Fun at the Lake Park Cottage


Belgrave Lake Park Cottage Playgroup sits within the site of the old Belgrave Auto Park. In 1946 the reservoir, as it was then, was a place to cool off with a swim on hot summer days. Today it is the home of our community playgroup which has been volunteer led since 1981, when a group of local families restored the old caretaker’s cottage as a place to meet and share their parenting journey. In October the playgroup is hosting a Gallery and Garden Party celebrating more than 30 years that the Cottage has been a volunteer operated playspace for the families of our local community.

Encapsulating History Week and Children’s Week celebrations on 21st October,  the Cottage will be a place to share stories and memories of the role playgroup has played over three generations.


Shaun King 1981-82 original Playgroup member. Photo by Sharon King.

As part of our day event, we are excited to be opening our new Indigenous Sensory Garden playspace along with our gallery area, which will be a display of historical photos of our local surrounds. We have been proudly funded for our garden and gallery project by Yarra Ranges Council grants for the community. We have planned a day full of fantastic activities as a part of Children’s Week calendar, presented in partnership with the Victorian Government.

The day itself marks the official opening of the Indigenous themed Sensory Garden by Mayor Councillor Cliff and we will be holding a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony conducted by Elders from the Wurundjeri Tribe. We are thrilled to be hosting this ceremony as acknowledgement of respect for the Wurundjeri people as traditional custodians of the land.

Other activities on the day include creating a timecapsule for families to contribute to which will be buried on the day. Hands-on mosaic making will take place in our garden. The garden will include a collection of native animal sculptures and we will be getting families involved in our animal bingo throughout the day. Bring a picnic and enjoy our storytime sessions or roll up your sleeves for some carer-led colouring and craft activities in our messy-space art room.

This Children’s Week event is presented by Belgrave Lake Park Cottage Playgroup in Partnership with the Victorian Government and proudly funded by Yarra Ranges Council.


When: 21st October, 2017
Where: 29 Park Drive, Belgrave
Enquiries: contact Emma 0434 019 346


Our schedule for a fun-packed day of activities for all the family

10am freeplay in our Indigenous Sensory garden
10.30 Indigenous themed kid’s storytime
11am Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Wurundjeri Tribe Elders and official opening of our event by Mayor Councillor Noel Cliff
11.30 Mosaic making begins
1pm We invite you to picnic and chat with us
1.30pm Kid’s garden storytime
3pm Timecapsule burial
All day we will have animal bingo in the garden, crafts and colouring activities, viewing of historical photos of the cottage over the years



We have been approaching local historical societies and libraries for historical photographs of the lake and area surrounding the cottage but we have yet to find any photos of the cottage itself from yesteryear. We would love any locals who may have attended the playgroup in the past to come to our event and share their stories and a picnic with us on the day.

Email any historical photos to us at


Burrinja logo


burrinja makes the top ten


Post by Adriana Alvarez.

It looks like the secret is out. Burrinja is one of the top ten places to visit in Melbourne according to UK Guardian. The post by their Australian reporter mentions it in regard to getting in touch with “traditional owners” making reference to Lin Onus’ Fish and Leaves artwork as one of it’s highlights as well as exhibitions, music and theatre.

Burrinja Cultural Centre

And indeed Burrinja is a great place to see indigenous art as it manages a rare public collection of over 600 items of Aboriginal and oceanic art from Papua New Guinea. The collection was donated to the Shire of Yarra Ranges in 2001 by Neil McLeod, a local resident and renowned photographer, book author and field collector.

But this is not the only thing on offer at Burrinja.With multiple gallery spaces for touring exhibitions, a large 400 seat theatre for live productions and artist studios and workshop rooms, it’s a hub for creative locals who can find great inspiration within it’s walls. With workshops and activities for people of all ages and abilities Burrinja encourages community engagement and inclusion. It’s support of local artists, projects (like the hillscene magazine and hillseneLIVE), festivals and events fosters a vibrant creative community, living up to it’s mission of “creating community through the Arts”.

Burrinja GalleryBurrinja theatre

A visit to Burrinja isn’t complete without wandering through the Art of Place Indigenous Cultural Garden, a place to reflect, learn about and celebrate the local indigenous culture. Take in one of it’s many exhibitions, grab a gift in the gallery shop, see a show or enjoy a great coffee and meal at the Skylark Room which features brilliant music in the evenings and weekends.

