AMERICAN sitcom stars The Blanks, Australia’s rising stage siren Bernadette Robinson and a spectacular 1800-strong Country Fire Authority Torch Parade are among the highlights of this year’s SheppARTon Festival.
The 16th annual SheppARTon Festival which will run from March 8 to 12 brings choirs, theatre lovers, film fans, art and music devotees together for five inspiring days.
The festival is the last chance for Australian music fans to catch Ms Robinson in a concert version of her sell-out Melbourne show “Songs For Nobodies” before she jets to Broadway to continue her stellar rise.
Festival Artistic Director, John Head said, ‘‘It’s like booking The Beatles before they became famous.’’
John Head said the theme ‘Brave Voices’ celebrates the contribution of volunteers, particularly the CFA as the festival coincides with a visit by about 1800 CFA members and their families to Shepparton for the CFA Games.
‘‘There will be a spectacular welcome for them at the Shepparton Showgrounds during Saturday night’s free Twilight Festival.”
Mr Head said The Blanks were secured early after a tip-off that the American stars would be in Australia as part of a national tour. Also known as ‘‘Ted’s Band’’ or ‘‘The Worthless Peons’’ the four singing comedy actors from the American TV sitcom Scrubs will open the festival at WestSide PAC on Thursday, March 8, from 8.30 pm.
Other highlights of the 2012 festival program are the popular Shepparton Shorts Film Festival at LaTrobe University; Literary Lunch guest author Alex Miller, who will speak about his new book Autumn Laing; and Jazz at Friar’s featuring Australian jazz singer Sarah McKenzie. Regular events such as the free community Twilight Festival, Moonlight Cinema, Poet’s Breakfast, Wine’d Down in Dookie, and Art in the Park and many more, make up a jam-packed program.
A 28-page program of festival events is available at Riverlinks Box Office, Eastbank, Welsford St; the Shepparton Visitor Information Centre on Wyndham St; and many other outlets or more information is available at www.sheppartonfestival.net.au or facebook.com/sheppartonfestival
To buy tickets to festival events, phone Riverlinks on 5832 9511.