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Ashleigh Hastings

Ashleigh Hastings

Arts & Culture Editor

Ashleigh Hastings (she/her) is the arts and culture editor for Time Out Melbourne. Around the age of two she zoned in on her great loves of dance, music, pretty things and extremely pink outfits – not much has changed since. 

Ash spent seven years scrubbing dishes, mopping floors and shaking cocktails in Melbourne’s theatres and live music venues while she studied her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne. These days, she’s thrilled to be on the other side of the curtain helping give Melbourne’s arts and culture scene the attention and support it so dearly deserves. 

You can find Ashleigh’s writing in a wide range of publications including SmartCompany, ABC News, Leader Newspapers and Flux Finance. 

Reach her at ashleigh.hastings@timeout.com or connect with her on socials.

Instagram: @ash_hastings

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Articles (132)

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The local superstars

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The local superstars

It's called the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but the biggest highlights frequently come from our very own locals. This year's line-up features more than 800 performers putting on more than 650 shows, from fan favourites to festival first-timers. We've put together some of our favourite local legends to see this year. Can't decide who to see? Check out our ultimate guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 reviews

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 reviews

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is well and truly in full swing, with more than 650 shows lighting up 133 performance spaces across the city. With so comedians to see and not enough time, we have sent out a batch of reviewers to dig deep and suss out the best of the fest this year. Whether it's a weird and wonderful show, a national treasure or a rising star, check out our reviews and see what tickles your fancy.  Want to review the show over a drink? Check out the best late-night bars in Melbourne.  

The best of Melbourne theatre and musicals this month

The best of Melbourne theatre and musicals this month

April 2024: Melbourne's theatre scene is hunkering down for autumn, and by that we mean continuing to host a world-class theatrical feast. While much of the city's focus this month is on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, there's still so much going on in our theatres. From the razzle-dazzle of Chicago to the nuanced themes of The Almighty Sometimes, there's something for every mood. From the toe-tapping to the cathartic, consider this your ultimate guide to all the best theatre and musicals happening this April. When stuck for things to do between shows, you can also always rely on our catch-all lists of Melbourne's best bars, restaurants, museums, parks and galleries, or consult our bucket list of 101 things to do in Melbourne before you die.  Want something else to do this month? Check out our gig guide.

The must-see shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The must-see shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Paging McDreamy, we have a funny bone emergency! Hundreds of comedians from every corner of Australia and the globe have descended upon the capital for the Southern Hemisphere's largest LOLapalooza: the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. With more than 650 shows to choose from, it's hard to pick out the best and the best, so we've put together a list of the shows our team of expert reviewers have awarded with a five-star rating. Here are our top shows to see at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, so book those seats – and stat! Want to support some rising stars of the scene? We've got a list for them, too!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The weird, wacky and wonderful

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The weird, wacky and wonderful

After hard launching in 1987, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has swelled into the world's largest stand-alone comedy festival. Dozens of festivals down the line, Melbourne continues to be an international hive for comedy, with veteran and fledgling performers swarming to the city year after year.  This year’s comedy bonanza runs from March 27 until April 21, during which time more than 800 performers will put on more than 650 shows and more than 7,800 individual performances. Amid so many options, you’d be forgiven for finding it hard to choose. For the quirky among you, we’ve catalogued some of the weirdest, wackiest and most wonderful shows from this year’s line-up – enjoy! Still can't decide who to see? Check out our favourite local legends. 

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The rising stars

Melbourne International Comedy Festival: The rising stars

Everybody has to start somewhere, and if you're an aspiring comedian, that somewhere often means quaking behind an open-mic in front of an unnerving crowd. Still, year after year, budding stand-up comics continue to flock to comedy hubs like Edinburgh and Melbourne to see if they have what it takes to bring the house down. Still, don't be disparaged, as lists like this can attest that anyone from anywhere could have what it takes to be the next big thing. While there are a lot of gigantic name performers at this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, there is also a bunch of up-and-coming talent that you should bookmark, stat. If you fancy trying your hand, don't forget that there is also RAW, Australia's biggest open-mic competition. Past competitors include the likes of Hannah Gadsby, Anne Edmonds and Aaron Chen. You can register here. Not sure what to add to your comedy calendar? Check out our ultimate insider's guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024.

The best gigs happening in Melbourne this month

The best gigs happening in Melbourne this month

April 2024: Summer has officially ended, but that doesn’t mean things are cooling down – neither literally nor in the Melbourne music calendar.  When stuck for things to do between live gigs, you can also always rely on our catch-all lists of Melbourne's best bars, restaurants, museums, parks and galleries, or consult our bucket list of 101 things to do in Melbourne before you die.  Craving a pint with your favourite local band? Here are the best live music pubs in Melbourne.

The best musical and theatre shows to see in Australia in 2024

The best musical and theatre shows to see in Australia in 2024

From musicals based on much-loved and seriously messed up kids’ TV shows to gothic horror reimagined via icons returning to the stage after decades away, this year in theatre is shaping up to be one of the strongest we’ve seen in quite some time.Here are a few shows we know you’ll want to catch before it’s too late to say you were there. RECOMMENDED: Culture vultures, come and get your fix at these top Australian art galleries. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Australia newsletter for more news, travel inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. 

