Published on April 22nd, 2020 | by Andrew Bistak

Arts Centre Melbourne teams up with John Foreman and his Aussie Pops Orchestra for digital live variety show: Arts Centre Melbourne’s Big Night In

Arts Centre Melbourne, one of Australia’s most important artistic hubs for more than 35 years, has teamed up with John Foreman’s Aussie Pops Orchestra to present a weekly live digital show, Arts Centre Melbourne’s  Big Night In with John Foreman every Wednesday at 7pm, starting on 29 April. In a time of physical isolation, the program will be live streamed on Arts Centre Melbourne’s website and provide audiences with uplifting, inspiring, fun and familiar entertainment that reconnects artists with audiences.

John Foreman, the much-loved musical director, pianist and composer, catches up with different stars of the entertainment industry each week from their homes about their career highlights and favourite showbiz stories. They chat and perform some long-distance piano and vocal numbers. Then, as the spectacular finale of each episode, the artist is joined (virtually) by the 60-piece Aussie Pops Orchestra, which for more than 30 years has brought popular music to the people.

In the first episode John Foreman catches up with a beloved regular on the Australian theatre and music scene, Casey Donovan, and Australian musical theatre performer, Josh Piterman, who will dial in from London’s West End where he is currently starring in The Phantom of the Opera.

Episodes will feature cameo appearances from television, stage and screen stars including some of Arts Centre Melbourne’s most popular performers, a weekly appearance by a “Hollywood star”, and some satirical political commentary. Viewers can also expect some fun, digital audience participation.

“For more than 35 years Arts Centre Melbourne has provided stages for some of our most loved performers. When we closed our venues we were faced with the question of ‘how do we continue to bring audiences together, to bring artists together and to provide them with a stage from which they can perform?’ says Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer, AM.

“When the opportunity came up to work with John Foreman and his Aussie Pops Orchestra we jumped at the chance to bring an Arts Centre Melbourne experience straight into people’s lounge rooms.

“We think this show will be an extraordinary experience that we hope will bring a little bit of joy to people during this strange time. It is also a great opportunity to support our performers and musicians and share their talents with as many people as possible.”

“I’m thrilled that Arts Centre Melbourne is creating a fantastic, new, virtual platform for artists,’’ says musical director, pianist and composer, John Foreman OAM.

“Obviously it’s not the same as performing in the magnificent Hamer Hall or the stunning State Theatre – and our Aussie Pops Orchestra are all phoning in their parts from their homes – but the joy of performing to an audience is undiminished, and our combined commitment to bringing audiences the very best music, from many genres, is as strong as ever”.

Recently John Foreman rallied artists including Rhonda Burchmore, Casey Donovan, Bert and Patti Newton and Courtney Act to support the arts community through a united video of these artists singing “What a Wonderful World”, backed by a virtually-conducted orchestra. The clip went viral, receiving over 200,000 views in just seven days. There was heartfelt gratitude and pleasure from many who have watched and re-watched.

Arts Centre Melbourne announced on 15 March the cancellation of all scheduled performances and events and temporary closure of its buildings to the public due to COVID-19. Now Arts Centre Melbourne is focussed on finding new ways to engage with audiences including the digital online hub – Together with You.

On Wednesday 29 April at 7pm audiences can access Arts Centre Melbourne’s Big Night In with John Foreman via Arts Centre Melbourne digital initiative Together with You on Arts Centre Melbourne’s website.

Arts Centre Melbourne’s Big Night In with John Foreman
Weekly from Wednesday 29 April, 2020 at 7pm  

About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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