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Hello everyone,

Glorious Autumn is upon us and just as the leaves begin to change so are we. As you can see we have taken on a new look, please welcome our new visual identity and logo. Lovingly created by Josh Durham of Design by Committee, world renowned designer and local. Just another example of the incredible talent we have at our fingertips here in Castlemaine. This new look also signals that it is time to announce the curators for the 2019 festival. Working across visual arts, contemporary music, talks, thoughts and ideas, these people and organisations are set to deliver some brilliant programming for you, keep reading below to make their acquaintance. The emergence of our new livery also means that the program for 2019 is well and truly on its way, art is flying every which way here at the festival HQ and we cannot wait to share it with you.

Stay tuned!

Glyn Roberts

Festival Director

Meet our Curators

isual Arts — La Trobe Art Institute

La Trobe Art Institute (LAI) is excited to be involved with the Castlemaine State Festival and is taking a collaborative approach to the curating of the Visual Arts Program. The team consists of Professor Karen Quinlan, Dr Kent Wilson, Dr Karen Annett-Thomas and Travis Hodgson working together to present artwork from a variety of media. With experience developing and delivering dozens of exhibitions across public and private organisations, large-scale and intimate events, the LAI team bring a research-oriented focus to programming and a desire to inspire and educate a wide audience. Artists from Castlemaine and central Victoria will be joined by artists drawn from across Australia and Asia. With a focus on process-driven, culturally-engaged art practices, the program will present the best of contemporary art practice across a mix of sites and venues.

Contemporary Music, Film & Festival Club — Theatre Royal Castlemaine

The Theatre Royal team is made up of Andrea Distefano, Campbell Hynam-Smith, Felicity Cripps, Jono Hill and Tim Heath - a blend of musicians and film-makers with a local connection and a collected wealth of experience. They have owned and run the business at the famous theatre since the start of 2017 and have a strong interest in presenting a diverse program of film, music and hospitality to what they see as a varied and engaged community. They're excited to be part of the CSF in their first curatorial role and will be presenting work that has a strong emphasis on the incredible diverse and rich pool of Victorian talent with a peppering of artists form more far-flung places.

Communal: Talks, Thoughts & Ideas —
Lisa Dempster

We welcome Lisa Dempster as the curator of a new program we are calling COMMUNAL. A multitude of talks, panels, keynotes and workshops by some of the world’s best writers and thinkers that will explore ideas around living in a community and what that means for the future of humanity itself (and Castlemaine!). Lisa is an experienced curator in literature and ideas programming. Previously she has been Director Melbourne Writers Festival (2012 – 2017), where she co-curated and presented Jaipur Literature Festival Melbourne as part of AsiaTOPA in 2017; Artistic Director Emerging Writers’ Festival (2010 – 2012); and Founding Director of EWF’s innovative online programming arm, EWFDigital (now Digital Writers’ Festival). Lisa is the current Chair of human rights literary organisation Right Now Inc, and author of the recent travel memoir, Neon Pilgrim (Lisa is pictured above).

Castlemaine Goods Shed Update

CSF are proud to be able to share the Castlemaine Goods Shed with the Castlemaine community and beyond. We have commenced planning to transform this iconic building into a creative hub in heart of the town. Support from government, philanthropic and private donors will enable the first stage of a major conversion of this magnificent asset, delivering long term benefits into the future for the CSF and the community. We thank all our generous supporters who have donated and pledged contributions thus far to help us reach our fundraising goal of $900K for this capital development.

We continue to welcome arts practitioners and community members to have access to the Castlemaine Goods Shed through our venue hire program. Spacious and raw yet featuring Victorian architectural details and stunning acoustics, the space for hire offers 350 square meters of open plan floor space for developing, testing and presenting creative projects as well as hosting a broad range of events.

For further information about the above and exciting activity at the Castlemaine Goods Shed, please visit our website here.

Castlemaine Goods Shed Residency Program She-d.

CSF is excited to announce a new residency program at the Castlemaine Goods Shed: She-d. She-d hands over the keys of the Castlemaine Goods Shed to women-led arts organisations, projects and women artists to develop new work, explore new ideas and foster new creative partnerships. She-d residents receive free access to the Castlemaine Goods Shed development space and its facilities for one week, as well as billeted local accommodation for up to 3 non-local artists if required.

She-d will be an ongoing program with at least one residency awarded each year. In 2018, two residencies are available between 1 May and 31 August. While She-d. is not a women-only program, its goal is to nurture collaborative women-led practice, to facilitate development opportunities for women-led arts projects, to deepen existing partnerships and form new creative collaborations, alliances and networks among women artists. We now invite applications by women artists and women-led arts organisations to be considered for She-d. Apply for a She-d residency here.

oncert, Canapes & Wine at the Vines


As we get closer to our main event that we like to call the Castlemaine State Festival, we couldn’t keep at bay our itch for great performance. So this winter we are excited to be presenting a gorgeous not to be missed concert featuring the divine tenor Kanen Breen (Opera Australia), accompanied by the delightful pianist John O’Donnell at the stunning Sutton Grange Winery. If that weren’t enough on its own, guests will also have the privilege of indulging in post-concert winter wine tasting whilst polishing off a delicious array of canapes.

Date: Saturday 16 June 2018, 2-5pm
Where: Sutton Grange Winery, Carnochan’s Road, Sutton Grange
Cost: $80 per person (includes food & wine)

Transport: A bus option will be available when purchasing tickets.

Tickets go on sale in two weeks, keep your eyes on our Facebook page and Website for further updates.


CSF proudly supports Insert Self Here (ISH), the annual Queer Ideas, Activism and Arts Day held on Saturday 19 May in Castlemaine. ISH proposes to enliven a not so straight and narrow regional space for queer ideas, activism and arts. ‚Äč ISH comprises three queer events, which take place over the course of a single day. These events fall under the broad headings BOOKISH (writing & literature), LOOKISH (visual arts & film) and LIVEISH (performance & live art). ISH and ISH events propose to tap into, enliven and broaden, queer public social space regionally – space that either doesn’t exist or doesn’t occur organically outside our capital cities. In this space we will creatively discuss, explore and present queer ideas, activism and art.

Date: Saturday 19 May
Tickets: For BOOKISH, LOOKISH & LIVEISH via ISH Website.

Download:ISH Program here

The Chat-Warblers Let Fly Celebration!

Come celebrate the end of Jane Thompson’s 16 years as leader of the wonderful group of women, who have become Castlemaine’s much-loved community choir, The Chat-Warblers. Featuring special guests, fabulous local singer-songwriters Fay White, Saul Roche, Caithlin Meave, and from Melbourne, a rare chance to hear the wonderful Annie Kennedy. Then dance your socks off to the delightful and amazing cowboy swing band The Tequila Mockingbirds…. who present the dusty old cowboy classics from a near forgotten era of radio shows, black & white B-grade Westerns, faded technicolour Wild West musicals, and the swingin’ dance halls of Texas, Oklahoma & California from the 1930s to the 1950s…

Date: Saturday May 12, 7.30pm

Cost: Tickets $15 Single & $40 Family

Where: Theatre Royal Castlemaine

Purchase your ticket here or or at the door on the night!


Become a CSF Patron

Have you considered joining our Patrons Program? Our Patrons and Donors are our most passionate supporters. Your generous gift helps us deliver unique, inspiring and thought provoking experiences for audiences attending the Castlemaine State Festival. Enjoy specially tailored events, special access to artists and see your direct influence on making this festival the best it can be. For more information contact our Patrons Manager, Val Victor-Gordon via email
or phone us on 03 5472 3733, we would love to hear from you. Support the CSF by making a donation here.