Conservatory creates a poignant, illuminated narrative of a lone, human-animal as they journey into the unknown and find their place amidst the world’s multitude of non-human inhabitants.

Shifting from the macro to the miniature, we glimpse moments of this child-like being’s exterior and interior worlds, through both the glass windows of the greenhouse and the lens of the cameras. Set within this plant-filled biosphere, we watch as they explore the limits of their space, find happiness in simple things, and imagine the impossible.

Conservatory is presented for the first time in four unique acts; one nightly over four nights. Each act is performed live from within the greenhouse and simultaneously live-streamed to audiences around the world. Audiences are invited to watch in person (through the greenhouse windows) and online (via a four-camera live feed), as this unexpected coming-of-age story is played out through music, costume, physical theatre, sparklers, rain and fairy floss.

Conservatory performance times:

Thursday 15 June – 6:00pm to 7.30pm
Friday 16 June – 7.30pm to 9:00pm
Saturday 17 June – 7.30pm to 9:00pm
Sunday 18 June – 6:00pm to 7.30pm

Can’t make it? Click here to view the performance livestream on YouTube

About the Artist

Conservatory is created by Melbourne-based artist Niow and artist-led collective, Melinda Hetzel & Co. It premiered in Stonnington as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival 2020 and was nominated for Melbourne Fringe Best Experimental Work.

Niow is a performer, costume designer and visual artist with a background in large scale puppetry (War Horse, Cirque Du Soleil, Snuff Puppets, Blanck Canvas) and theatre for young audiences (Polyglot Theatre, Sarah Austin, Ballroom Projects). Niow’s own practice combines a strong design aesthetic with physical performance and meaningful audience engagement. Often durational and site specific, always accessible to a multi-age audience, and with a focus on playfulness. Previous work includes ‘Lake’ (Melbourne Fringe), ‘Nuku’ (Geelong After Dark) and ‘Phoenix’ (War-rak Festival).

Melinda Hetzel & Co. collaborate to create extraordinary site-responsive and participatory artworks, which invite audiences to experience and participate in art in new ways. We pursue a fascination with how live arts, in combination with new technologies, can affirm threads of interconnectedness between human beings and the rapidly changing world in which we live.

Collaboration is at the heart of our practice, which spans live performance, interactive installation and lens-based image making – from musical tree-installation to live fortune-telling machine or promenade, augmented reality experience. Specialising in creating arts experiences within public space, this artist-led collective have been collaborating together with artistic director Melinda Hetzel since 2013.

This body of work builds on Niow and Hetzel’s previous decade of collaboration as core artists within visual theatre company Peepshow Inc.

City of Stonnington acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which we stand, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.


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