Skylark Room food

So it looks like is right in naming Burrinja, one of the top ten treasures in the ‘world’s most livable city’. And we’re lucky to have it right on our doorstep.

Find out more and see what’s on at Burrinja here.

Burrinja logo

Belgrave Survival Day – Celebrating 10 years

smoking-ceremonySmoking ceremony photo by D.Clarke.

On Thursday the 26th January, 2017, Belgrave Survival Day will celebrate its 10th consecutive year. Once again celebrating Indigenous culture and the survival of Australia’s First Nations people through 228 years of white settlement. This year’s festival will focus on the theme of ‘Knowing your local history, and as always is a free family friendly event.

This year the theme focuses on understanding your local history. If there is one action a person can do to show solidarity and start to bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people it is to get to know your local history. This year award winning author Bruce Pascoe will be a special guest speaker sharing stories from our local history. Author and historian Jim Poulter will also have a stall with books outlining Victoria’s indigenous history.

The Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony will be led by Wurundjeri elder and educator, Uncle Bill Nicholson, followed by traditional dances performed by ‘The Djirri Djirri’ dance mob where the audience will be invited to join in. Aunty Dot Peters will also grace us with her presence and share some of her wisdom.

Djirri Djirri Dance Group courtesy of their facebook pageThe Djirri Djirri dance mob.

The line up includes Benny Walker, who will be on the stage again as the lead act with his band. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for the land, the people. His summer vibes and deep grooves are elements that reach the soul.

Benny Walker and BandBenny and the band.

The day will also welcome back The Deans, who will bring classic sounds and grooves with velvet smooth vocals, sweet harmonies, soaring heartbreak guitar, deep Mo-town bass grooves and hip-shaking rhythms. They are sure to get you moving.

Benny and The Deans will be supported by Gunditjmara singer songwriter Jayden Lillyst. Jayden tells stories of his people through a dose of country rock mixed with soul and blues.

The fabulous voices of the Mullum Mullum Choir and the vibes of the Hip Hop Crew will also feature. Then be calmed as you participate in a Digeridoo Mediation with Gnarnayarrahe Waitiarie (Uncle Joey).

There will be plenty of activities to keep the kids (and adults) busy with fun music and dance, art and craft opportunities, the children’s playground and more.

Soak up the atmosphere on a picnic rug in front of the stage or stroll around the market and information stalls. Catering for all food requirements with a variety of food trucks including traditional bush tucker. This event is alcohol-free.

Due to parking limitations around the park the Survival Day organisers strongly encourage people to catch public transport, carpool or park at Belgrave Train Station where you can get the shuttle bus provided, or take a quick 5 minute walk to Borthwick Park.

The event will be simulcasts on 3MDR 97.1 FM.

To find out more go to Belgrave Survival Day facebook or events page

When: 26th January 2017
Time: 12 noon – 4.30pm
Where: Borthwick Park (next to Belgrave Pool) Benson St, Belgrave.
Melways reference 75/F11


The Belgrave Survival Day event is organised by a committee of volunteers. They invite new volunteers to help with preparations for the festival, to assist on the day, or join the committee to keep the event happening in the future.

Burrinja logo

The Arties exhibition at Burrinja

A New World; Created Through Art


Post by Makayla Rimington

Burrinja’s Mission Statement endeavours to ‘build community through arts’ and a shining example of this is the Burrinja ‘Arties’. The Arties is a Burrinja Planned Activity Group who, in 2016, celebrate a decade of weekly meetings. The program involves adults of all abilities, from many different circumstances, joining together to create individual, expressive art.

Edges & Echoes is the chosen title for this year’s upcoming celebration. This involves gaining inspiration from subtle realms of both the imagination and reality. An opening song, followed by performances and exhibitions are planned for this significant occasion. Lynette and the volunteers have worked with The Arties for many weeks in preparation, including a dress rehearsal to practice the meaningful opening number.

Managed and funded by Burrinja and The Department of Health and Human Services, The Arties gives people that may feel outcast from the public a chance to fit in, to be accepted by a group of like-minded people in a community and arts focused facility while creating and performing. An extremely positive outcome from this Burrinja Arties program is mental wellbeing; giving people aged 20 to 70 a chance to use their individual abilities to overcome obstacles, both physical and mental.

