A night to be playful

June 7, 2024 BY

Attendees of Beings will be able to wear the playsuits for five to 15 minutes at a time.

A LETHBRIDGE creative is adding to an evening of surrealist celebration as part of Melbourne’s RISING arts festival next week.

About a dozen items of wearable art created by Samantha Thompson will feature in an upcoming after dark event at Federation Square called Beings, in partnership with the festival, ACMI, and Universal Everything.

Attendees will be able to put on “playsuits,” and Thompson said the experience is intended to reacquaint people with playfulness.

“Like a lot of artists, we play already, but I’m very interested in how to get adults to be more playful,” she said.

“People have forgotten what it is to frolic and jump around. So many have lost the ability to just run around and frolic in an outfit so it’s about recapturing that.

“The idea is to have people take a chance on a couple minutes of play. It’s three items; a large tulip skirt, a big fluffy overhead thing, and a headpiece that covers people’s faces.

“They change your gait and perspective to break down those fears behind being more free with your movement.”

The night will also see food, cocktails, and a pop-up arcade, as well as live music, performances, and installations courtesy of creatives DiTA, Harrison Ritchie-Jones, Lipelis, and Betty Grumble.

Dress ups: Samantha Thompson’s playsuits have been featured as part of public art performances in Melbourne and Sydney since their completion last year. Photo: CHUCK TANTRUMS


“It’ll be a party atmosphere with DJs and all types of things going on,” Thompson said.

The playsuits were developed during Thompson’s time undertaking a Masters of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts which she completed last year.

“I’ve had a lot of interaction with the playsuits in the public art aspect,” she said.

“I went to Sydney for two weeks as part of a festival up there, and got into Test Sites with City of Melbourne and did some interactions with students.

“It’s been successful in experimenting with the idea. I want to continue to grow the playsuits and make more.

“On the other stream, I’m thinking of maybe doing a bit more of a traditional performance so I’ve applied for opportunities to work with performing arts centres in developing that.”

The Beings event will take place from 7pm to 11pm on Thursday 13 June. Tickets are available via the ACMI website.