The team at Bendigo Venues and Events are planning for a big 2022 under its new manager Julie Amos.
Ms Amos came to BVE in November after previous manager David Lloyd departed the organisation in January, 2021, after 16 years in the role.
With a background spanning more than 20 in the arts sector including Circus Oz, Orchestra Victoria and The Australian Ballet, Ms Amos said she jumped at the chance to work for a strong regional arts organisation.
"I have always loved Bendigo, my first first interactions with it were with Orchestra Victoria when we started the Bendigo Festival in 2015," she said. "That was first time in Bendigo and we ran 16 or 17 concerts in the space of a week in the venues I now get to manage.
"I just fell in love with the city but I never thought I would the get the opportunity to move away from the city. When this position came up, I had to jump at it."
Among the Bendigo venues Ms Amos will manage are The Capital, Bendigo Town Hall and Ulumbarra Theatre, which she feels a special connection to.
"The venues are incredible. I think (Orchestra Victoria) were one of first sold-out events in Ulumbarra when it first opened, so there is a special connection," she said. "I remember it opening and people asking how its name was pronounced.
"Everyone in the arts community was talking about Bendigo and the venues it has. There is such rich cultural history in Bendigo and the acoustics in many of the buildings are second to none."
Ms Amos said Bendigo's reputation as an arts hub meant visitors could get the same quality shows as in a major city coupled with regional hospitality.
"As a regional city, Bendigo has so much to offer in comparison to a metropolitan arts area," she said. "When you come to a place like Bendigo, you are in a regional centre.
"We have this amazing art gallery next door, the Golden Dragon Museum, the Stupa and a lot more to offer as a visitor experience. Someone coming from Melbourne would get the same quality as a show they saw in a major capital city."
This year, Ms Amos and BVE plan to present a full season that includes previously postponed and cancelled shows as well as newly-released productions.
A full season launch will be held on January 25 but many tickets have already been released to the public including performances from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and The Australian Ballet.
"Under COVID it is a bit different. A lot of shows are already on sale but we have saved a few surprises for later in the year," she said. "But we are open for business with a fantastic program and would love to see as many people as possible. We have all the big ones coming including Opera Australia and the Melbourne Opera.
"(The Melbourne Opera) are performing The Valkyrie, which is part of (Wagner's) The Ring Cycle. I would hazard a guess Bendigo is the only regional city to stage part of a Ring Cycle. It's a fairly phenomenal undertaking and I'm proud Bendigo gets to present it.
"Black Cockatoo also looks amazing. It's a play by Wesley Enoch, an amazing Indigenous author and actor, and is about the first Indigenous international cricketer. I'm really excited about that one.
"Arts and sport are often coupled together but seen separately. I see them as more similar than most people. They are both about going out and having a good time. I don't think theatre is high art - it's for everyone."
With so many shows planned for this year, Ms Amos said live entertainment venues remained at the mercy of coronavirus.
"We are at the mercy of the virus but we are eternal optimists at BVE," she said. "We are planning like everything is going to happen. We will keep presenting amazing performances until we are told we can't do that.
"Safety is a huge concern for us but if we can present works and feel like we are an important part of the community...
"We're really in an amazing place where we are spoiled for choice. Just because the pandemic happened, doesn't mean artists stopped creating. The quality of performances available in 2022 is unprecedented."
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