies, bursting with impressionistic colour and personality, by Archibald Prize finalist Matthew Clarke, whose work questions the assumptions of what’s possible in art, will peek out from banks of the Birrarung. Throughout RISING the sculptures will be romping along the Birrarung (Yarra River) in full technicolour regalia. 

Date: 7 – 18 June 2023
Location: Birrarung, Yarra River
Price: FREE

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Get ready to be swept away by the creative energy of Melbourne as it comes alive under the festival's glow. For more information on RISING click here.

We try our best to provide accurate information on kid-friendly events around Victoria but do recommend parents check details directly to confirm dates, times, prices as some details may be subject to change.

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