It is an arts-based skills and learning program that emphasises cultural participation while enriching understandings of culture and community. The program also teaches socialisation skills and many art techniques.


Lynette Forrest, an experienced Creative Arts Therapist, facilitated and designed the program that assists members of the community who are affected by mental illness and expands social support for those who are ‘at risk of homelessness’. Many of the people involved have had experience with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but having the involvement of working with other Arties gives a sense of achievement, peace and connection. Arties ‘challenges the participants to take positive risks by trying new activities, learning with artist mentors, exhibiting, performing and more’.

Lynette believes in the healing power of art, it moves beyond language and understanding, becoming instead about the physical and the pleasure of ‘doing’. ‘Anyone can do it, they can’t fail, they trust me to help them create and learn’ says Lynette.

Being treated as welcomed and individual members of the public is integral to supporting and encouraging the Arties participants to create art that tells their story.


Each week the partakers create art-work that they have a chance to exhibit and sell once a year at the annual Arties Event. This involves painting, photography and construction all the way through to dance, music, drama and narrative.

‘The Arties get so much out of special programs like this, it is wonderful to experience’ – Dr. Ross Farnell, Executive Director, Burrinja.

‘If only everyday could be Friday’ was remarked to Lynette recently, each meeting is looked forward to by the artists, and the yearly exhibition gives the participants and their works prominence and appreciation from the community.

Lynette has found a link between art, music and mental wellbeing, she observes a positive transformation in her participants; ‘when they return next time, with a little spark, I can see that it has been a lasting change’.


Lynette puts these amazing outcomes down to music and the arts changing and improving a participant’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

The latest event fell on November 4th and the Arties’ had planned an opening song with the help of Nicole from Harmonious Melodies. ‘Edges & Echoes’ is an exploration of the thresholds of imagination, space and time. The theme centres around making meaning out of reality and dreams, and the pieces created are an echo of each member’s world. The song, with the assistance of Nicole, has been written by the group, with the chorus ‘chase those bad dreams away’ coined by a participant. The song takes the members to the edge of their imagination, meeting both good and bad aspects.

The Arties exhibition

Celebrating 10 years of The Arties at Burrinja is an incredible achievement and shows the passion and determination of its facilitator, Lynette Forrest. ‘It’s amazing, my favourite job. I wish I could do it every day’. Lynette creates a happy place, an environment where the members can understand themselves and learn creative techniques to express their individuality. This year’s milestone gives recognition to the great work of Lynette, the volunteers and of course, The Arties.


The Arties exhibition launch on November 4th.

The Exhibition runs from the 27th October to the 27th November at Burrinja.
Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr, Upwey.

Burrinja logo


Intermission-End of the Line festival fundraiser

Guest post by Jen reposted from Weekend Notes.

If you’ve never heard of ‘End of the Line‘ before, they’re a community arts festival put together by volunteers of the Belgrave Community Arts Partnership. Passion, generosity and donations (of hundreds of musicians, artists, performers, makers and the community) are what usually drives this vehicle and has made this event the diamond in the crown of creativity within the town of Belgrave. The 2012 and 2013 events have firmly planted it’s feet and carved itself into the cultural landscape of the hills. However, to strengthen and refine itself in a more sustainable way and to keep on moving forward End of the Line has now transitioned to a biennial format and given birth to ‘Intermission’. This condensed morsel of everything you loved about EOTL will be performed in one venue for a mind-bending, foot stomping explosive day. Think art exhibitions, installations, a stellar music line up and a range of other kooky performance based madness.

‘JOIN’ the event page and ‘LIKE’ the Facebook page to keep abreast of updates. You can also keep a finger on the pulse on the Website of this smaller scale event that will not only satisfy your artistic appetite but assist in fundraising for the full scale festival the following year.


Having attended another creative event in Belgrave like HillsceneLIVE 2 in September this year, you can be sure the artistic Belgrave community does not disappoint in its passion for the arts. Even though I don’t live in Belgrave, I’m definitely a fan. The Sooki Lounge is the perfect venue with its quirky ambience, not to mention a killer ‘brownie’ that is one of the best I’ve tasted after a Christmas shopping spree at the Belgrave South Community Markets.

end of the line, intermission, sookii lounge, belgrave, ills arts and music event, exhibitions, performances, installations, stellar music line up, fundraiser

I’ve already bought my ticket to join in the fun and frolic of the day, so don’t miss out. It’s a crucial fundraiser to ensure that EOTL 2015 is able to be run and able to be awesome!!!! TICKETS ARE LIMITED! Pre-sale tickets are available from the End of the Line website or in store at Sooki Lounge and Limerence. The venue is the Sooki Lounge, 1648 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave (03) 9754 7567 and it costs $10 for a Day pass admittance from 3pm until 8pm or $20 for All day/night admittance from 3pm-3am.

Burrinja logo

Holly Bohmer

Kallista actor gets real

Holly Bohmer

Post by Justine Cammerino.
Record Masterchef and come and see the real thing, as emerging local comedy group Toot Sweet Productions give you their maiden performance THE ULTIMATE for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Fresh out of University, Kallista resident and actor/writer/artist Holly Bohmer says she’s excited to get her foot in the door of the Melbourne Arts scene. “Coming from the burbs of Melbourne, it feels like a ‘little fish, big pond’ transition for me. Having been involved in the Hills’ arts scene, the Melbourne Fringe Festival felt like a natural step forward.”

The show is a satirical exploration into the world of reality television. “THE ULTIMATE is something we’re very proud to bring to the Melbourne stage. It will make you laugh, then feel bad for doing so”, says Bohmer.

The show follows ‘host with the most’ Max Silvertooth as he searches for that one person who has the talent, the looks and the personality to be ‘The Ultimate’. The challenges are tough, the contestants are tougher. Watch them battle it out against each other to claim the ultimate prize: their own reality TV series and lotsa dosh. Not to mention the fame and notoriety that comes with it… and the spinoffs, book deals, interviews, product endorsements, invitations to fancy parties, Coles vouchers, a lifetime supply of cling wrap and VIP treatment at the school dropoff.

Bohmer says the characters will resonate with people who love, and love-to-hate, reality t.v. “Our characters are realer than real. Perhaps a little too close to home for some”.

Like Aussie girl Maddie who wants to find that special someone, or Sofia Sofia who loves her husband, kids and food (not necessarily in that order). Amber the quadruple threat or Gynah the lady who lunches. And Victoria whose quest for perfection knows no bounds. The show is being performed at Club Voltaire in North Melbourne from Thursday September 18th.

If you want to see local funny girl strut her stuff, you can buy tickets to THE ULTIMATE on the Melbourne Fringe site here.

Bohmer has her sights firmly set to the future. “Kallista to the City, the City to who knows where! I ultimately want to act and write, and make that my career.”

Burrinja logo

Isabel Foster

Isabel Foster weaves and spins

Isabel FosterIsabel Foster exhibition

Post by Gareth Hart.

I first met Isabel Foster on a Thursday morning, here in the Burrinja foyer, during her recent exhibition. I was instantly enamoured by her. Not only did Isabel meet me with wide eyes, a warm smile and an infectious laugh, but all the while she had what I can only suppose was a 7 meter piece of knitting wrapped all around her, trying to keep it from dragging on the ground. This wasn’t a fashion statement; not a scarf that she was wearing. It was a piece of handcraft that she was working on. The woman is so addicted to wool and craft, that even surrounded by a small entourage of fans, and meeting new people every 30 seconds, she continues to knit and subsequently be tangled up in her own creations.

Isabel, you had me at hello.

A few weeks later, I gratefully accept a warm invitation from Isabel to come and spend some time with her in her own home. We talk at length…..

What was your initial response to the exhibition?

I had my cousins with me, and Julie [daughter] when I arrived. We walked in, and I was walking on air! I didn’t know what I was going to do when I went inside.

I want to know about the exhibition: how you thought it went, what it felt like for you, were you happy?

Well, what would you imagine I felt about it? Have you ever had such a thing happen to you, at this stage in life? What interested me, was the number of people, elderly, who came up to me would have known about me, because I was doing some teaching for people. Teaching them anything they would like to know, but I made sure I wasn’t teaching them anything, I was just demonstrating. And what they got out of that was added to by my knowledge of the hand weavers and spinners guild.

For those who helped me I gave back twice the amount. And I did it with a laugh, and no demanding ‘stand up and weave this way’, salute me, and all that. I didn’t want that. I wanted to be free.

