Martin Ollman

NewActon Cultural Program

NewActon is an award-winning cultural precinct in the heart of Canberra featuring a wonderful mix of hospitality, residential and commercial tenants. Employed by Molonglo in 2011, Dionysus founder David Caffery initiated and rapidly grew the NewActon Cultural Program into a high-quality array of experiences for hundreds of thousands of people.

David’s background in cultural philosophy at the Australian National University imbues the program with a unique acceptance and investigation of modern culture in its countless forms. The program has integrated all types of art into architectural and hospitality settings through festivals, markets, kids and mature-age concerts, talks and workshops, exhibitions, screenings, health programs and dance parties. The program has supported the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Symphony Orchestra and many smaller arts organisations whilst activating NewActon. During 2018 and 2019, Dionysus also managed a café and events space owned by Molonglo to activate the ground-plane of Nishi in tandem with Palace Cinema.

For close to a decade, the NewActon Cultural Program has been a constant offering of cultural diversity and community engagement for its residents and visitors – designed, delivered and communicated by Dionysus.

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To create and maintain a cultural precinct that enriches the lives of residents and visitors.

Roles

Design, deliver and communicate cultural initiatives within NewActon.

When

October 2011 - March 2020

Initiatives

Art, Not Apart Festival, Sound and Fury Performance Art Party, Cellar Door Wine Market, Kids Cushion Concerts, and 33 other programs.

Kids Cushion Concerts

A cornerstone of the NewActon Cultural Program, Kids Cushion Concerts are educational and entertaining performances designed for young ones to enjoy during the school holidays. Set in iconic locations such as Nishi Grand Stair and Nishi Gallery, the events regularly feature Canberra Symphony Orchestra musicians in small ensembles presenting both classics like Peter and the Wolf, and new works.

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

Fun and educational concerts for 3-10 year olds, regularly presented in partnership with Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

Roles

Design, deliver and communicate the Kids Cushion Concerts from conception

Size

5 musicians, 50 kids, 50 parents

When

April 2014 - ongoing

Regularity

2 shows every school holiday period

Martin Ollman

Cellar Door Market

Cellar Door is a weekly wine and produce market presented with support from the Canberra District Wine Association. Bringing together a different selection of vendors every Saturday afternoon, locals can access the region’s finest wines and produce at their very doorstep and speak directly to the growers and producers.

Dionysus designed Cellar Door after identifying a gap in the sector for a regular and centrally located market for Canberra region wine and artisan goods. Having since become a stalwart on the Canberra food and wine calendar, the markets are set to relocate from NewActon to Dairy Road in late 2020.

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

A showcase of Canberra district wineries and producers in an iconic location.

Type

Local Wine and Produce Market

Roles

Design, deliver and communicate Cellar Door.

Size

6-9 stalls, 400+ attendees

When

July 2018 - Ongoing (paused due to covid)

Regularity

Weekly

Martin Ollman

Art, Not Apart Festival

Art, Not Apart is a convergence of creative Canberra, culminating in an enormous day of concerts, exhibitions, performance art, film and moving image, street art, immersive installations, spontaneous interventions, street food and wild afterparties. From humble beginnings, the event has organically become a reflection of the local cultural industries and Canberra’s largest contemporary arts festival.

Cross-disciplinary works are a focus, with some commissioned, and all are carefully placed throughout the festival footprint which has centred around NewActon, Canberra. Throughout the years, the festival has spread to neighbouring venues such as National Film and Sound Archive, The Shine Dome, Australian National University, Westside and West Basin Foreshore.

The festival isn’t just about art, but uses art as a metaphor. Art, Not Apart is about fading boundaries. Giving light to the lesser heard, lesser seen, and inspiring new perspectives. Since its launch, the festival has presented more than 2,000 artists to over 100,000 attendees. In 2020, the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary with an extended program of events held at the iconic Albert Hall.

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To hold a mirror to Canberra's culture as a festival showing Canberra's biggest program of contemporary local artists.

Roles

Design, deliver and communicate Art, Not Apart.

When

March 2012 - ongoing

Regularity

Annual

Initiatives

2000+ artists presented to 100,000+ people over 10 festivals, including launching The Soul Defender, Sound and Fury, Extinction and tech-yes.

Cole Bennetts

Suitcase Rummage

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To encourage reuse of clothes and household objects over waste and new crap with a twist on regular market stalls - perfect for apartment dwellers.

Roles

Design the layout and music and deliver in collaboration with Suitcase Rummage (national)

Size

Up to 60 stallholders with ~1000 attendees per event

When

2013 - 2020

Regularity

Seasonally

Caitlin Welch

Greek Film Festival

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To share Greek film, food and culture with the Canberra region.

Roles

To facilitate music and festivities throughout the course of the festival, with event managers and support staff.

Size

6 films, 600+ attendees

Where

Throughout NewActon and the National Film & Sound Archives (NFSA)

Established

2013

Regularity

Annually

Martin Ollman

Carols in Nishi Grand Stair

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To celebrate the holiday season and present choral music in a non-traditional venue.

Size

10+ performers, 200+ attendees

When

2013 - 2020

Regularity

Annually

Finn McGrath Weber

Melting Pot

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To regularly showcase intimate and improvised gigs with exceptional Australian

Size

5-8 musicians, 100+ attendees

When

March 2017 - ongoing

Martin Ollman

Courtyard Cinema

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

Outdoor cinema sessions in the NewActon courtyard for residents and visitors to unwind.

Size

1 film, 1 band, 130+ attendees

When

2013 - 2015

Regularity

Weekly during warm seasons

Old and New

Purpose

The re-launch of NewActon Pavilion after being devastated by fire in 2011.

Size

1 dancer, 6 circus performances, 8 performance artists, 23 musicians, 600+ attendees

When

November 2013

Digital Feast

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To showcase underground digital art in the A.Baker Basement.

Size

3 VJs, 3 DJs, 50+ attendees

When

2014 - 2015

Where

A. BAKER Basement, Newacton

Regularity

First Wednesday of the winter months of 2015, plus some extras

John Carolan

Strings in the Salon

Purpose

To present classical salon music with Canberra Symphony Orchestra ensembles in Monster Salon.

Size

2-8 musicians, 100+ attendees

When

2014 - 2017

Regularity

Seasonal, 4 shows a year

Martin Ollman

Bloody Lips

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To showcase the world’s best performance poets alongside local writers in Hotel Hotel.

Size

1 international artist, 3 local performance poets, 150+ attendees

When

2014 - 2016

Clothes Swap and Style

Client

Molonglo

Purpose

To promote sustainable fashion practices in a fun and educational format.

Size

1 facilitator, 2-4 models, 15-40 attendees

When

2016 - 2018

Regularity

A few times a year

Makeshift

Set in a prime location on the ground level of the iconic Nishi building, Makeshift is a carefully curated space operating as a cafe during weekdays and gun-for-hire event space on weeknights and weekends. Dionysus has been engaged to manage the venue and its operations whilst also developing cultural events for activation.

The inaugural Canberra Mod/Soul weekender was held over three days and nights on April 2018 a d featured the crème de la crème of Australia's Mod and Soul community. Some of Australia's best DJs and record collectors spent all weekend digging deep through crates of soul, ska and classic r&b vinyls - and of course, dancing.

Client

Molonglo

Martin Ollman