CASTLEMAINE has long been considered the creative capital of regional Victoria, a position cemented by its longest-running biennial festival.
Unique in its scope and diversity, the Castlemaine State Festival commissions, develops and presents a thrilling program of events encompassing performance, music, literature, visual arts and film.
This year the festival will take place from March 19-April 4.
Kicking things off is Ajak Kwai and the Bendigo South Sudanese Women's Ensemble. Other special events include the awe-inspiring One Sky Many Stories, featuring Indigenous storytelling; pop-up radio station Hear Here at The Res swimming hole; INSIDE OUT Castlemaine, a series of large-scale portraits pasted up around town; and Kultur-All Makaan, a home away from home, located at the new Castlemaine Goods Shed.
The stellar musical line-up includes the Melbourne Mandolin Orchestra, Omega Ensemble, Australian National Academy of Music, Goldner String Quartet and the Inventi Ensemble.
The thought-provoking Dialogues program returns with Helen Garner, Don Watson, chefs Rosa Mitchell and Carlo Grossi, Michael Rowland, Gareth Evans, Tim Costello, Archie Roach and Dan Kelly discussing contemporary topics.
The theatrical program features the debut live reading of Wamba Wamba man Brodie Murray's Soul of Possum. A new play, Finding Fanny Finch, will transport audiences to the goldfields of the region based on the research of historian Kacey Sinclair.
The visual arts program will comprise a celebration and retrospective of 1960s fashion icon Mary Quant at Bendigo Art Gallery.
Quant personified the energy and fun of swinging London and was a powerful role model for the working woman. Challenging conventions, she popularised the miniskirt, colourful tights and tailored trousers.
Other exhibitions include Melinda Harper's first major survey in regional Victoria at Castlemaine Art Museum and local artist Cameron Robbins's collaboration with winemaker Gilles Lapalus.
In another bonus for visitors, the Open Studios event will also be taking place, providing a rare behind-the-scenes opportunity as artists swing open their studio doors.
Castlemaine's historic homes and venues will feature heavily in the program including Buda Historic Home & Garden, the Town Hall, Western Reserve and the Botanical Gardens.
You can also tune in from home with several programs being livestreamed straight to your screens.
Tickets are now on sale.
- READ MORE:Prospector unearths three gold nuggets near Castlemaine, sparking hopes for mine
- READ MORE:John Williamson launches Winding Back tour to celebrate 50 years in music