How COVID cancellations can enrich a festival

A festival three years in the making, RISING offers multiple entry points for people unfamiliar with contemporary arts experiences.
A vivid green laser beam almost a kilometre long shines above the Yarra River at night.

RISING Co-Artistic Directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek could be forgiven for feeling a trifle anxious about their 2022 festival, given that COVID forced its outright cancellation in 2020 and shut down RISING’s 2021 iteration after a single night.

Instead, they’re quietly confident about this year’s RISING, which Obarzanek describes as a ‘three-years-in-the-making festival’.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts