Art, Installation Free
Cross my heart and hope, Alchemy
Photograph: Beth Wilkinson

From liturgical dance to robotics, the Abbotsford Convent’s inaugural arts festival boasts an extraordinary line-up of site-specific works

Connotations with medieval magic and gold aside, the word ‘alchemy’ refers to transformation of simpler materials into something precious. Last year, the Abbotsford Convent awarded three artistic projects $5,000 to develop a work that would respond to the spaces and stories of the Convent. After months of experimentation, they will take shape across the month of May. 

In the Convent courtyard, visual art and sound duo Alex Akers and Helen Fitzgerald will run Ecophany (Daily 7.30am-10pm. Free. May 4-31) – an installation using natural materials, robotics and 3D printed forms that will bounce off each other in the historic space. 

Performance art comes in the form of Fallen O’er (Mural Hall. Fri-Sun 7.30pm, 2pm & 7pm, Sat May 14. Free. May 13-22), in which Alice Dixon, Caroline Meaden and William McBride (This Is What’s Happening, Best Dance at 2015 Melbourne Fringe) will create a response to performing liturgical dance at a Catholic girl’s school. 

Rounding out the program is Cross my heart (and hope) (Mural Hall. Sat 2pm & 4pm; Sun noon, 2pm & 4pm. $10. May 28-29), by award-winning theatre company Rawcus. In this musically charged work, artists with and without disabilities will explore hope in challenging times. 

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