So the Best Festival Ever team is in Melbourne this week, currently doing some script tweaks and prop fixes, and tightening the screws on the work in preparation for our season here next week. Three years after Arts House supported an early development of the work in 2013, we’re finally bringing the full show here, as part of the Performing Climates program.

This is the fourth city in three countries we’ve brought Best Festival Ever to, and coming up on our fiftieth show. It’s pretty exciting to get to bring the work to Melbourne, to share it with some of our favourite collaborators and supporters.

It’s nice to have a few days to dive back into the script, to really drill down into some key questions around what exactly we want to communicate from systems science, and how we can best frame these key ideas. And, of course, to get to play with our music festival storyline, and make sure it’s exactly as delightful and ridiculous as it should be.

The most exciting part from our perspective, though, is the post-show conversations with scientists. This is a really key feature of the show, where we unpack some of the ideas from climate and systems science that have informed the making of the work.

This season, we’re honoured to be joined by scientists including Mark Burgman (University of Melbourne), Dave Winkler (CSIRO), Anne-Marie Grisogono (Flinders University), Kevin Grove (Florida International University), Lauren Rickard (RMIT) and David Batten (CSIRO).

Tuesday 5 July – Mark Burgman
Mark Burgman is head of the school of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Conservation Biology. He works on ecological modelling, conservation biology and risk assessment.

Wednesday 6 July – Dave Winkler
CSIRO scientist Dave Winkler works across radioastronomy and compututational molecular design. He’s published on nanotechnology and regenerative medicine, and his work is often concerned with applying the tools of small molecule research to complex biological systems.

Thursday 7 July – Anne-Marie Grisogono
Joining us from Adelade is physicist Anne-Marie Grisogono, currently an adjunct professor in the Engineering Faculty of Flinders University. Anne-Marie worked for more than 20 years with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, applying complex systems science to the defence problems faced by Australian troops during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

Friday 8 July – Lauren Rickards and Kevin Grove
Resilience experts Lauren Rickards and Kevin Grove join us from RMIT and Florida International University, respectively. Both have worked applying resilience thinking to disaster governance and emergency management in areas such as the Caribbean, and cases such as the Hazelwood Mine fire in Victoria.

Sunday 10 July – David Batten
CSIRO systems analyst David Batten works with computer models to tackle real world problems such as Australia’s electricity, transport and water systems. He’s written ten books exploring how modelling and simulation can help us get to grips with real world complexity.

These discussions unpack some of the ways scientists use systems thinking to get to grips with the complex challenges facing us today. For us as artists, Best Festival Ever was always intended to provide the platform for these sorts of conversations, and it’s pretty exciting for us to be able to bring on board scientists and thinkers of this calibre.

If you’re keen to come along, you can head to the Facebook event for more details of time and place, and to grab tickets.

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