This May 3–20, a surge of powerful artists from across Australia will bring transformative works to the fore as part of the country’s premier biennial event dedicated to the new generation of Australian art.

Across the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung lands of the Kulin nation in Melbourne, 31 world premiere productions will span 18 days of evocative experiences that question memories of the past, explore the turbulence of today and determine challenges of the future.

Spanning a democratic dinner party to a near death experience, a dog dancing competition to an unlikely collaboration between mother and son, the 2018 program brings together artists and audiences to share courageous stories that are told in ways that only Next Wave Festival can.

Now in its 34th year, Next Wave continues to blaze a trail across the country’s arts industry, crafting unique learning programs and presentation opportunities for artists that reflect a commitment to social and cultural diversity, environmental sustainability and inclusion.

Fifteen projects in the 2018 festival have been developed through Kickstart Helix, Next Wave’s flagship development program. A unique opportunity for Australian artists to not only present brand-new work, but to access the money, time and space required by young artists to develop ambitious projects and build a professional foundation in the arts into the future.

From printmakers, curators, installation artists and zine makers through to practitioners working in Islamic decorative arts, queer performance and radical alter-egos, the selected participants represent a diverse cross-section of identities and artistic practices operating in Australia today.

On the launch of her second Next Wave Festival program, Director and CEO, Georgie Meagher said:

“At a moment that feels more divided than ever, this Festival captures the unsettled mood of our times. It is full of energetic conversations and interrogations that play out in both earnest and light-hearted ways, with important moments of release from that intensity, with our keynote project Ritual, and a lot of parties.”

Ritual is the central pin in the 2018 program. Set to the rhythm of the sun, emerging artists and audiences are invited to pay respect to country and elders with a free event held at a different location every day of the festival. With a different performer leading the celebration daily, Ritual is born from a desire to create pockets of time and space for people to take a moment from their busy lives to connect, strengthen and reflect.

Tickets onsale now at