A volunteer community group, the Shepparton Arts Festival Inc., was established in May 1995 to run an annual community event for the Greater Shepparton area.
Since then, the SheppARTon Festival has been successfully staged every year (1997-2011) and is regarded as a major calendar event within regional Victoria.

The diverse program achieves a balance between the innovative and the mainstream in a way that was calculated to appeal to a wide audience.

This year’s festival incorporates over 40 events, covering everything from Music to Art and Literature and Performance.  We’ve picked out our highlights for your enjoyment.

For a full listing of events, check out their website:

1. Festival Opening
Thursday 8 March
WestSide Performing Arts Centre
Echuca Rd, Mooroopna
7:00pm – 8:00pm

Free Food… Free Wine… And a free overview of some of the acts taking place as part of the biggest SheppARTon Festival ever!

Come and get an overview of the Brave Voices theme. This free gala opening includes food, drink and entertainment. Experience a traditional welcome and partake in delectable Eastbank Food’s offerings while sipping on Tallis wine as you get an overview of the jam packed festival program. You’ll see previews of the major events, learn the background to the festival theme and hear the wonderful choral rendition of the Brave Voices festival song by Cyndi Archer under the direction of the talented Tricia Sargant.

2. The Blanks
Thursday 8 March
WestSide Performing Arts Centre
Echuca Rd, Mooroopna
$27 Full | $24 Conc | $24 Festival Friends

Directly after the festival opening, the SheppARTon Festival is proud to present, in partnership with Riverlinks the exciting international act, The Blanks.
The Blanks also known as Ted’s Band or The Worthless Peons on the American TV sitcom Scrubs are here! It’s the same four guys from the show, including Sam Lloyd (who plays the character Ted Buckland, the bald attorney guy who Dr. Kelso is always picking on).
Even if you’re not a fan of Scrubs, you’ll love the stage performance. The Blanks live stage show is a unique and entertaining mix of a cappella and sketch comedy, guaranteed to produce laughs from all ages and backgrounds. The Blanks will perform songs from Scrubs including Charles In Charge, Underdog, Don’t Fear The Reaper, along with some originals. Expect just enough dancing and costume changes and loads of laughs.


3. Jazz at Friars featuring Sarah McKenzie
Friday 9 March
Friars Cafe
Fryers St, Shepparton
$25 Full | $22 Conc | $22 Festival Friends
The most popular event in the festival program, Jazz at Friars will feature the magnificent voice of Sarah McKenzie. Sarah’s rise through the ranks of the Australian music scene has been meteoric, aided by frequent appearances at venues like Bennett’s Lane, The Paris Cat, and major festivals.
Her musical pedigree is impeccable, having been mentored by legends like Graeme Lyall, Jamie Oehlers and James Morrison, with whom she has performed at major concert venues including The Basement in Sydney, the Stonnington Jazz Festival and the Stones of the Yarra Valley. Enjoy this delightful evening in the funky church turned café.

4. Choir Workshops (Two Sessions)
Saturday 10 March
McIntosh Centre
Shepparton Showgrounds
11:00am and 4:00pm

Do you want to get into the spirit of the SheppARTon Festival, Brave Voices theme? Then come along and join the choir for the magnificent Brave Voices Community Performance.
Under the direction of the very talented choir master Tricia Sargant, these workshops will take place in the lead up to the two community performances occurring at the Twilight Festival later the same day on the evening of Saturday 10 March. Children interested in being involved in the Lantern Parade at 8:30pm will learn a song written by Jorja Bromley as part of the Brave Young Voices Community Performance. And anybody who is keen to be involved in the main Brave Voices Community Performance and
the song written by Cyndi Archer can come along to learn their parts in this majestic event.
This is a non threatening inclusive environment for any one interested in raising spirits and defining the festival theme in a celebration of the people in our communities who stand up bravely for others.

5. Young Brave Voices Community Performance
Saturday 10 March
Shepparton Showgrounds

This project encourages children to learn about and participate in the festival’s Brave Voices theme.
The performance includes the lanterns made prior to and during the Twilight Festival and the Brave Young Voices song learnt during the Choir Workshop at 11:00am.
The lanterns will be used to decorate the Showgrounds during the event. Children present at the Twilight Festival will march into the grandstand with their lanterns to the tune of a beautiful song by Georgia Sofra and then sing along to the Brave Young Voices theme song by the talented young singer, Jorja Bromley.
The performance will finish with spectacular fireworks. Children may keep the lanterns at the conclusion of the performance.
Please note: This is an all abilities inclusive event. We welcome children 6-16 to join the parade on the evening, volunteer numbers permitting. It is not compulsory for children who have made lanterns to take part in the performance.

6. This Is What Happened
Sunday 12 March
La Trobe University
Fryers St, Shepparton
$15 Full | $12 Conc | $12 Festival Friends

Following its sold out 2011 Melbourne season, The New Performance Company returns to provide a “funny, light, and compellingly dramatic night of theatre”.
From RACV “subwoofer Dame” on our TV screens to director of minimalist, engaging, and intimate theatre, Brenda Palmer brings, her vast directing and performance experience and collaborates with 3 esteemed Melbourne writers and 3 experienced Melbourne actors to produce an afternoon of entertaining and thought provoking theatre.
The show comprises short plays that are woven together to tell stories about modern life, split families, silly arguments, and internet dating.

7. Dare To Be Faceless (Festival Finale)
Monday 12 March
WestSide Performing Arts Centre
Echuca Rd, Mooroopna
$26 Full | $22 Conc | $22 Festival Friends

SheppARTon Festival and Riverlinks present a Shepparton Theatre Arts Group Inc. (STAG) and Artistic Merit production of Dare to be Faceless.
As the closing event of this year’s SheppARTon Festival we are proud to play host to the Australian premiere of the new play, Dare to be Faceless. Originally commissioned by the iconic La Mama Theatre, this will be performed by a talented local STAG cast including new members from Shepparton’s African communities.
Mkipo and Andy have lived fundamentally different lives. One has fled war and crossed oceans to begin a new life; the other has fallen from grace from a powerful, privileged and fast-paced life. Both share a journey of redemption as they find the way to save each other. This is a powerful story of the fundamental celebration of the humanity we share – the experiences of grief, tragedy, loss, justice and hope are intertwined in this moving story. You will experience great joy and compassion as we share a fantastic night of theatre.
Playwright Simon Tengende is a writer, director, performer and community cultural development practitioner originally from Zimbabwe. Whilst most of his work is dedicated to
exploring the political realities of life in modern Zimbabwe, he also has a keen interest in the impact of the Australian society on African migrants.

Director: Marc McIntyre
Playwright: Simon Tengende
Community Producer: Angie Russi
Community Liaisons: Agoot Akau and Derrick Bwihambi
For a full listing of the rest of the events included in the festival go to this link: http://www.sheppartonfestival.net.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=15:events&Itemid=28&layout=default