Hotel Esplanade unveils new Arts Program

Espy Arts Program
Espy Arts Program

The iconic Espy brings a contemporary program of live and experiential art in a classic pub setting, a true Melbourne first.

As a burgeoning cultural hub, The Espy not only offers some of this city’s best dining, bars and live music but also a diverse and progressive arts program.  From the beginning of summer, Espy Arts have been running sold out shows and experiences.

Janenne Willis, Espy Arts Director, ‘’we want to bring together everyone from the culturally curious to those who might not consider themselves to be culture lovers. Art presented in the context of a pub affords us the opportunity to do that.”

“For me, it’s about elevating important conversations of our times through progressive art in a place that has welcome written all over it. This is just the beginning of some exciting plans to add something first of its kind to Melbourne’s arts scene.’’

In February, Swell 4.0 – Music as Medicine officially launches Espy Arts. 

This is the fourth iteration of Swell and set to be sensory loaded.

Swell is a two-hour live art experience that invites the audience, to choose-their-own-adventure through multiple reimagined live music experiences and interactive installations. It’s intimate, surprising and oozes adventure. No headliners and support acts. No stage and audience set up. No hard and fast rules for what you might discover. 

A journey through a weird and wonderful world of music-meets-art encounters inside never before seen parts of this iconic live music institution. 

This run of five site-specific shows explores the possibilities of Music As Medicine.

Swell 4.0 – Music as Medicine: Wed 13 February, Sun 17 February, Wed 20 February, Wed 27 February, Sun 3 March. 

The remainder of the Espy Arts program is vibrant and diverse.

We’re All Going To Die is a festival like experience that uses death as a lens to explore the idea of ‘fear less, live more.’ Inspired by creator Stefan Hunt’s personal experience with anxiety, it has travelled to Sydney, Auckland, Los Angeles and Byron Bay. Now coming to Melbourne, the four-part experience will draw on past festival highlights then take it next level. Tues 26 – Thur 28 March.

Espy Creative Spaces

Espy Arts is opening the famous Gershwin room up each week as a creative development space for emerging artists making new works. Details about the inaugural Artist in Residence program will be released alongside the Autumn/Winter program. For space enquiries email

Espy Moves: Dance Class

Dance routines inspired by the themes and choreography from iconic music video clips.  Familiar moves made easy for everyone from beginners and beyond, in an inclusive and judgement free environment. All classes are casual with a new short dance routine taught each Tuesday by James Welsby, dancer and choreographer and Chafia Brooks, dancer and movement facilitator. 

Storytelling at its best.  For those who love a good yarn, these guided experiences let you in on the secrets of the historic Espy.  A telling of the story of arguably Victoria’s most important yet least known arts philanthropist, Alfred Felton; the Felton Story; an exploration of death and the paranormal with Ghosts of Hotel Esplanade and a free Behind the Scenes of Hotel Esplanade tour with the owners

Tickets and info for all shows and experiences at

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