Melbourne’s leading arts organisations are coming together this summer for one major, collaborative arts festival of which we haven’t seen the likes before.

Spread over five weekends in January and February 2015, SummerSalt at the Southbank Arts Precinct will feature unique cultural mash-ups from Melbourne Recital Centre, Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Chunky Move, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company, National Gallery of Victoria, The Australian Ballet and Victorian College of the Arts among many others. Festival director Kirsten Siddle says, “This kind of intensive collaboration between so many major arts organisations has never been attempted before, and certainly not on this scale.”

The festival features a largely family friendly program of theatre, music, dance and interactive art during the day with things getting more grown-up after dinner. Most of the activities are free with a few low-cost events thrown in the mix, too. Siddle says, “The Festival program is really interactive and aims to encourage people to explore the arts precinct, as well as feel involved in the art-making.”

Speaking of involvement, that also includes your dog. Over on the ACCA forecourt, Farnsworth’s Republic for Dogs will become a dog park (with 'dog-obstacles' and 'luxury dog beds') that, alongside exhibition Menagerie, will explore the link between humans and other animals in a participatory setting.

Siddle is most excited about the unique Sour Times project that combines GPS location services on your phone with real-life clues. You download the app, choose a character, and you have to piece together the misadventures the character experienced the night before. “It’s quite a dark mystery where you can interact with people and props with triggers sent to your phone to guide you along.”

Exxopolis, the inflatable, luminous labyrinth that we last saw at the Stonnington Glow Festival, will be making its comeback at SummerSalt, too.

Siddle hopes the outdoor nature of the festival will open up new experiences for punters who may not usually engage with the arts. “By taking the festival outdoors you immediately relax everyone. And without the rather intimidating structural elements, you can create a much friendlier environment for everyone.”

SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival 2015
Various locations in Southbank
Friday January 23 to Saturday 21 February

summersaltfestival.com.au