12 unmissable art exhibitions to see in Australia in 2024

12 unmissable art exhibitions to see in Australia in 2024

Whether you favour sculpture, painting, photography or textiles, there’s something for everyone spread across Australia’s biggest art exhibitions in 2024. Here are just a few of our favourites that have us booking flights in eager anticipation. RECOMMENDED: The best musical and theatre shows to see in Australia in 2024. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Australia newsletter for more news, travel inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. 

The best art and exhibitions in Melbourne this month

The best art and exhibitions in Melbourne this month

April 2024: The weather is cooling down, but Melbourne's art galleries are still running hot. Over at ACMI, embark on a sublime sensory journey at the world premiere of Marshmallow Laser Feast's Works of Nature. For a look at some First Nations art, head to Watercolour Country or Wurrdha Marra. For those who like to travel without the need for a passport, take a virtual trip with Icons: A Steve McCurry Retrospective. There's always something to see in this all-embracing city of ours, so don't let the month pass you by without getting your fix of the best art, culture and exhibitions in Melbourne this March. When in doubt, you can also always rely on our catch-all lists of Melbourne's best bars, restaurants, museums, parks and galleries, or consult our bucket list of 101 things to do in Melbourne before you die.  Keen to add some art to your home? These are the best places to buy art in Melbourne.

Funny bunch: five clever comics on their craft and what comedy means to them

Funny bunch: five clever comics on their craft and what comedy means to them

In case you missed it, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is kind of a big deal. In fact, with more than 650 shows and 7,800 individual performances happening on 185 stages this year, calling it a massive deal is probably more accurate. As the festival (which runs until April 21) ramps up its seven-late-nights-per-week of rib-splitting laughs, we chatted to a funny bunch of local jokesters about what the whole thing means to them. Photograph: Carmen Zammit How do you usually introduce yourself to someone new at parties? He Huang: I normally don’t like to bring up that I’m a comedian at the party. Nowadays, whenever I say I’m a comedian, people say, ‘Tell me a joke’. You want to go hard on them and say ‘What’s your job? Do your job in front of me too’, but then everyone’s just quiet. I used to work at an NGO. Now I’m not trying to save the world, I’m just trying to save myself from insanity.  Gillian Cosgriff: Hello I’m Gill, where are the snacks? Generally, I would say I’m a performer and see if they have any follow-up questions to explain what specific kind. Sometimes I’m a comedian, and I’m an actor, musician and writer. For me, a swift self-deprecate and a pivot is my preference. Nick White: I’ll just say, 'Hi, my name’s Nick' and I’ll leave it at that. If they ask what I do, I’ll say I’m a comedian who does stand-up comedy and content creation. I try not to get into the nitty gritty unless they ask… I hate being called an influencer, because I’ve been doing sta

Julian O'Shea on his debut MICF show and why he’s charging some people $150 for tickets

Julian O'Shea on his debut MICF show and why he’s charging some people $150 for tickets

If you live in Melbourne and you have an internet connection, chances are you’ve encountered one of Julian O’Shea’s viral TikToks, which tend to take deep dives into things we’ve all seen, but probably don’t understand. On the day of our chat, he was working on one about the grooves in escalators, and to be honest, we never realised we didn’t know what they were for.  As a university lecturer with a background in design and engineering, O’Shea is brilliant at getting into the nitty gritty of how our fine city actually works. Now, he’s bringing his online content IRL by turning his hand to comedy. We chatted about his upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, his favourite (and least favourite) things about the city and his rather unusual ticket pricing model. How would you describe what you do? I make videos about design, cities and the way the world works, with a big focus on my home city of Melbourne. I’ve got a thing that most people have, where they’re just curious about something. The difference is, that I often take that extra step to go and find out. Once you know a fact, you feel like you should tell it. So, I try to explain things that people can see, but might not understand.  What’s your favourite thing about Melbourne? I love the fact that there are so many interesting arts and cultural events on all the time. I love the Comedy Festival! It’s a month of the best time of the year. Then Fringe rolls around and it’s another month. I love that every day o

Listings and reviews (149)

Now or Never

Now or Never

What better place to throw a party than the palatial Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens? Last August, Now or Never, the brand-new festival of art, music, technology and ideas transformed the building into one heck of a soiree spot. Last year’s Now or Never line-up included club nights, arty talks and a 1.2-kilometre larger-than-life art trail in Docklands. Big names both local and international were involved in the festival, including German house and techno producer Âme, plus CC:Disco! and the folks behind internationally acclaimed design festival Semi Permanent.  Now, news has just broken that this hot new festival is returning to warm up the city for another year. Now or Never will be back from August 22-31 this year with a fresh new theme. In a quest to unlock the doors of our imaginations, the festival will have a theme of ‘Look Through the Image’. Festival organisers have hinted at a “dispersed festival footprint” this time around.  As for the program, that’s all we know for now. We’ll keep you posted when more details are released in late May. Learn more about Now or Never at the festival website. Love live music? Check out the best gigs happening in Melbourne this month.

