Melbourne's after dark art events

Indulge in the dark arts – literally – with these evening events. Featuring festivals, haunted theatre shows, after-hours gallery visits and more.

Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ: AfterMATH by Ash Wednesday

Hear Australian electronica pioneer Ash Wednesday premiere his new work AfterMATH on the 10,000-pipe Grand Organ. From his 70s punk and synthpop roots, Ash plays with odd numbers and chance in this stunning response to the onset of illness and loss of use of his right side. Support by Nina Buchanan and RMIT Digital Media students. 25 September, from 7pm. Free.

A stage lit up in a theatre with purple spotlights

The Grand Organ at Melbourne Town Hall

Rite of Spring at Melbourne Festival

Rite of Spring (3-6 October) is a must-see event at this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival. Choreographer Ying Liping, known in China as the ‘Peacock Princess’ returns with a work of theatrical imagination off the back of her 2017 spectacle, Under Siege. Exploring Chinese and Tibetan ideas about life, death and rebirth, it features original music and Igor Stravinsky’s instantly recognisable score from the 1913 ballet of the same name.

Meat Market after dark

If you want more from Melbourne Festival, Meat Market has got it in spades. A risque experimental dance performance arrives in the form of ‘Split‘ by Lucy Guerin. More non-traditional performance awaits with Token Armies, a futuristic and mechanical extravaganza with a few tricks up its sleeve. Then the self-described ‘OH&S nightmare’ that is High Performance Packing Tape pushes boundaries beyond your wildest workplace dreams – you could only get away with this stuff under the cover of darkness.

A Midnight Visit

You’ve probably heard by now that this Edgar Allan Poe-inspired immersive theatrical experience in an abandoned North Melbourne warehouse is pretty spooktastic. So what are you waiting for? Get your tix quick sticks, because A Midnight Visit is only on until 13 October. This encounter with the macabre is part choose-your-own-adventure, part performance, part sound world and surreal playground. Good thing there’s a bar on-site so you can calm your nerves before or after.

A performer in the middle of a pink ball pit with two other performers beside him

A Midnight Visit

Free 2040 screening

Get inspired to take climate action at a special pedal-powered cinema screening of ‘2040’, a family friendly look at the climate crisis. Head to Meat Market for nibbles, film and panel Q&A with director Damon Gameau and guests. 20 Sep from 5pm.

NGV Friday Nights

Running on Fridays during the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition, these nighttime sessions feature the likes of CLYPSO, Slum sociable, Sloan Peterson and more. Book in and head down for some culture, a boogie and some eats from dumpling slingers Hutong serving some delicious Chinese dishes.

An outdoor party with sparkling lights hung overhead

NGV Friday nights. Image courtesy of NGV International.

Club Fringe

After you’ve seen the sights, sounds and sensational performances of Melbourne Fringe, kick on into the early hours at the awesome Club Fringe. On Thursday to Saturday during the festival, this late-night party features everything from millennial choir shows to a Janet Jackson tribute night. Improve your way of life at Club Fringe until 27 September.

A crowded party atmosphere with disco balls hanging from the ceiling

Melbourne Fringe Festival

Melbourne’s most wanted

You’ll be damn disappointed if you miss the awesome Queens of the Damned theatre restaurant show. Set in the spooky surround of the Old Melbourne Gaol, this burlesque slash comedy slash dining extravaganza has something haunted in store for every thrill seeking theatre lover. Join the lock up every Saturday night.

Screen and sound at SIGNAL

Rest your eyes and take a stroll through the SIGNAL sound walk, where soundscapes by emerging artists play along Flinders Walk until the early evening. Then take your love of the big screen riverside and view the amazing new additions to SIGNAL’s digital facade. The latest screen commissions feature beautiful works by up and coming artists, best viewed once the sun has set.

Try out interactive art in the park

What would it be like if a park bench could sense your presence and respond with pulsating neon lights? Try out the new public artwork When Echoes Find Light in Carlton’s Argyle Square Carlton. 9 to 25 September nightly from 6pm.

Woman sits on lit-up park bench at night with trees, park and city silhouetted in the background

Interactive art in the park