I didn’t take it too seriously. I was doing what I was, because I wanted to, and because I could!

She reaches for a pile of paper near her teacup

This is the list of people who wanted to keep in touch with me through the exhibition. One, two, three, four, five, six. Six pages of people!

Isabel reads me the notes from the first name on the page. And the first one says ‘wants you to talk to the Art Without Borders program, that brings migrant and refugee women together to learn and relearn textile crafts.’

And again, I am left speechless. At the young age of 92, Isabel is being asked things like this. I learn that also a small group of women from a Steiner School came to Isabel’s house and spent some time learning the art of rug hooking. All in a day’s weaving for this amazing lady really.

So, six pages of people want to meet you, all eager to spend time with you. How does that make you feel?

Out of this world!

In a turn of the conversation, Isabel becomes quite reminiscent, we talk about the exhibition bringing her in contact with both friends of her past, and friends anew. Particularly as she lives alone now, in her Caulfield house, crafting away the hours of the day, she does sometimes become taken with a little loneliness.

When I gave my car away, or in fact I sold it, I was getting the rag tag, glaring, tooting and screaming. So I came home and told my husband that I was going to sell my car. So that’s where I started to go downhill, because I couldn’t drive into the guild. Over a period of 4 or 5 years, not being there all the time like I used to be, and talking to everyone, and being cheeky, making the whole caboodle laugh when they didn’t mean to laugh, (I had a ball!) I stopped going in. I also had to give up table tennis, where I was playing against men all the time. They were all men, from Europe, and they had been principles and top champions of the game. Winning everywhere. But that’s another story!

I’ve. Always. Been. Self. Sufficient. (Isabel bangs the table in between words, in emphatic punctuation of each word).

Isabel Foster loom

Suddenly, Isabel notices a ring on my finger – a shrimp fork twisted into the shape of a ring. She asks if I could make her a ring out of her husband’s 20cent piece collection. When I tell here, regrettably, that I couldn’t (I have neither the tools, nor the knowledge to do so), she seems deeply offended, exclaiming:

Then you stop and learn! I had to learn everything that I have ever done, without being told.

Isabel’s love for her craft oozes through her, and without even realising, she inspires so many others to dive into her world. But it’s not solo. Isabel holds your hand, guides you, provokes you, laughs with you. She does all of this out of the kindness of her heart. I get the feeling that if Isabel can inspire you, she is happy.

I think one of the most wonderful things that has happened, in my endeavours, is that I was spinning at a sheep show and this woman came up to me: a big strong country woman. And she watched me spinning wool. She told me her and her husband were travelling to northern Queensland to buy some top quality cattle. And she thought it would be a good idea with me pushing her, to do some knitting. I gave here a demonstration, and I taught her to spin on a stick. A whole year later, I am in the same place, doing the same thing, and she stood in front of me in a great big white cable knit jumper. I said ‘did you do that on a stick?’ and she said ‘yes’ – and I could have gone through that, up there (Isabel points to heaven), to think that I taught that person to spin on a stick in 5 minutes! I just couldn’t believe it!

And then there was a time when some big art people were organising a show, in between Richmond and Flinders street in the park. The day was wet. So I arrived with carpet for the floor, a tent to stop wind, my spinning wheel, fleece, yarn. This woman came from Richmond station with two children, with bags of food and shopping, ready to go have lunch. She was coming towards me with her two children. The little girl came up to me, at my spinning wheel, and said ‘oh, could I learn to spin?’. Oh yes, I could teach you. That child picked up the technique so quickly. The mother wanted to go to an exhibition, so they went off, but the little girl stayed with me for a while. She said ‘thank you for teaching me to spin’. So I said: now I want you to do two things for me. I want you to go to your friends, and teach two people to spin on a stick. ‘Oooh yes’ she replied. Now one year later I am in the same place, with the same rain falling, and the mother and little girl came up to me again, and I said ‘how are you?’, and the girl said ‘(panting) I’ve got something to tell you: you told me to go away and teach two people. I went to school and taught my teacher, and then the teacher went and taught the whole school!’. I get very weepy at the thought of her. But that was just a wonderful experience. That teacher was a wonderful person.

As I sit with Isabel, I am not surprised, on any level, that she has inspired so many people through her life: leaving remnants of her love of craft in many corners of the minds and hearts of others.