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

If you’re a country music fan, you’re almost guaranteed to be familiar with Chris Stapleton. For those of you who are less familiar, let us assure you that Stapleton is a certified big name on the scene. He’s collaborated with Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, not to mention his work with none other than Taylor Swift for the re-recorded version of her song ‘I Bet You Think About Me’.  The Kentucky-born star has won ten Grammys, 15 Country Music Association awards and 10 Academy of Country Music awards – placing him amongst the most celebrated musicians in the United States. Now, Chris Stapleton has announced that he’s finally touring Australia and New Zealand for the first time ever in early 2025.  When is Chris Stapleton in Sydney? The legendary country muso will close out his tour Down Under by playing at the Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday, March 4, 2025. So far, Stapleton has only announced a single show in the Emerald City, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any additional dates. His Sydney show is Stapleton’s last stop on the Aussie leg of his tour, which will also see him perform in Melbourne and Brisbane on February 25 and February 28, respectively.  How can I get tickets to the Sydney Chris Stapleton shows and how much do they cost? The Live Nation presale starts at 11am today (Thursday, April 11) – keen country beans can register here. General sales kick off on Friday, April 12 via Ticketek, also at 11am.  What will the Chris Stapleton Sydney show be l

Lou Wall: The Bisexual's Lament

Lou Wall: The Bisexual's Lament

5 out of 5 stars

Last year was a bloody great one for award-winning comedian, writer and composer Lou Wall. They received a prestigious Moosehead Award, their Melbourne International Comedy Festival show was well-received, and they scored a sweet TV gig on the ABC. The only problem is their personal life went to shit in pretty much every way imaginable (yes, we really mean that).  If you’re thinking the title of Wall’s latest show, The Bisexual’s Lament, is starting to look quite literal, you’d be exactly right. This show is the definition of making some (distinctly horrific) lemons into lemonade, and that lemonade tastes quirky, acidic in its anarchy and just a little sweet.  Always equal parts chaotic queer and comedic powerhouse, Wall first takes a ride on an audience member’s scooter, before lamenting the burden of being the first comedian ever to go through a breakup. They then launch into a list of things that made them laugh during a “c**t of a year”. An early 2000s-style PowerPoint, rapid-fire anecdotes and intermittent singing ensues, as Wall puts all their faith in the old adage ‘tragedy plus time equals comedy’ and comes out swinging.  Slideshow comedy seems to be especially popular at this year’s festival, but we can confidently assert that no one does it quite like Wall, who is a true master. This is no dull presentation, but rather a mile-a-minute lesson in multimedia storytelling, with memes and selfies zipping by faster than you could swipe your TikTok feed.  From the nightmar

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

If you’re a country music fan, you’re almost guaranteed to be familiar with Chris Stapleton. For those of you who are less familiar, let us assure you that Stapleton is a certified big name on the scene. He’s collaborated with Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, not to mention his work with Taylor Swift for the re-recorded version of her song ‘I Bet You Think About Me’.  The Kentucky-born star has won ten Grammys, 15 Country Music Association awards and 10 Academy of Country Music awards – placing him amongst the most celebrated musicians in the United States. Now, Chris Stapleton has announced that he’s finally touring Australia and New Zealand for the first time ever in early 2025.  When is Chris Stapleton in Melbourne? The legendary country muso will start his tour Down Under by playing at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday, February 25 2025. So far, Stapleton has only announced a single show in Melbourne, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any additional dates. After his Melbourne show, he’ll also pop into Brisbane and Sydney on February 28 and March 4, respectively.  How can I get tickets to the Melbourne Chris Stapleton shows and how much do they cost? The Live Nation presale starts at 11am on Thursday, April 11 – keen country beans can register here. General sales kick off on Friday, April 12 via Ticketek, also at 11am.  What will the Chris Stapleton Melbourne show be like? We’re expecting Chris Stapleton’s Melbourne show to be like a massive campfire sing alon

Melanie Bracewell: Attack of the Melanie Bracewell

Melanie Bracewell: Attack of the Melanie Bracewell

4 out of 5 stars

If 2023 was the year of the girlies (think the Women’s World Cup and the Barbie movie), 2024 is the year women embrace our feminine rage. Kiwi comedian, TV host and everyone’s favourite Jacinda Ardern impersonator Melanie Bracewell is on board with this thesis, telling us she’s determined to learn how to unleash her anger. Aussies are more agro than New Zealanders, she tells us, but apparently Adelaide residents are angrier than Melburnians. It might just be a line to butter up the crowd, but it works a treat, getting us immediately onside.  Bracewell teaches us that learning to let out your rage can take many forms, from joining a social netball team, to questioning a front row punter’s choice to leave their drink on the Max Watt’s stage. She builds layer upon layer of smart quips, woven between silly stories rich with wordplay.  The show attacks an impressive number of varied topics, but the uniting thread running through it all is the winding tale of the time Bracewell lost her airpods. She manages to whip what could have been a pedestrian topic into a recurring plotline worthy of the most dramatic soap opera, thanks to modern technology (aka the Find My iPhone app) and a hefty dose of tenacity. We won’t spoil the outcome here, but rest assured you’ll be heavily invested. Melanie Bracewell is a smooth comedic operator, mixing finely tuned punchlines and callbacks with off-the-cuff audience interactions with ease. The subject matter she explores in Attack of the Melanie Bra

