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  1. A huge octopus-like sculpture sits in the foreground of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl
    Photograph: Eugene Hyland
  2. An open outdoor space is illuminated by lights and pop up food venues
    Photograph: Eugene Hyland
  3. A crowd iceskates under large illuminated sculptures
    Photograph: Eugene Hyland
  4. Four figures in transparent arty outfits perform in a busy square at night
    Photograph: Nick Buckley

What to see at Rising 2022

Third time's the charm for the Rising team, with an epic line-up of brilliant art, installations and pop ups

Written by Bianca O'Neill

Melbourne's winter arts festival, Rising, has been cancelled the past two years due to Melbourne's lockdown restrictions, but with the city open for business again, it's hoped this year's festival will finally be able to bring its program of ambitious arts and culture offerings to Melbourne.

There are 225 events, including 22 commissions and 14 world premieres, taking place across the 12 nights of the festival. In typical Rising fashion, these won't be staid and static art pieces on bare gallery walls. Instead, the festival will take over Melbourne's streets, gardens, car parks, waterways and rooftops.

Although it's impossible to pick a favourite show, The Wilds is one of the most hotly anticipated elements of this year's program. The Wilds will take over the Royal Botanic Gardens in a riot of colour, sound, art, music, food and even ice skating. 

Here are our picks of the festival. 

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

The outstanding Eryn Jean Norvill takes on every role in this Oscar Wilde adaptation by STC artistic director Kip Williams. Exploring the chaotically spiralling aftermath of a Faustian pact for eternal youth, The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a fascinating insight into out selfie-obsessed times.

“I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine… about our culture’s obsession with youth, and our obsession with constructed identity and selfie culture, and we were talking about how you might make a work that could start to unpack and challenge those ideas,” Williams says. “Dorian Gray feels like a timely piece to investigate.”

All the more so now, given our time lost in the digital desert these past few years. Speaking of which, the show uses the live video technology that Williams deployed to such remarkable effect in Suddenly, Last Summer and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.

This production continues the collaboration between Williams and Norvill, who first worked together on a 2013 staging of Romeo and Juliet which reframed the action through Juliet’s perspective. After a five-star performance in Sydney, The Picture of Dorian Gray finally gets its Melbourne outing as part of Rising 2022.

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