Final days!

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Costumes from ‘The Diary of a Madman’ and ‘Exit the King’ on display in the exhibition

Hurry! Time is running out for Melburnians to see The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush before it closes on 3 November.

We will be sad to say goodbye to this fascinating exhibition celebrating one of Australia’s best-known and most-respected actors. Featuring costumes, photographs, moving image and personal items, the exhibition highlights roles created by Geoffrey Rush in plays including Exit the King, The Diary of a Madman and The Importance of Being Earnest, and in films such as Shine, Quills, Pirates of the Caribbean and The King’s Speech.

The following two weeks will be a very busy time for the Performing Arts Collection staff as we bump out The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush and install a new exhibition hot on its heels…stay tuned for details, because it’s going to be a real stunner!

The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush
Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery 1
Until 3 November 2013
Open daily, 9am till late
Free

The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush

We’re pleased to share that our latest exhibition, The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush, is now open in Gallery 1 at Arts Centre Melbourne! Thank you to everyone who has attended to date, it has been fantastic to see you enjoying the costumes, photographs and film clips on display.

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Geoffrey Rush as King Berenger in Exit the King, 2009
Photograph by Hugh Hartshorne

Geoffrey Rush is one of Australia’s best-known and most respected actors. Throughout his prolific and distinguished career he has earned international acclaim for his work on both stage and screen. This exhibition reflects on his many achievements to date and explores his ability to inhabit characters through a remarkable physical and verbal dexterity.

Featuring costumes, photographs, moving image and personal items, the exhibition highlights roles created by Geoffrey Rush in plays including Exit the King, The Diary of a Madman and The Importance of Being Earnest, and in films such as Shine, Quills, Pirates of the Caribbean and The King’s Speech.

Have you visited The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush? What did you enjoy most? We’d love to hear from you!

Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery 1
From 6 July – 27 October
Open daily, 9am till late
Free

Reflecting on the Numbers: The Year 2012 in Review

Image of VAC2012-004.001  Robert Owen Fine Art Services in collaboration with Electrolight  'Silence' 2012 Commissioned through the Maxwell and Merle Carroll Bequest Arts Centre Melbourne, Public Art Collection
Image of VAC2012-004.001
Robert Owen Fine Art Services & Electrolight
‘Silence’ 2012
Commissioned through the Maxwell & Merle Carroll Bequest
Arts Centre Melbourne, Public Art Collection

If historical predictions are accurate, the world might just end tomorrow… so as our (working) life flashes before our eyes, here’s the wrap on a few of the memorable (and some of the mundane) things that our amazing team of just 16 staff in the Collections department achieved during 2012.

Exhibiting

The exhibitions team installed 1165 objects in 16 displays and exhibitions – that’s a lot of wall labels to proof read, mannequins and showcases to move, and crates to pack and unpack! Our AC/DC exhibition finished its world tour having been on the road for 2 years and finally came home to Melbourne for a rest after being visited by more than 687,000 people in Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, Perth, Glasgow and Seattle.

Meanwhile, Time in Motion: 50 Years of the Australian Ballet attracted a great deal of interest in Melbourne and is now beautifully displayed at the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney until 12 February 2013.

Visiting

This year our exhibitions and displays attracted over 585,398 visitors. There were also around 80,000 visits our Collections online website – we hope you were one of them!

Collecting

This year we acquired new material from 21 donors totalling approximately 1000 objects. Some highlights from the new acquisitions include: a large collection from the Melbourne Workers Theatre; production files compiled by director Bruce Myles; a collection from designer Judith Cobb; and a superb archival collection relating to touring activities undertaken by Clifford Hocking and David Vigo. Other wonderful material came from the Estate of early Rock ‘n’ Roller Betty McQuade, popular entertainers Bobby Le Brun and George Sorlie, and the Holden Circus family. The Art Collection was enriched by an Anthony Pryor sculpture, donated by Leon and Sandra Velik, and six beautiful works of art were donated by Charles Blackman.

Cataloguing

Our tireless Registrar and team of dedicated Volunteers catalogued 10677 new items this year.  This brings us to a whoping total of 146,081 records in our electronic catalogue. Not to mention the other 30807 records that were edited and enhanced!