Africa Fashion

Africa Fashion

The largest-ever exhibition of fashion from the African continent to hit Australia is setting up shop at the National Gallery of Victoria at the end of May. Africa Fashion is an exhibition from London’s top-notch Victoria & Albert Museum, showcasing almost 200 works created by more than 50 designers, from more than 20 countries.  Expect to be dazzled by the depth and breadth of this collection of couture, body adornments, ready-to-wear fashions and behind-the-scenes materials like photography and film. Africa Fashion is part historical survey and part contemporary showcase, featuring visually arresting garments from icons of twentieth century African fashion (including Kofi Ansah, Chris Seydou and Shade Thomas-Fahm) and contemporary designers alike (including Thebe Magugu, Moshions and  Imane Ayissi. The exhibition starts with a focus on the African independence movement, highlighting the importance of fashion as part of the cultural renaissance seen in the ‘50s and ‘60s, where self-representation and agency were key. Next, Africa Fashion turns the spotlight to the contemporary work of cutting-edge creatives and Africa’s present day dynamic fashion culture. The NGV has also published a public call out to Australia’s African diaspora, seeking family photos and home movies from Africa’s independence and liberation years. These images and stories may then be used in and around the exhibition.  Africa Fashion curator Dr Christine Checinska says she’s looking forward to sharing a

Aurelia St Clair: Can I Be Mean For a Minute?

Aurelia St Clair: Can I Be Mean For a Minute?

3 out of 5 stars

If you don’t know Aurelia St Clair from their previous Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows, you’ll surely know her from her TikTok presence. St Clair specialises in biting (yet extremely accurate) critiques of Melbourne’s ‘hip’ inner north and all its quirks.  After her 2023 show Non-Dairy Presenting explored what qualities spiritually align you with either moo juice or plant milk drinkers, skewering suburban stereotypes in the process, this year’s show is all about St Clair’s mean girl origin story. “Are you ready to be mean for a minute?”, they ask, and the audience surely is. What follows is a series of games for the crowd, musings on meanness and even a song on ukulele bouncing through the Chinese Museum’s Silk Room. St Clair asks us to play the ‘put a finger down’ challenge (a game that’s become a staple on TikTok, for those unfamiliar) to help us figure out whether or not we’re mean. From the looks of it, most of us are, at least a little.  Can I Be Mean For a Minute? digs into everything from St Clair’s experience growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness church (door-knocking is like exposure therapy for rejection, which sounds like solid preparation for stand-up), to being ‘gay married’ and non-binary.  A bit about the gender wage gap is especially on point – work is mean – as is the picture they paint of their ideal first date. A spirited game of ‘Am I the asshole?’ had one audience member fired up, which was handled with grace by St Clair. St Clair’s set is ent

Holy Holy

Holy Holy

Since they formed back in 2011, Holy Holy has been known and adored for their guitar-driven indie rock sound, with elements of folk mixed in for good measure. The pair met as teenagers while volunteering in Thailand and the rest, as they say, is history. Four successful studio albums, plenty of spots in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and two ARIA nominations later, the Aussie duo have decided to take things in a distinctly different direction. Singer Timothy Carroll and guitarist Oscar Dawson (who also produces) have ditched their well-known indie sounds and expanded into dancefloor anthems with their latest album Cellophane, which was released in September 2023. Longtime listeners rocking up to the Cellophane Tour might find it all a bit of a shock to the system, but that’s exactly what the band intends.  So, slip on your dancing shoes and maybe even some earplugs, because Holy Holy is bringing their fresh electro sounds to Forum Melbourne on Friday, April 26. Gumbaynggirr rapper and singer-songwriter Tasman Keith will warm up the crowd as the support act on the night. He featured on the track ‘This Time’ on Cellophane, so we can also likely expect an appearance from Keith during Holy Holy’s set.  Find out more details and nab some tickets over here. One gig not enough? Here are the best ones happening in Melbourne this month. 

The Almighty Sometimes

The Almighty Sometimes

There comes a time in every mother and daughter’s life when the mother must learn to let go a little as the daughter begins her journey toward adulthood. No matter how close the connection is, this stage of life is almost always emotionally fraught. Add in mental illness as a complicating factor and things are sure to become even more complex. This is precisely the territory explored in The Almighty Sometimes, the latest play presented by Melbourne Theatre Company. The multi-award-winning play by Kendall Feaver paints a portrait of the close connection between a mother, Renee (played by Nadine Garner of ABC’s Savage River), and a daughter, Anna (Max McKenna, who previously starred as the lead in Muriel’s Wedding The Musical). Alongside Louisa Mignone and Karl Richmond, they’ll explore a narrative that’s said to echo dinner table conversations around mental health happening all around Australia.  The new production of the acclaimed play, directed by Hannah Goodwin, promises to bring nuance to the sensitive issues of mental illness, medication and growing into adulthood. Melbourne Theatre Company artistic director and co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks says The Almighty Sometimes will “provoke conversations and challenge perceptions”. “Kendall Feaver has created four deeply nuanced characters with razor-sharp wit,” she says.  Catch The Almighty Sometimes at the Sumner at Southbank Theatre from April 15 until May 18. Tickets are available here. Hungry for more theatre? Here are the best

