History

White Night will be staged in Bendigo on the 2 October and Geelong on the 6 November this year. Learn more about the history, our Creative Director and this year’s theme.

History

White Night (Nuit Blanche) was originally conceived in Paris in 2002 as an all-night arts festival where the public could experience art in various forms in the city. Museums and private and public art galleries opened their doors for free for the night for the public to explore. Since its inception, Nuit Blanche has inspired an international network of White Night events in more than 20 cities around the world, creating a tailored event that reflects each city’s distinct passions and characteristics.

Melbourne embraced this unique opportunity created by the State Government, to showcase its city and provide a platform for local, national and international artists to connect with audiences from Melbourne, Australia and around the world, for one night only.

 

White Night Melbourne was first staged in 2013 and was an instant success, with 300,000 people enjoying the all-night event. Since then, an average of 500,000 people have ventured into Melbourne’s CBD for one night each February to witness the city come alive in what has become one of the key cultural events on the Australian calendar. White Night Melbourne last took place in 2019 for the last time.

White Night has been held in regional Victoria in Ballarat (2017 – 2019), Bendigo (2018) and Geelong (2018). This year the event will again be staged in Bendigo and Geelong.

Creative Director - Joseph O'Farrell

Joseph O’Farrell (JOF) is a multi-art performer, producer, curator, musician and lecturer making work internationally from his home base in Melbourne. JOF creates large-scale installation and theatre works with, and for the community that celebrates our diversity and brings people together in hilarious and unlikely situations.  JOF’s work has been programmed at major art festivals across Australia, Europe and the UK. He is one of a handful of Australian contemporary artists who have been exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, and in 2019 he was commissioned for Those Who Rock, an artwork that collaborated with more than 500 amateur musicians in Hamer Hall, Melbourne.

2021 Theme

The 2021 theme is an invitation to artists and audiences to explore ideas around the relationship between the night sky, people and country:

Everything on the land is reflected in the sky 

This theme relates to first people’s knowledge of astrology and astronomy and was designed in consultation with the Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Clans Corporation. 

The 2021 program leans into the global spirit of White Night; as a vibrant celebration of a city that encourages participation through interactive and immersive art installations, active participation in performances, a democratic take-over of public and private city spaces and a truly inclusive, memorable and fun experience for all.