Festival Well


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Coming together and delivering a wide range of events in a short period of time can bring a whole city, region or place alive with art and entertainment – and create a vibe that little else can replicate.

That said, the intensity of festival delivery, long hours, hectic schedules, unpredictability and last-minute changes creates a rollercoaster of highs-and-lows that can take its toll on your mental health and wellbeing.

This guide does not replace what you already know. Instead, we hope it builds on our collective strengths and offers ideas and techniques you might not have yet tried.

"Festival Well is a vital resource in our daily practice of producing festivals. It's a tough gig - and the tools in this guide are essential for keeping everyone healthy throughout the festival cycle."

Festival Well includes:


Festival Well is a resource of the Arts Wellbeing Collective, an initiative of Arts Centre Melbourne, with generous support from the Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation. The content was reviewed and informed by many passionate performing arts workers from a range of roles, companies, and backgrounds who have shared their stories, ideas, and experiences.

Bringing together the Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night into a brand new cultural happening, RISING is a new festival: a surge of art, music, performance and ceremony in the heart of Melbourne. Celebrating the rise of the full moon and the falling of night, the city is energised with large-scale installations, performance, and communal ritual; an open call to take part in the making of a new tradition for Melbourne.

Chris Cheers is a psychologist, facilitator and lecturer based in Melbourne. Before training as a psychologist, Chris worked for arts organisations across Australia, developing a rich understanding of the industry. Chris Cheers Psychology specialises in providing mental
health support and workshops to clients in the arts,
performance and creative industries.

Chris is an endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologist and also has expertise in supporting LGBTIQ+ clients across all ages. Chris has been a university Lecturer in Psychology since 2011 and is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Alcohol and Policy Research at La Trobe University.

Glenda Chi is the Director and Purpose Coach at WHY Discovery, working with creative individuals, businesses and organisations in the arts and design sector. Glenda’s work is focused on helping people discover their purpose and creating purpose-led strategies to shape lives and workplace cultures.

Romi Kupfer is a contemporary theatre maker, director and producer. Romi’s practice has evolved since 2013 through practical experience collaborating with companies, artists and communities as well as theatre training. Romi holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Honours) from Monash University and a Masters of Directing for Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley is a NIDA graduate in Directing, and currently works as a clinical psychologist who consults to companies such as Bell Shakespeare, Arts on Tour and CDP Theatre Producers. Jane is also the research stream lead for the InsideOut Institute for
Eating Disorders, University of Sydney.

Jane has experience as a large event specialist choreographer with extensive touring experience, and has worked on Pan American, Commonwealth and Olympic Games Ceremonies.

Dr Melissa Ree has a Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology. Melissa specialises in the psychosocial management of adults with insomnia and sleep difficulties through evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Melissa works in both clinical and research roles and is active in treatment, training, and research into the psychological aspects of insomnia, anxiety and depression and has published a number of papers and treatment protocols on the topic.

Annie Strauch is the Director of Performance Medicine and is a passionate performance physiotherapist with extensive experience working with professional performers and athletes and is one of Australia’s leading Vocal Physiotherapists. Annie holds both a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy and Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and believes that every Performing Artist deserves bespoke attention and elite physiotherapy care.

Annie’s passion for the Performing Arts developed on London’s West End where she learnt much about the Performing Arts industry and the importance of Vocal Physiotherapy. She now manages the physical healthcare of many Australian touring shows, is the resident physiotherapist for the Melbourne Theatre Company and is passionate about bringing the Art and the Science together.

Melbourne Fringe Festival is an open access festival championing cultural democracy – art for anyone. Fringe celebrates freedom of artistic expression, taking voices from the margins and amplifying them across the city. Fringe embraces risk through an uncurated festival which supports anyone to participate.

Melbourne Fringe is a festival unlike any other. It takes place in theatres and galleries, but also in living rooms, in alleyways, in bookshops and libraries, in restaurants and cafes, in the backseat of cars – anywhere you can imagine. By pushing boundaries and illuminating new thoughts and ideas, Melbourne Fringe Festival transforms not only Melbourne’s places but its people too. Not many come out the same way they go in.


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