Melbourne Design Week

Melbourne Design Week

The eighth edition of Melbourne Design Week will bring 11 days of exhibitions, talks and events to the city in late autumn and early winter. More than 300 inventive exhibitions will be presented during the festival, cementing its status as Australia’s largest annual design event. Each year brings a new theme for Melbourne Design Week and this year’s is ‘Design the world you want’. The theme is designed to encourage exhibitors and audience members alike to ruminate on the role of ecology, energy and ethics in combating complex global challenges.  Highlights of the program include a keynote speech from Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo, who will speak to her socially responsive urbanism, and a symposium exploring radical speculative designs for the Birrarung (Yarra River). The Melbourne Art Book Fair will also be celebrating its 10th year, and will run its popular stallholder fair in the NGV’s Great Hall during the first weekend of the festival.  Melbourne Design Week is presented by Creative Victoria and delivered by the NGV. You can view the full festival program and book tickets here. Inspired by the book fair? Check out the best independent bookstores in Melbourne.

Ali Wong

Ali Wong

In case you missed it, last year was a big one for Ali Wong. The Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian shot even further into prominence when the dark comedy Beef was released in April 2023 to widespread acclaim, and she’s only continued to fly since then.Wong spent the rest of the year taking her stand-up show Ali Wong: Live all around the United States to rave reviews. Now, some of us Sydneysiders will soon be lucky enough to see her in real life. That’s right: on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20, Ali Wong will be right here in the Emerald City – performing her trademark brand of stand-up at the International Convention Centre (ICC). Initially, just the one date was announced – but the appetite from Sydneysiders encouraged the comedian to add an extra Sydney show to her tour. Wong is arriving in the Harbour City following a three-night stint in Melbourne, and will head up the coast to Brisbane after her Sydney shows. Tickets start from $149 and range up to $339 – check out what’s available here. In the meantime, study up by watching one of Wong’s three Netflix specials, the first of which came out back in 2016. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, travel inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. RECOMMENDED READS:Keen for a laugh? These are the best places to see comedy in Sydney Meet the cast of Sydney's exclusive return season of Hamilton Check out the best shows to see on Sydney's stages this month  

Ali Wong

Ali Wong

Last year was a huge one for Ali Wong. The Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian shot even further into prominence when the dark comedy Beef was released in April 2023 to widespread acclaim, and she’s only continued to fly since then. Wong spent the rest of the year taking her stand-up show Ali Wong: Live all around the United States to rave reviews. Now, some of us Melburnians will soon be lucky enough to see her in real life. That’s right: on July 11, 12 and 14, Ali Wong will be in our city, performing her trademark brand of stand-up at the Palais Theatre. Originally only one show was planned, but Melburnians have been champing at the bit to see her so much that the dates have tripled. After her stint in Melbourne, Wong will continue her tour up through Sydney and Brisbane.  Tickets start from $102 and range up to $274 – check out what’s available here. In the meantime, study up by watching one of Wong’s three Netflix specials, the first of which came out back in 2016. After more rib-splitting laughs? Check out who's performing at the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

News (19)

Score! Melbourne has been crowned the third best city for street art in the world

Score! Melbourne has been crowned the third best city for street art in the world

It’s no secret that Melbourne is known for its flourishing street art scene. The city’s unofficial outdoor galleries are always evolving, from kaleidoscopic laneways in the centre of town to countless hidden nooks and crannies throughout the suburbs. Hotspots like AC/DC Lane, Rankins Lane and the beloved Everfresh Fitzroy mural have long been providing the perfect Instagram photo backdrop for Melbourne’s tourists (and let's be honest, for lots of locals, too). Now, all the creativity of Melbourne's street art history has been quantified, with a new study from Betway officially naming Melbourne as the third best city for street art in the world. The study analysed 132 cities from around the globe based on multiple metrics, including the number of murals, social media data, online engagement and search traffic. We always knew Melbourne’s street art scene was top-notch, but we’re pretty stoked that we’ve trumped some famously arty European cities including Berlin (fourth place) and Amsterdam (seventh place). Perhaps most importantly, we came in waaaaaaay above Sydney, who barely edged into the global top ten down in eighth place. Photograph: Bianca O'Neill So, which cities beat us? According to the study, Paris is the top city for street art in the world, with London taking out second place. With such illustriously arty cities coming first and second, we really can’t complain about coming in third.  While we ranked third in the overall global rankings, we also managed to secur

This spectacular Australian island beat Tuscany in the rankings of the world's best places to visit in 2024

This spectacular Australian island beat Tuscany in the rankings of the world's best places to visit in 2024

