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Mr McClelland's Finishing School crowd
Photograph: Supplied

Melbourne events you can stream online now

Our guide to the best events, festivals, workshops and things to do in Melbourne and beyond being livestreamed to you at home

By Rebecca Russo and Nicola Dowse

We've all become intimately acquainted with the great indoors of late, and that's ok. Because while we're spending more time at home and inside there are still plenty of interesting things to watch and engage with online.

Melbourne's creative and resilient artists, performers, experts and craftspeople are now bringing the fun to you virtually. Plus there are livestreamed events, workshops and festivals happening all over the world – and there’s never been a better time to show your support to those who are facing uncertain times. 

We’ve handpicked some of the coolest events that will be streaming to your homes over the coming days.

RECOMMENDED: More things to do at home in Melbourne right now.

Upcoming events to stream

Penguin captured on livestream
Photograph: Supplied

Melbourne zoos 24/7 livestream

News Weird & Wonderful

Live: Now

Melbourne’s zoos have decided to live stream their animals so you won’t miss out on a second of all that cute creature fun.  Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures, including the adorable snow leopard cubs, the friendly penguins, lazy lions and wandering giraffes. Fair warning: if you’re supposed to be working, this is highly distracting.

A scene from the 2012 arena spectacular production of Jesus Christ Superstar
Photograph: Supplied

Andrew Lloyd Webber musical streams

News Theatre & Performance

Live: On YouTube for a limited time

Some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best and most loved musicals are coming to YouTube for the very first time. Selected musical productions from Lloyd Webber’s impressive catalogue will be streamed on The Show Must Go On YouTube channel for free.  The online streaming season starts on April 4 with the release of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Next up is the 2012 Tim Minchin-starring arena spectacular production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Saturday, April 11.

A searchlight beaming into the night sky over Hobart
Photograph: Mona / Jesse Hunniford

MONA is beaming 49 searchlights into the night sky every Saturday until it reopens

News Art

Live: Saturday nights

The world might feel dark right now but MONA is rectifying that, quite literally. The unconventional Tasmanian gallery is beaming 49 xenon searchlights 15 kilometres into the night sky every Saturday until it can reopen. The light installation is a work called ‘spectra’ by artist Ryoji Ikeda and has been part of MONA’s permanent collection since 2018. You can watch the luminescent installation shine into the heavens on livestream – a streamed beam if you will – via MONA’s website or YouTube channel.

Lizard from Reptile Encounters
Photograph: Supplied

Reptile Encounters livestreams

News Kids

Live: Monday to Friday at 11am and 2pm

Reptile Encounters, a mobile zoo from Melbourne, has started doing daily educational livestreams. From Monday to Friday at 11am and 2pm, the team of veterinary bioscientists and registered teachers will be entertaining those at home with great reptile content on their Facebook page. You’ll be able to learn about the zoo’s collection of animals and all they’re doing for conservation.

Four koalas sitting on a branch in a "cuddle train"
Photograph: Supplied

24/7 koala livestream

News Weird & Wonderful

Live: Now

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane, Queensland, currently has 15 livestreams running, eight of which are solely focused on its resident koalas. The koala-ity content includes livestreams of the koala forest, joey enclosure, and the koala cuddle train – so called because the branches in this enclosure are a favourite spot for the koalas to form “cuddle trains” which are literally as cute as they sound. Koalas are famously sleepy critters (they’re asleep 18 to 20 hours a day) but if you’re lucky you might see them eating, socialising or interacting with keepers.

Man playing cello on a desk chair
Photograph: Supplied

Australian Chamber Orchestra HomeCasts

News Music

Live: Check the website

You can close concert halls and you can ban public gatherings, but it’s impossible to stop music playing. The Australian Chamber Orchestra has committed to that cause as we all bunker down during the coronavirus pandemic, announcing a digital season of music to engage audiences and raise spirits remotely. ACO HomeCasts is a digital season of musical performances, interviews and lessons curated by ACO artistic director Richard Tognetti.

Charli XCX performs on a stage with her name in glowing pink letters behind her.
Photograph: Flickr/Justin Higuchi

Charli XCX livestream sessions

News Music

Live: Check Charli's Instagram

While you were busy thinking about boys, progressive pop powerhouse Charli XCX has been trawling through her rolodex and curating a series of fun, educational livestream sessions to keep us entertained while we’re all isolated at home. Just blame it on her love (for her fans). The ‘Boom Clap’ singer is serving up Instagram livestream events that offer a little more than the basic acoustic sets and sing-a-longs that have been doing the rounds on isolation era social media.

Elvis the saltwater crocodile at Australian Reptile Park
Photograph: supplied

Australian Reptile Park livestreams

News Weird & Wonderful

Live: Check ARP's website

Zoos across the world are really stepping up their online game, as visitors stay home. Sydney zoo Australian Reptile Park is adding its list of cuddly, cute and sometimes downright terrifying animals to the digital menagerie you can now view at home. And not only are there feeding time livestreams, there are also educational animal talks to teach bored kids (and adults) some fascinating animal facts.

