Progress Festival 2023 to explore the vital role that creative expression and ideas play in connectivity

assets uploads 183 1688340417925 1688340417925
assets uploads 183 1688340417925 1688340417925

Monash University Performing Arts Centres: 29th August – 2 September

Monash University Performing Arts Centres (MPAC) is thrilled to announce the return of Progress Festival, a biennial festival of ideas and performance which will delve into the theme of connectivity, examining the benefits and challenges of living in a highly connected world.

Progress Festival is a public event that fosters dialogue among artists, thinkers, researchers, and academics. Utilising the resources and great minds of Monash University it explores the trajectory of society, our species, and the planet. The festival’s theme this year is connectivity, examining its impact on us in so many ways. Through the natural world where our interconnected world shapes landscapes, climate and organisms, and  via technology where interactivity is a blessing and a curse. Remote access, easy collaboration and transformative educational opportunities have changed our lives for the better, but corporate surveillance, financial contagion and social media polarisation are real threats.

Raki opens the festival with a particular focus on First Nations’ approaches to connectivity, where the idea of interconnected nature, life and spirit offer new paradigms. Many western thinkers, artists and institutions are increasingly seeing these paradigms as offering potential solutions to some of the problems that arise from our interconnected world.

MPAC’s premier venues, including the Robert Blackwood Hall and The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, will host a range of events during the five-day long festival. The festival will also feature a hybrid format, combining live and virtual performances to accommodate a wider audience, and interactive experiences for those who want to connect themselves.

‘This year’s Progress Festival, produced by Monash University Performing Arts Centres, is all about connectivity. We live in an increasingly interconnected world, with data transmission at warp speed and notions of private space and individuation under attack. This interconnectivity is technology driven, but awareness of interconnectedness is an ancient wisdom, understood by our First Nations peoples for millennia. We will explore the old and the new, and the way they connect, in a week of performance and discussion, not to be missed.’ – Paul Grabowsky AO, Executive Director, MPAC.

Highlights of the Progress Festival 2023 include:

Raki (pictured left)

August 29, Alexander Theatre

Raki, meaning ‘bush string/law,’ is a captivating cycle of songs performed by Daniel Wilfred, a Yolŋu man and song keeper from Ngukurr. Collaborating with the Australian Art Orchestra, Daniel shares these rarely heard songs in the Wagiläk language, deeply tied to his town’s history. The special opening night performance also features Paul Grabowsky and Peter Knight.


August 31, Online

Award-winning comedian Lawrence Leung presents an immersive and hilarious show, combining stunts, experiments, and mind tricks. This interactive online performance promises to captivate audiences of all ages and locations with this live-streamed segment from London.

Bell Curve

August 31 – September 1, David Li Sound Gallery

Bell Curve is a profound spatial performance by Speak Percussion’s Artistic Director Eugene Ughetti. The composition features twelve independent bell ringers, exploring rhythm, pitch, and resonance, revealing the pristine beauty of Victoria’s Federation Handbells. The performance is enhanced by a dynamically changing acoustic space created with the Meyer sound system in the David Li Sound Gallery.

Invenio Singers

September 1, David Li Sound Gallery

Invenio Singers, renowned sound designer Jethro Woodward, and composer Gian Slater present Spiral Now, an innovative and immersive performance utilizing the state-of-the-art constellation sound system in the David Li Sound Gallery. This premiere performance will be innovative, immersive, and intimate and examines the cycles of nostalgia triggered by our senses.

The End of Winter (pictured top right)

September 2, Alexander Theatre

The End of Winter is a poignant one-woman show exploring the potential disappearance of winter due to climate change. Set in a hot, bushfire-prone Australia, the performance reflects on the warming and shortening of winters. Through a combination of public transport and the power of the human mind, the show invites audiences to contemplate the potential loss of winter, relegating it to the realm of fairy tales, paintings, and historical records.

Further program details are listed below.

Progress Festival

29 August – 2 September

Monash University Performing Arts Centres



The Blue Trees

15 August – 2 September, outdoor art installation


with opening night ceremony and dinner

29 August

Slow Art Collective 

29 August-2 September, IPCPA foyer art installation


30 August, The Counts

Allplay: Connecting Dancers through Inclusive Teaching Practice (talk/workshop)

30 August, David Li Sound Gallery

Slow Art: Real Life Connection (talk)

30 August, David Li Sound Gallery


31 August, online

Antarctica: Purposeful Connections with the World’s Loneliest Continent (talk)

31 August, Alexander Theatre

Bell Curve 

31 August – 1 September, David Li Sound Gallery

Progress Links: Theatremaker + Researcher Collabs (talk)

1 September, The Counts


1 September, Alexander Theatre

Invenio Singers 

1 September, David Li Sound Gallery

The End of Winter 

2 September, Alexander Theatre

Sing a Song of Sixpence

2 September, The Count’s

Find out more at


Monash University Performing Arts Centres (MPAC) is the public performing arts and cultural arm of Monash University. MPAC venues are vital to the cultural life of the University, and act as a window to Melbourne’s southeast community, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors to the university each year. MPAC seeks to connect, challenge and excite its audiences through the commissioning of unique works, along with curating a program that brings the best of local, national and international performing artists to its stages. MPAC is home to five venues, located at the Monash University Clayton and Peninsula campuses; the 561-seat Alexander Theatre, 130-seat David Li Sound Gallery, 150-seat jazz club The Count’s; with weekly gigs and restaurant & bar, plus the 1,598-seat Robert Blackwood Hall and 426-seat George Jenkins Theatre. Find out more at

  • Oceania Luxury Travel Co Luxury Travel Australia Banner 728x90 1