Longing for a tropical island getaway but feeling the pinch of those overseas flights? Well, keep dreaming, because the (second best) travel gurus have ranked one of Australia’s very own pieces of island paradise as a must-visit destination in 2024. In the lead-up to the new year, global travel guide Lonely Planet released its Best in Travel rankings for 2024, and Kangaroo Island (Karta Pintingga) in South Australia made the number two spot for must-visit regions. As Australia’s third largest island, this sequestered treasure of a holiday spot boasts an abundance of native wildlife (yes, including a bunch of kangaroos), as well as a staggering length of scenic coastline. The shores of Kangaroo Island stretch more than 540km, and the island itself is six times larger than Singapore, yet has a tiny population of about 4,800. Lonely Planet cited Kangaroo Island’s “otherworldliness”, “unique local produce” and “adorable wildlife” as key drawcards, alongside a “ridiculous amount of stunning coastline”.  Photograph: Rebecca Walsh | Unsplash | Kangaroo Island Despite its remote feel, the island is actually pretty easy to reach, sitting 112km southwest of Adelaide and 13km off the closest inland shoreline. You can fly to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide in just 30 to 40 minutes, or hop on the ferry from Cape Jervis and you’ll be in paradise in just 45 minutes. Once you’re there, you can enjoy the local food and wine scene, the natural wonders galore, and the adrenaline-pumping activit

JUST IN: Rising has announced an impressive line-up featuring more than 100 events

JUST IN: Rising has announced an impressive line-up featuring more than 100 events

Rising returns to warm Melburnians’ spirits this winter from June 1-16, and this year’s sizzling line-up has just been announced. A chill tends to settle over our city in June, but thankfully Melbourne’s flagship arts and culture festival has cooked up 105 events to help heat things up. Get ready to revel in a plethora of wintry festivities across sixteen nights and three weekends, as Rising bathes our landmarks and labyrinthine laneways in a new light.  More than 480 artists from Australia and the world will converge on the city to present 32 new commissions, eight Australian premieres and six world premieres. A mix of free and ticketed events spanning contemporary music, dance, theatre and art will stretch down the spine of Swanston Street and beyond, well into the night. Spend an evening (or two, or many) wandering between large-scale installations, micro-bars and pop-up events around Birrarung Marr and the CBD.  This year, the festival’s action-packed Night Trade hub will sprawl through the laneways around the Capitol Theatre to Howey Place, featuring interactive art, dumplings, dance and more. Down the road, Fed Square will play host to The Blak Infinite, a vibrant free program of First People’s art and politics. Kimberley Moulton (the curator behind last year’s Shadow Spirit installation) has curated the expansive exhibition, anchored by EMBASSY, Richard Bell’s installation inspired by the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy pitched in Canberra in 1972. Immersive projectio

Our seven favourite quirky moments from this year’s Mona Foma

Our seven favourite quirky moments from this year’s Mona Foma

Mona Foma, the annual festival of summer hijinks from Hobart’s provocative Museum of Old and New Art, has once again brought a smorgasbord of shenanigans to the tail end of the Tasmanian summer. The festival’s sixteenth edition took place over three luscious weekends across nipaluna/Hobart and Launceston, bringing together more than 500 performers from around the world. We were lucky enough to pop over to Hobart for weekend two and there was so much to see. Here’s a roundup of our favourite moments.  The Hyperbolic Psychedelic Mind Melting Tunnel of Light If the name felt a little dramatic before entering this one-person-only laser tunnel, it seemed perfectly accurate after my allotted three minutes were up. Audiovisual artist Robin Fox has created a splendid sensory overload of light and sound, controlled by the viewer via a simple joystick. Three minutes ought to feel like an age alone in a tunnel of light, but it was over in a flash (or more accurately, thousands of them). Mogwai Relaxing on the Mona lawns each evening to take in performances from illustrious international acts is a Mona Foma must-do. Scottish post-rock legends Mogwai were a highlight of these Mona Sessions, making it easy to lose track of time on the rolling lawns. A rapt fascination spread across the crowd in response to the band’s thunderous sonic journey, enhanced by a stellar light show. Photograph: Mona/Jesse Hunniford Faux Mo After a good Mona Session, it would be rude not to head straight to the

We went to Fred again..’s Melbourne show to see if it was worth the hype… here’s our verdict

We went to Fred again..’s Melbourne show to see if it was worth the hype… here’s our verdict

He’s the London-born classical composer, turned producer to the stars, turned global dance music juggernaut, famed for his boisterous surprise shows. Whether you know Fred again.. from his audio diary-esque dance tracks recorded during lockdown, or the fact that he dropped into Revs for a casual 9am surprise set last Sunday, it’s safe to say that at this point he’s taken Australia by storm. We’re sure you’re curious about what went down at the first full stadium show of his surprise Aussie tour, so we stayed out past our bedtime on a Monday night to provide the goods. Consider yourself warned – there are spoilers up ahead. What were the best moments of Fred again..’s Melbourne show? Ranking these would be impossible, so here they are in no particular order: When Fred calmly walked through the middle of the crowd to get to a stage in the centre and everyone was cool about it. Every singalong of the night, including a tribute to Aussie legend Angie McMahon and the two sides of the stadium serenading each other with the help of Henry from Joy (Anonymous).  When Fred showed that video of the girl dancing at his recent Timber Yard gig on the big screen – if you know, you know. The roof lowering down over Fred during his stint in the middle of the stadium. When the dramatic lighting made us feel like we were in church. Seeing hundreds and hundreds of people hug their friends to the lyrics “put your loving arms around me”. When the screens on the ceiling started showing live footag