I could stop now, and no one would know what they are losing: all the things I can still do. I’m very honoured to be invited, for you to take from what I have been saying, what you need.

No Isabel, the honour is all mine.

Isabel Foster chair


Josh Collings in zombie character

Joshua Levi Collings’ reel world

Josh Collings filmmaker

Post by Adriana Alvarez.

Joshua Levi Collings is a man of many talents. His filmmaking business, Pegleg Productions, “is going crazy” at the moment with a few projects on the go. In the Winter issue of the hillscene we featured his house concerts, and when he wasn’t busy filming and photographing the night, he was joining in with the banjo on a few tunes. Music, film, photography, and events are some of the passions that drive this creative dynamo.

Whenever I see Josh around on a local film shoot, he’s got a big smile on his face and several cameras on the go. His three-legged dog, Bronson, the inspiration for the name Pegleg, is always in tow and seems to have the same boundless energy. He started doing film in high school in Queensland, he didn’t study it, he just picked up the school’s chunky VHS camera and took it with him everywhere. “I took it to every party and made a school video, which turned out to be a two and a half hour blockbuster” laughs Josh. Learning on the go seems to be in his blood and has led him to try his hand at a large variety of ventures. Since high school he has done many different things, including running a fencing company, several galleries and travelling around the world as a photographer for Anthony Robbins just to name a few.

Organising events for the galleries was another skill to add to his many talents. He ran over 120 events for Josh Levi galleries. One such event was ‘Underexposed’ was an exhibition of music photography with over 2500 images covering the walls of the galleries from floor to ceiling and included 40 bands playing over three nights. “It was wild”, says Josh “Powderfinger dropped in, Kate Miller-Heidke, some great local Brisbane artists came and did surprise shows, it was amazing.” So when Brent and CJ Dakis from Limerence were discussing the idea of starting the ‘End of the line’ festival Josh jumped on board to look after the music and art side of the event. With his previous experience of running festivals and the hard work by everyone involved, it was a huge success.

It was at the ‘End of the Line’ he restarted his filmmaking. At the time he was running projects for Melbourne University but finding it was not very satisfying doing that kind of work and being inside all the time. “So I just thought what do I love doing, and it was photography and making music and video so I just put them all together. I started up Pegleg last year in September and I’m flat out, inundated with work.” At first he was doing all the jobs himself because he had the skills, but since his business has taken off he’s been able to work with a range of talented artists; cameramen, editors and musicians from the hills. Using so many artists and creators from the hills has given his films a different vibe and flavour. His style of filmmaking with his love of stop motion, focused details, illustration and beautiful music makes them atmospheric, quirky and down to earth.

'Don't Feed the Platypus' video

Josh’s first choice for work would be making music videos and environmental work. He’s very passionate about the environment and prefers projects that make a difference and bring about change. Some of his recent works have been producing videos with the tiffaney bishop COLLECTIVE on their graffiti projects and working with local councils on a series of films about volunteering. Whatever project he’s working on it’s bound to be something that he can inject his sense of fun and humour into.

Being very hands on and learning via Youtube videos rather than more formal channels has given Josh a multitude of talents and avenues to be able to express his creative spirit. His move to the hills to “escape reality” has been a real bonus for us, let’s hope he hangs around for a while.

Josh Collings in zombie character


#hillsceneLIVE pack

Tasty hillsceneLIVE

#hillsceneLIVE pack

Post by Gareth Hart.

For those of you who might have been camping under a rock in the past month, enjoying some solitude and hibernation as we approach Winter, you may not know that for the first time ever, the new issue of the hillscene was launched with its own Arts festival! hillsceneLIVE took place on June 6th, in all of the unused, unknown, secret and hidden spaces of Burrinja.

Audiences were treated to a smorgasbord of artistic and cultural offerings, from delicious dance to theatre, tasty sound to visual art, and zesty participatory experiences to live art.

You may notice (how could you not?) my use of food adjectives here. This is quite intentional. In programming and producing this festival, I became obsessed with the idea of live performing arts as food. I asked each artist ‘If your work was a food, what would it be?’, and I also created a menu for the night, as opposed to a traditional festival program.   There were two main reasons for this, being:

  1. Food can sustain us, recharge our energy, motivate us into action: exactly what good performance can do; and
  2. Food is good for your soul: Just like live performance.