Lending

Meanwhile, we conditioned-reported, packed and lent out 60 objects from our own collections, and borrowed a further 562 items from elsewhere to enrich our exhibitions and displays.

Digitising

We scanned, photographed and uploaded 6296 images to our system and published quite a few of them online – some of them we are still amazed by! Like this oneand this one!!!

Publishing

We reprinted the AC/DC Exhibition catalogue for its international tour, published an exhibition room brochure for Time on Motion: 50 Years of the Australian Ballet. We also published 6300 new records online via our new Collections online website. You can discover all sorts of weird and wonderful things here – have you seen the new site yet?

Moving

Our collection management database tells us we moved 20,380 objects and works of art this year…. Phew, no wonder we’re tired!

Building

Arts Centre Melbourne reopened its doors to Hamer Hall after a 3 year $128.5 million dollar redevelopment project (which, incidentally, saw nearly 4000 tonnes of concrete removed from the site). In Collections we were busy building exhibitions, displays and websites to celebrate the opening. We built a new mobile web tour called Collections On Cue to share insights into the works of art and new commissions on display in Hamer Hall. Our visitors can now find out more about the Collections whilst exploring the new foyers and sparkling interiors. We were pretty chuffed to receive an award from Arts Victoria for this project – Hooray!

Commissioning

Three major new Art Commissions were installed in Hamer Hall, including Silence (pictured) by Robert Owen’s Studio & Electrolight – a work of art we estimate contains around 62,000 Swarovski crystals (its always the first thing people ask!)

Presenting

Our staff shared their knowledge widely this year – presenting talks, seminars, lectures, and tours in venues ranging from Melbourne, France, Qatar, Seattle and Sydney. We also invited 10 distinguished guest speakers to discuss their research projects in our Spotlight Lecture Series. We hosted an unusually large number of behind the scenes tours this year with over 150 people experiencing a very special glimpse of our Collection store.

Planning

And of course while we were doing all of this, we were busy planning some major redevlopments in our collection store and developing the new exhibitions and programs for the years ahead. Look out for our forthcoming Performative Prints From the Torres Strait and The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush exhibitions which are opening in 2013.

With so much to look forward to next year, we do hope the Mayans were wrong!

The Mad King: Geoffrey Rush On Stage

Exit the King costume
Costume worn by Geoffrey Rush in ‘Exit The King’, 2007. Gift of Malthouse Theatre, 2011. The Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection

The Performing Arts Collection tells the rich and diverse story of performance in our country. And it is vast – an exciting backstage peek behind the scenes of our theatrical and musical history. Its importance is unquestionable – its impact is thrilling entertainment.” (Geoffrey Rush)

Geoffrey Rush is one of Australia’s best-known and most respected actors. He is also one of a handful of actors to have won the coveted ‘Triple Crown of Acting’ by winning an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award.

Rush is perhaps best known to the wider public for his work on screen in such films as Shine, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth and The King’s Speech, however, his long and distinguished career on stage has provided some of the most thrilling moments in Australian theatre history.

Rush recently facilitated the donation by Malthouse Theatre and Belvoir St Theatre of some of his significant costumes from the productions The Diary Of A Madman and Exit The King to the Arts Centre’s Performing Arts Collection.

The Diary of a Madman green suit
Costume worn by Geoffrey Rush in ‘The Diary of a Madman’, 2010. Gift of Belvoir St Theatre, 2011. The Arts Centre, Performing Arts Collection.

In 2009 Rush made his Broadway debut in Exit the King at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The play, a Belvoir St Theatre/Malthouse Theatre co-production adapted by Rush and director Neil Armfeild, was the first Australian production of a dramatic play to be presented on Broadway. Rush’s extraordinary physical and verbal dexterity earned him many awards including a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor.

The Diary of a Madman was the first of many collaborations between Rush and Armfield. Rush made his first appearance in the production at Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney in 1989. When the production was revived in 2010 as part of Armfield’s farewell Belvoir season audiences clambered to see the now internationally famous Rush in one of his most revered roles. The Diary of a Madman was also performed in New York earlier this year, with Rush’s performance was described as “a wacky and wonderfully touching tour-de-force”.

As Australia’s national collection, the Performing Arts Collection is thrilled to accept the donation of costumes from these landmark productions as a tangible reminder of the moment when the Australian theatrical sensibility took centre stage in New York.