We went to Fred again..’s Melbourne show to see if it was worth the hype… here’s our verdict

We went to Fred again..’s Melbourne show to see if it was worth the hype… here’s our verdict

In case you missed it, Fred again.. is back on Aussie soil. He’s the London-born classical composer, turned producer to the stars, turned global dance music juggernaut famed for his boisterous surprise shows. Whether you know Fred again.. from his audio diary-esque dance tracks recorded during lockdown, or the fact that he dropped into Club 77 for a casual 8.30pm surprise set last Thursday, February 29, it’s safe to say that at this point he’s taken Australia by storm. And though our Sydney team (along with a million other Sydneysiders) missed out on making it to the pop-up shows he played while he was in the Emerald City, we’re lucky enough to have feet on the ground down in Melbourne. Ashleigh Hastings, Arts and Culture Editor at Time Out Melbourne, stayed up past her bedtime on Monday night to shine a little light on what to expect at a Fred Again.. arena show. Consider yourself warned – there are spoilers ahead. What were the best moments of Fred again..’s Melbourne show? Ranking these would be impossible, so here they are in no particular order: When Fred calmly walked through the middle of the crowd to get to a stage in the centre and everyone was cool about it. Every singalong of the night, including a tribute to Aussie legend Angie McMahon and the two sides of the stadium serenading each other with the help of Henry from Joy (Anonymous).  When Fred showed that video of the girl dancing at his recent Timber Yard gig on the big screen – if you know, you know. The roof

Is Fred again.. about to play a surprise show in Sydney?

Is Fred again.. about to play a surprise show in Sydney?

UPDATE, FEB 28: Find out more about Fred again..'s March shows at Qudos Bank Arena over here. UPDATE, FEB 27, 10.30AM: Fred again.. has announced he will play a surprise set at the Sydney Opera House tonight – that's Tuesday, February 27. After days of cryptic clues, he posted to Instagram this morning announcing that he has not only touched down in Australia, but that he will be playing at the country's most iconic performing arts venue on this very evening! Tickets are now on sale via the Sydney Opera House website over here. These hot tickets are guaranteed to sell out in a hurry, so don't dawdle! FROM EARLIER: If you’re any kind of electronic music lover, you'll know that Fred again... is a fan of a secret show. The wildly famous English producer toured Australia as part of Laneway Festival in early 2023, quickly decided his sideshows weren’t enough, and wreaked havoc by announcing a last-minute secret show. A year later, rumours are rife that the producer, known for his hit dance tracks including ‘Jungle’ and ‘Marea (we’ve lost dancing)’, is on his way Down Under for a series of as-yet unannounced shows. Personally, we’re locating our earplugs and laying out our comfiest dancing shoes just in case, because if the theories swirling around the internet are to be believed, Fred again.. could be playing in Sydney as soon as this week. To be clear, nothing official has come to light just yet, but Fred has definitely been hinting at something over on his Instagram. First, he p

Is Fred again.. about to play a surprise show in Melbourne?

Is Fred again.. about to play a surprise show in Melbourne?

Update Wednesday, February 28: It's finally happened! Fred again.. has just announced three Melbourne shows at Rod Laver Arena next week. This news comes after days of hints and a surprise show at Sydney Opera House. Keep reading for all the details. When is Fred again.. playing in Melbourne? Fred again.. is playing in Melbourne on Monday-Wednesday March 4-6. The rumours were true: all three shows are taking place at Rod Laver Arena. Old mate Fred is also playing shows on the Gold Coast and in Sydney. How can I get tickets to the Melbourne Fred Again.. shows and how much do they cost? Tickets to Fred again..'s Melbourne shows will go on sale at 9am tomorrow (February 29) via Ticketek, with a limit of four tickets per person. Here's that all important link. As for how much they cost, these bad boys ain't cheap. Tickets come in at $180. What will the Fred again.. Melbourne shows be like? Details are thin on the ground so far, but we do know that the shows are being billed to start at 7.30pm. If they're anything like his previous shows, you can expect a high-energy affair. Speculation about supporting acts is rife and so far our money is on Joy (Anonymous).  From earlier:   If you’re any kind of electronic music lover, you likely know the story of Fred again..’s first-ever tour to Melbourne. The wildly famous English producer toured Australia as part of Laneway Festival in February 2023, quickly decided his sideshows weren’t enough, and wreaked havoc by announcing a last-minute

Taylor Swift in Sydney: Eras Tour tickets, times, set list & everything you need to know

Taylor Swift in Sydney: Eras Tour tickets, times, set list & everything you need to know

