ARTS

Perth Festival lights up for 2020  

[supplied by UWA]

Bangarra's Benelong. Image: Daniel Boud

Perth Festival’s epic summer celebration of people and place bursts into brilliant life this weekend to welcome everyone to share another fantastic February full of promise and wonder. 

 

The first of hundreds of free and ticketed events are thrilling Perth audiences already, led by Indigenous performances and exhibitions across our sparkling city standing on Noongar Boodjar.

 

The ravishing dance of Bennelong, the big-hearted musical Bran Nue Dae and the world’s first Noongar-language Shakespearean adaptation Hecate are wowing packed theatres as we leap into our opening weekend.

 

Fresh from the rave reviews of its world-premiere in Sydney is Buŋgul, an extraordinary live audio-visual tribute to Gurrumul and his rich Elcho Island culture led by Yolŋu dancers, songmen and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. 

 

Buŋgul is just one of the many opening highlights at Perth Concert Hall, where our exciting new City of Lights entertainment and community precinct transforms the iconic venue into the ultimate indoor-outdoor summer hangout.

 

City of Lights is the place to meet, make new friends and soak up the vibe of great music, fantastic food and plenty of bar options from Market Alley, the Bumpling House and the Free Stage and Main Stage at the new outdoor hotspot Chevron Lighthouse. This multicultural city within a city is like the old Chevron Gardens down the road at Elizabeth Quay - only bigger and much better.

 

Hip-hop hero Briggs, from A.B. Original, kicks off the action at Chevron Lighthouse tonight with his Bad Apples House Party and special guests Birdz and Miiesha. Musical spirits will soar all weekend with Spinifex Gum featuring Marliya, the Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and guests on Saturday and the euphoric soul of Ngaiire and Emma Donovan on Sunday.

 

Stunning exhibitions from Kimberley visual magician John Prince Siddon, Cheeky Dogs illustrator Dion Beasley and acclaimed Noongar artist Sandra Hill also open this weekend.

The first-weekend treats include the openings of the mesmerising VR experiences of Lynette Wallworth’s Awavena and Laurie Anderson’s and Hsin-Chien Huang’s Chalkroom, while the ever-popular Ballet at the Quarry returns to the glorious natural setting of the Quarry Amphitheatre.

 

These are just some of the more than 250 diverse and accessible events – many of them free – across theatre, music, dance, opera and literature until the Labour Day long weekend. And our extensive Lotterywest Films and visual arts programs continue running through to April.

 

“Our Festival is a campfire for telling stories and inviting belonging, from City of Lights to the tranquillity of the Chamber Music Weekend, to our Literature and Ideas Family Day and the mass-participation of our rock ’n’ road finale Highway to Hell,” Artistic Director Iain Grandage says.

 

 “As our community grapples with all the challenges of the modern world, rarely has it been more important for us to come together and celebrate our common humanity,” Grandage says.

 

“The fun-drenched, unifying power of festival time allows us to be, as Tim Winton writes, ‘us, us and us’ - our creativity and imaginations making us the best we can be together.”

 

Along with many Australian exclusives and significant world premieres, the 2020 program includes 14 brand-new commissions made especially for you by talented local artists working with celebrated international artists.

 

Our stellar 2020 Festival guests include visual arts giants Lynette Wallworth and Ian Strange, superstar writers Neil Gaiman and Julia Donaldson, performance marvels Meow Meow, Rufus Wainwright, Amanda Palmer, Kate Tempest, Bryony Kimmings, and Phelim McDermott, and music greats Paul Kelly, Garrick Ohlsson, Gesualdo Six, Blind Boys of Alabama, Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King and Mavis Staples, Lovers of dance, physical theatre and circus have much to savour as national and international companies work closely with local artists in such super-charged shows as Hofesh in the Yard and the world-premiere Festival commission Leviathan.

 

International brilliance also shines in the theatrical treasure Tao of Glass, in the raw Irish dance of MÁM, in the dazzling one-woman show I’m a Phoenix, Bitch and in the exquisite Chamber Music Weekend, where we celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary alongside Indigenous songlines in the beautiful University of Western Australia gardens.

 

And the Festival’s birthplace of UWA also is the hub for our festival within the Festival, the annual 2020 Literature & Ideas program featuring about 70 sessions and 100 international, national and local guests from 21-23 February.

 

As the 30th-anniversary return of Bran Nue Dae opens the celebration of our unique place and stories, two other Western Australian cultural giants bring our Festival to an exultant and unforgettable conclusion.

 

Cloudstreet, the staging of Tim Winton’s quintessential Perth novel, and Highway to Hell, the 10km-long tribute to Perth-raised rock legend Bon Scott, each tell powerful tales of home - stories of us.

 

The 2020 Perth Festival is wonderfully vast and welcoming. You’ll feel right at home.

Visit Perth Festival for more details: perthfestival.com.au

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