2017 is an exciting year of change and growth for MAPA. As each week passes, we see the Alexander Theatre, our iconic Modernist performance space built in 1967, undergoing its transformation into the most technologically advanced proscenium arch theatre in Australia – and the most versatile. Building on the original principles as outlined at its opening when the Clayton Campus lay on Melbourne’s eastern fringe, this is a theatre of versatility and attention to detail; it is intended to be at the service of all of its communities, both within the campus, and to the many stakeholder groups that make up the dynamically changing south-east of greater Melbourne.
For we now find ourselves at the centre of a diverse, aspirational modern city, and our new theatre is designed to reflect that. Featuring Meyer Sound’s Constellation system, the Alex will have a fully programmable acoustic, taking the listener seamlessly into whatever sonic environment is required, whether for spoken word theatre, acoustic chamber music, or contemporary dance music. With the latest in lighting and theatre technology, the theatre will launch in 2018 as the centrepiece of the new Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, an ambitious initiative by a University proud of its reputation as a centre of excellence in so many fields. And this is only the beginning. 2019 will see the opening of the Centre’s additional two venues: the Sound Gallery, and Jazz Club.
Our programming reflects our commitment to diversity, excellence and inclusivity. We will welcome distinguished performer William Yang, ground-breaking theatre companies Illbijerri Theatre Company and She Said Theatre, as well as Melbourne’s premier modern dance innovators Chunky Move. Building on the success of our piano series Wood, Metal and Vibrating Air, we will present an exciting series of seven recitals by stars of the keyboard including composer Elena Kats-Chernin and Chris Abrahams, pianist with improv superstars The Necks. Join us on the stage of Robert Blackwood Hall for an unforgettable, intimate experience of music-making at its finest.
The ever-popular Monash Academy Orchestra will delight in 2017 with performances including world premieres and canonical masterpieces led by an international array of leading conductors.
If jazz is your thing, join us at our first Jazz Greats weekend, featuring James Morrison, Kate Ceberano and Joe Camilleri over two evenings of the best of the Australian scene.
Once again, I look forward to seeing you at our events, and sharing our excitement at what lies ahead.
Professor Paul Grabowsky AO