Taylor Swift is in Sydney. She arrived during Monday's huge thunder storm that caused havoc around Sydney – and ever since, she's been causing a Taylor storm, stepping out at restaurants and the zoo – and yesterday, just a day before her first Sydney show, she's released MORE additional tickets.  It looks like those of us who have tickets are in for a real treat when she hits the stage at Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park for four nights this week, from Friday, February 23 to Monday, February 26. Time Out Melbourne Editor Leah Glynn was at one of her Melbourne shows, and says, "Believe the hype, folks. Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is everything you are hoping it to be: magical, emotional, spectacular, transformative. It's three-and-a-half hours of pure musical joy, best enjoyed with 96,000 of your closest friends (the stadium atmosphere at the MCG was unlike anything I've ever experienced before). I laughed, I cried, I sang and danced my little heart out – and I'd do it all again if anyone has a spare ticket. All hail, Queen Taylor."  If you were lucky enough to nab a ticket, here's everything you need to know about her Sydney shows...  When is Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in Sydney? Tay Tay will take to the stage at Accor Stadium (after hitting Melbourne up for three shows) for her first Sydney Eras Tour concert on Friday, February 23. She will also perform on Saturday 24, Sunday 25 and Monday 26 before heading to Singapore to sing her heart out for a whole SIX shows. (Here’s whe

How to buy official Taylor Swift merch in Sydney for her Eras Tour

How to buy official Taylor Swift merch in Sydney for her Eras Tour

Taylor fever has hit Sydney in a big way in the lead up to our city's leg of the Eras Tour. She's reportedly staying in this villa. She's been spotted eating out at our favourite Italian restaurant. And the city has been taken over with Taylor Swift-related events and specials. If you’re anything like us, the final countdown to Swift’s four massive shows at Accor Stadium has probably got you thinking about everything you need to know ahead of and for the Taylor Swift concert days. But here's our guide to merch...  When is Taylor Swift playing the Sydney leg of her Eras Tour? ICYMI (i.e. living under a rock), the Sydney leg of the Eras Tour is happening for four nights from February 23-26, 2024. Hopefully by this point we’ve all got our rhinestone outfits sorted and gathered some friendship bracelet-making supplies – but what about that coveted Eras Tour merch? Where to buy official Taylor Swift merch in Sydney? Tay Tay is known for her quirky and prolific merch offerings, from cardigans to coffee cups. But the popularity of her merch also means that getting your hands on the goods can be a whole mission of its own. So, what’s the secret when it comes to buying official Taylor Swift merchandise in Sydney? Accor Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park held two merch pre-sale days in Sydney (on Wednesday, February 21 and Thursday, February 22), but they're done and dusted now.  Now what you can do is get your merch early on the day of your concert. If you're wondering about concert timi

How to buy official Taylor Swift merchandise ahead of her Eras Tour in Melbourne

How to buy official Taylor Swift merchandise ahead of her Eras Tour in Melbourne

It’s official: Swiftogeddon has well and truly hit Melbourne on the first day of the Melbourne leg of the Eras Tour. If you’re anything like us, the final countdown to Swift’s three massive shows at the MCG has probably got you thinking about the nitty gritty practicalities of concert day.  When is Taylor Swift playing the Melbourne leg of her Eras Tour? ICYMI, the Melbourne leg of the Eras Tour is happening for three nights from February 16-18, 2024. Hopefully by this point (the day of show one) we’ve all got our rhinestone outfits sorted and gathered some friendship bracelet-making supplies – but what about that coveted merch? Where to buy official Taylor Swift merchandise in Melbourne Tay Tay is known for her quirky and prolific merch offerings, from cardigans to coffee cups. But the popularity of her merch also means that getting your hands on the goods can be a whole mission of its own. So, what’s the secret when it comes to buying official Taylor Swift merchandise in Melbourne? The Eras Tour crew have kindly set up three different options to help Swifites secure their merch in an orderly fashion, and the details have now been revealed. Crown hosted an official merchandise pop-up on Tuesday, February 13. Eager fans were able to make a reservation to buy merch ahead of the concert days, between 9am and 6pm at Crown Melbourne. Everyone attending the pop-up needed a booking for a specific time, and a maximum of two people could attend each booking.  How much Taylor Swift me

Taylor Swift at the MCG: Eras Tour timings, set list and everything you need to know

Taylor Swift at the MCG: Eras Tour timings, set list and everything you need to know

We’ve counted days, we’ve counted miles, and now many months later, Taylor Swift is playing her first show in Melbourne today. The Eras Tour is such a big deal that transport authorities have even extended the free tram zone, just to help fans get to the stadium. Ms Swift flew into Melbourne at 1am on Thursday morning and the final touches are being made to the MCG setup as we speak, so it’s time for those of us lucky enough to have nabbed tickets to plan the details of our long night out at the stadium. When is Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in Melbourne? Tay Tay will take to the stage at the MCG for her first Eras Tour concert tonight. She will also perform on February 17 and 18 before heading to Sydney for four shows at Accor Stadium. What time will Taylor Swift come on stage? All gates to the MCG will open at 4.30pm, in case you’re reaaaaally keen to get in early to secure some merch. However, every single seat at the Melbourne nights of the Eras Tour is assigned, which means there’s no point rocking up super early to get a spot in the non-existent mosh. Besides, there are several ways to buy Eras Tour merch before the shows. The music will kick off at 6.20pm with pop princess Sabrina Carpenter as the opening act. We can’t be 100 per cent sure exactly what time Taylor will come on stage, but all signs point to around 7.30pm or 8pm at the latest. What can I bring to Taylor Swift Melbourne? There are specific rules for what you can and can’t bring to the Eras Tour in Melbourne.