News of Bloomsday in Melbourne 2017


Dear Bloomsday Patron,

Happy New Year. We’ve been keen to share our programme for 2017 with you, and apologies for the delays but now, things are in place and here’s the good oil, at last:

Bloomsday 2017  

(it will blow your mind, and clear your sinuses! Glory, what will they think of next?)

Getting up James Joyce’s Nose

A Steampunk Extravaganza, directed by Wayne Pearn, in the Melba Spiegeltent….

Yes, it’s fresh, and a bit on the high side olfactorily speaking, but the scholars have barely arrived at the new Joyce frontier that we propose to unpack for your pleasure.

But first, a bit of history: Bloomsday in Melbourne has a long history (24 years now!) of taking a new facet of Joyce’s amazingly encyclopaedic novel, Ulysses, and exploring it in depth. We’ve investigated Joyce’s take on music, cinema, scandal, nationalism, gender politics, jesuitry, science, language, work, etc, etc. This year, 2017, it’s what he has to say about smell.

Why was what humans do with our noses an issue for him? Where does it take him?  You’ll be surprised, as we’ve been, that it takes him deeply into the everyday, the erotic, into the New Sexology of his time, to flirting with the crucial and heavily policed borderline between human and animal, and even to the edge of what is sacred. What we have found out astounded us. It’s a wild journey through the streets, into beds, up armpits and other orifices. and worse!  It’s fun, thought-provoking, even in some modalities, philosophical, and the Ulysses world will get a radical make-over in Wayne Pearn’s version of Bloomsday’s script.

In addition to our new and very exciting venue at the Melba Spiegeltent, home of Circus Oz in Collingwood, we’re also delighted to welcome back the inimitable Tatty Tenors (fresh from Brisbane, world tours of Anzac hotspots, and the odd footy final or two) who will make sure that the ears ring to Joyce’s pongs. Circus and high jinks are guaranteed. So, watch this space.

If you’re minded to support the enterprise, and help us to realize the dream (admittedly a dream, but the invitations are out!) to take this highly original play to Dublin in 2017-19, please think of not only organizing a party of theatre-goers between 15-19 June, but also of donating to Bloomsday in Melbourne via the Australian Cultural Fund (and be rewarded by a tax refund for your trouble). The form is to be found online at and accompanying this newsletter. It’s auspiced by the Australian Government.


The first Fringe Event for 2017:

Fair and Furious: The Women of the Táin

devised and performed by Niki na Meadhra

An event for all the family (kids over 7 welcome!)

Also back by popular acclaim for a (very short) season of immersion in the world of ancient Irish epic is Niki na Meadhra. She too is fresh from recharging batteries in her second home, Ireland, and is keen to share with us her newly garnered knowledge of Táin bó Cuailnge. It’s full of exaggeration, comedy and high drama, a lot of it engendered (engineered?) by the massive women characters – part human, part goddesses. Duelling males are a dime a dozen in heroic epic, but none is as spunky and as much of a challenge as the young Hound of Culann, Cuchulainn himself. So, why do the naked women on the field of battle worry him so much?  You’ll want to know!  And yes, it’s suitable for children over the age of 7. Niki is adept at catering to all ages! Winks and nods, you know the routines!  More information…..


When: Friday 24 Feb. at 8pm; and Saturday 25 Feb at 3pm.

Where: Celtic Club, cnr of Queen and LaTrobe Streets (probably our last performances there as the Club is soon to relocate)

Bookings: Phone 03 9898 2900 or book online, via the trusted Trybooking website.

Proceeds to Bloomsday 2017



Bloomsday in Melbourne is running more courses on Joyce than ever, and 2017 will see introductory courses on Ulysses at U3A Melbourne City (other U3A members may apply), a resumption of the very lively Finnegans Wake reading group, and an Introductory course on Ulysses at the Celtic Club. We’ve also been invited to give a course in Canberra.

In more detail:

  • Intensive introductory Ulysses course: U3A Melbourne City Campus, open to all U3A members. There may be a charge for those not enrolled at Melbourne City. Monday 27 Feb. 2017, from 10am – 5pm, at Multicultural Hub (opposite the Queen Vic market in Elizabeth St.), with lots of breaks. Phone U3A on 03 9639 5209. This will be followed by an advanced Ulysses course, spread over 8 weeks. Details of that course to come.
  • Intensive introductory Ulysses course (a Bloomsday fundraiser) at the Celtic Club on Saturday 25 March 12.30pm – 6.30pm (with breaks!). If there is a call for more advanced courses after this one has run, that will be considered.


Re-Joycing as always,

Bloomsday in Melbourne Committee, per Frances

Frances Devlin-Glass is the Director of Bloomsday in Melbourne and has been running it since 1994, mounting fresh theatrical adaptations and original plays, and a seminar, annually. The aim of Bloomsday in Melbourne is to share the joys of Joyce and to demystify him. This very lively group of Joyce enthusiasts has an international profile and was in 2004 invited to perform in Dublin. Frances has taught Joyce in Melbourne universities, and overseas, and to interested groups of readers since 1979. She enjoys the opportunity to continually engage with Joyce's texts and with other Joyceans.

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