So, for this weeks blog, I offer you the answer to my question from each artist, and see below for the hillsceneLIVE menu.

In the aftermath of this event, I feel wholly satisfied with what my eyes, ears and brain were treated to last Friday night, and I offer my humble thanks to each and every chef who created meals of cultural and culinary significance.

For those of you hungry for the next course, we launch the hillscene Spring issue on September 5th. No doubt there will be an abundance of tasty treats on off there too. As Amy Middleton and Emma Jennings teased us with last Friday night, ‘Come Play!’

Amy Middleton and Emma Jennings: A fine red wine…fresh, expressive and resilient, with delicate hints of the inky and painterly, set around a creative core!

Justine Walsh: Chunks of pumpkin seasoned with olive oil and nutmeg and rosemary and salt and pepper, slow-roasted to the point of caramelizing. Maybe even a full epic roast dinner if you’re feeling adventurous.

Sarah Tamara Kaur: Jam doughnut stuck on a digestive biscuit – sticky and seductive but with a real wholesome and humble base

Neil Triffett: A non-imported one

3MDR and Emma Johnson: An inside-out grilled cheese sandwich

Simon Godfrey: Trio of Dips

Jessica Harris: Mashed Potato

Gulsen Ozer: Soul food

Duaa Svim (feat Libby Maitland): Inedible

Vivienne Rogis: An apple eaten during pregnancy (A context driven experience of the mundane or expected that reveals the un-expected.)

Ben Kelly, Steve Davies + Roderick McLoed: Banana smoothie, with goji berries, honey, and egg and a few baby spinach leaves

Chun Liang Liu: It’s more like sprinkle water, hard to tell the taste but it is present.

Bronwen Kamasz: Raw carrot – bright & crunchy, and good for your eyes

Roderick Price: Sannakji [an aggressive delicacy]

Toni Main: Fernet Branca

Gretel Taylor:

Jak: Oysters

Maggie Brown: Leftover vegetable soup, reheated

MISFIT Theatre: Children of the Clock is tacos. It’s messy, and it’s going to burn you in the end.

hillsceneLIVE menu


Gareth Hart hillsceneLIVE

hillsceneLIVE is born

Gareth Hart hillsceneLIVE

Post by Amy Middleton.

What can be achieved in the name of the unknown?

If you were to have asked me to describe ‘Hillscene’ six months ago, I would have responded simply, clearly and concisely by quoting the first line on the Hillscene website… “Hillscene, is a Maga’zine’ about all the interesting people and things happening in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges”. Asked the same question today, I may give you a cheeky smile and giggle excitedly.

There is a joyful tension that exists when you know something great is about to happen, but you are not exactly sure how to explain it. The fortunate folk who have read the Autumn Issue would have had a little introduction to HillsceneLIVE, a quarterly performance and live art event that will take the form of a mini festival. The head honcho behind the HillsceneLive concept is Gareth Hart. A Melbourne based independent artist with strong interests in Choreography, Theatre and Photography.


To describe Gareth as anything other than an artist would be limiting. His creative practice is wide-ranging as it is thoughtful and personal. Gareth holds a Masters of Choreography from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne and his resume is littered with creative accomplishments. Beyond the impressive resume, he presents a compassionate character, with a gritty confidence.  Gareth describes himself as having a “natural inkling to be offbeat” and he seems to find a deep comfort in the ambiguity of the creative process.  He seems to revel in the unknown, in abstract concepts that can’t be defined easily. Over the past 8 years, Gareth has moved away from traditional choreography and finds that improvising movement allows him to be more responsive to the creative experience of performing. “I think it’s not so much that I want people to be confused, but I like for them to leave a performance different to when they arrived. This means that an audience is actually engaging with your work, and perhaps on some level getting a sense of the complexity of this strange thing I like to call ‘dance’.”

Whilst HillsceneLIVE can’t be explained in a single phrase, there is no doubt in my mind that something wonderful is about to bloom. I sense Gareth approaches his creative practice with strong self-awareness. His insights are well integrated, most likely hard-won at the hands of many who might have doubted him along the way, and whom he has proven wrong. It’s difficult to escape a sense of questioning around what HillsceneLIVE may or may not become, but I get the sense that this unknowing is exactly what is intended.


Photos by Gareth Hart.