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Sometimes, the best part of seeing a show is the conversation it sparks. Our series of ‘morning after’ breakfast events invites you to join a selection of writers, critics and arts lovers to dissect selected Melbourne Festival shows, sharing views on what worked, what didn’t – and why.
Each Morning After session will pair one or more of our creative writers with established critics to talk about what they’ve seen.
In this session, we talk about Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker, an urgent broadside on life in Belarus’s capital: a place where sexuality is twisted by oppression, and strip clubs, underground raves and gay pride parades pulse beneath the city’s surface. Minsk, 2011 is undaunted protest turned heart-wrenching confessional, produced by a theatre company in exile, banned from performing in its heartland.
Listen to the podcast (mp3 –25.2mb / 52:54).
Read our writers' reviews and join the discussion around Minsk, 2011 on this website.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.
Cameron Woodhead is a senior theatre critic for the Age and is a prolific reviewer of performing arts in Australia.
Amanda Lohrey is the author of several acclaimed novels, including the award-winning Camille’s Bread, as well as Vertigo, The Philosopher’s Doll and The Morality of Gentlemen.
Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie writer whose work celebrates Aboriginal people and others living around the margins of the First World. Her latest novel, Too Much Lip, won the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance. Her novel Mullumbimby was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and Stella Prize, shortlisted for the Kibble Literary Award, and won the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing.
Between the rise of new media and the shrinking of the old, arts criticism is evolving fast.
While blogs and online forums have opened the conversation to anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection, professional critics fiercely guard their status as informed arbiters of art. What’s the difference between opinion and criticism? Does it really matter?
The Wheeler Centre and Melbourne Festival are bringing criticism off the page (and screen) and onto the stage, with a dynamic events series that brings together some of Australia’s finest creative writers, a cast of international critics — and you.
Join us for a morning series of ‘live criticism’ cafe events on selected Melbourne Festival shows, and an expert panel on the future of criticism itself.
We’ve enlisted some of Australia’s most creative writers – Malcolm Knox, Amanda Lohrey, Melissa Lucashenko, Chloe Hooper and Shane Maloney – to craft personal responses to the Festival’s shows for our website, for people to discuss. Delve.
Supported by ABC Arts.