More Aussie events to stream

A shark swims through an aquarium
Photograph: Supplied/Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo Livestreams

Things to do

Live: Feeding times vary check the Facebook pages for Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium each Monday morning 

Zoos and aquariums around the world are providing animal enrichment for us Covid-19 captives, and our own Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium are dishing out the goods. Every week these Darling Harbour attractions are beaming their finest ambassadors to our devices. This week for example you can meet Rocky, the saltwater crocodile, for a feeding (Wednesday, 10.30am ), settle in for a ‘Snake Supper’ story time with a slithery surprise (Friday, 10.30am), or dive in for a fin-tastic feeding frenzy with the Aquarium’s black tip reef sharks and white tip reef sharks (Thursday, 10.30am). Not every stream is quite so scaly or brimming with razor sharp jaws, there’s plenty of fluffy and cuddly marsupials and sea creatures getting in on the action too.

Giraffe at Taronga Zoo
Photograph: Supplied

Taronga TV

News City Life

Live: Now with events announced on Facebook

Taronga Zoo has upped the ante with the launch of Taronga TV, a new digital platform streaming animal enclosures, behind-the-scenes 'sneak peeks’ and after-hours footage revealing what the keepers and the animals they care for get up to when the park is closed to the public. Alongside this streaming content, there is also an archive of online resources for teachers and parents who may be homeschooling their kids at the moment, featuring fun yet educational materials about exotic wildlife, local fauna and the natural world. 

Missy Higgins performs live at the Sydney Opera House
Photograph: Prudence Upton

From Our House to Yours

News Theatre & Performance

Live: Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm

While we’re all stuck in, the nation’s most famous house is throwing their doors wide open, in spirit, at least, with a little help from Missy Higgins. The Sydney Opera House has launched an inspiring digital arts season dubbed From our House to Yours. It includes livestreamed performances, podcasts, behind-the-scenes footage and long-form reads to feed your imagination. Even better, it’s totally free. The timings and content will vary, with the schedule announced each Tuesday for the week from Wednesday. Keep your eyes on their regularly updated online platform.

Kevin Jackson and Lana Jones in Aus Ballet's Sleeping Beauty
Photograph: Jeff Busby

Ballet TV

News Theatre & Performance

Live: The Sleeping Beauty is streaming until Friday April 17, check the website for new release dates

In a move akin to National Theatre Live’s free theatrical goodies, theAustralian Ballet is popping cinema-quality classics from its back catalogue onto its website. The free At Home with Ballet TV 2020 Digital Season was launched on Sunday, April 5 with artistic director David McAllister’s celebrated take on The Sleeping Beauty, set to Tchaikovsky’s dreamy score. A five-month roster of magical treasures will follow. Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella will head to the digital ball on April 17.

Willie Nelson
Photograph: Wikicommons/Adrignola

Sofa King Fest

News Music

Live: Now with a rolling line-up you can follow on the website

Newly launched website, Sofa King Fest is a clever go-to international gig guide for all the live-streaming performances going off in a glorious no-surrender response to the pandemic shutdown from musicians. Built and organised by a small army of volunteers from both the music and tech industries, it functions as both a listings and fundraising platform, connecting fans to their favourite bands in these crazy distancing days. Confirmed artists set to feature so far include the legendary bandana-wearing country star Willie Nelson and hip hop supergroup Cypress Hill along with Melissa Etheridge, Big Freedia, Trombone Shorty, ATRAK, Tank and the Bangas and Triple Threat DJs.

a woman in a tshirt and track pants dances
Photograph: Forest Simon/Unsplash

Mildly Wet

Things to do

Live: Saturday nights

What is one of the first things you're going to do after isolation is lifted? If your answer is along the lines of “going to the club”, we feel you. But you need not wait to cut some shapes and make some new mates on the hallowed grounds of the dance floor.  Mildly Wet is a fully interactive “online quarantine club” fitted out with sick beats, chat windows and webcams. Somewhat cringey, moist-adjacent name aside, the club kicks off every Saturday night at 9pm AEDT promising an hour of boogies and a reminder that we are not alone. 

Lerato Maduna of Breaking Bread
Photograph: Lerato Maduna

The Biennale of Sydney online

News Art

Live: Daily streams on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Check the online portal for full resources.

One of Australia's biggest visual arts festivals, this year's Biennale opened just days before visitor attractions, including galleries, were advised to close. However, while new artistic director Brook Andrew’s inaugural program – First Nations-focused and dubbed Nirin after the Wiradjuri word for ‘edge' – may have been waylaid by current events, the show will go on nonetheless, in the digital space. A ten-week digital curation will showcase the work of some of the Biennale’s most exciting artists, activating cool experiences on their website and social channels. This will expand onto Google’s Arts & Culture platform in the coming weeks, bringing some 700 artworks to as many eyes as possible.

Staying indoors?

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Time In: The best things to do at home

Things to do

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.


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