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Over the long weekend, the quietest corner of the city lit up with a festival celebrating the contemporary Greek arts in Melbourne. With millennia of history and culture, it is perhaps easy to forget that Greece has always been and still remains a hub of creativity, particularly within the arts, crafts, and theatre.
The Summer Arts Long Weekend, held by the Hellenic Museum, brought these arts together in a program of Melbourne and Sydney based artists and performers, who showcased some of the talent sweeping two of the country’s largest cities. Saturday evening saw a comedy night with Sydney based improv duo, The Bear Pack, followed by local legend George Kapiniaris. There was Melisma Ensemble, who with near perfect acoustics performed humbling Byzantine chant in the main gallery. On Sunday there were exhibition openings: Transformation as part of International Women’s Day, as well as an installation by artist Michelle Mantsio and new works by George Raftopoulos in the upstairs galleries. The main headline was the play Socrates Now, which saw crowds of up to 300 filling the garden courtyard of the museum to view the one man play with New York based actor Yannis Simonides in Socrates’ final hurrah.
Children of all ages were also treated to music, magic and hands-on craft workshops that challenged and entertained.
The Summer Arts program, which included the extremely popular outdoor cinema screenings, is the first in a series of initiatives that foster the arts, and with the renowned Benaki Museum collection from Athens arriving mid-year and displaying some of the world’s finest treasures and antiquities, watch this space!