Perth Festival 2019 is packed with reasons for lovers of music, theatre, dance and film to get excited.
Our hemisphere’s longest-running international festival brings Perth the pinnacle of artistic offerings, next year including seven world premiere co-commissions proudly made in WA, from Ned Kelly the opera, to dance and theatre collaborations with China.
Director Wendy Martin describes her fourth and final Festival as “a lovingly made portrait of place and the things that matter”, bringing entertaining and meaningful experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
The Festival earlier announced its free centrepiece Boorna Waanginy (The Trees Speak) would return, making Kings Park a massive canvas for projecting Noongar stories about WA’s six seasons as a call-to-action on climate change.
As well as seeing the familiar anew, we’re encouraged to discover forgotten aspects of the city, aided by Strut Dance’s 'Sunset' transforming the revitalised Sunset Heritage precinct (Old Perth Men’s Home).
Black Swan State Theatre’s 2019 programme revealed the Festival will host Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Our Town' in the State Theatre Centre courtyard, featuring local non-actors playing themselves as ‘people in our neighbourhood’.
Meanwhile, the newly announced productions are full of must-sees, including UK Olivier award-winning Artist in Residence Ursula Martinez ('La Soiree'), known for her magic hanky striptease.
'A Ghost In My Suitcase' – Image © Daniel Grant
She’ll take on society’s self-made social media mess in 'Free Admission'; present 'A Family Outing - 20 Years On', the sequel to the no-holds-barred hit show interviewing her parents; and deliver workshops for local creatives with The Blue Room Theatre.
WA favourite and world-renowned ensemble The Last Great Hunt premieres 'Le Nor', a staged making of a faux foreign film, performed in a made-up language with an 80s Eurotrash aesthetic.
Co3 and WA Ballet collaborate for the first time on 'Ballet At The Quarry', and Barking Gecko contributes the family portion of the programme with 'A Ghost in My Suitcase'.
UK storytelling production 'Wot? No Fish!!' is like a graphic novel brought to life; while a deconstruction of 'Swan Lake' set in an Irish housing estate puts feathered angels with men in tracksuits for strikingly unexpected dance drama.
For an epic theatre adventure the UK Independent described as “close to perfect”, New York’s Elevator Repair Service presents 'Gatz': an employee starts reading 'The Great Gatsby' aloud to his office… Eight hours(!) later they, and you, have become part of something unforgettable.
'Wot? No Fish!!' – Image © Tony Lewis
Thanks to Wendy Martin’s “passion for celebrating diversity and difference”, a lucky few can see Canadian transgender artist Cassils assault/sculpt clay naked in the dark – lit only by flash photography – for one night only at PICA.
And in an Australian exclusive, you’re invited to join on stage the world’s largest ensemble of professional disabled musicians in The British Paraorchestra’s uplifting 'The Nature of Why'.
These highlights add to the earlier announced spellbinding Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam; master director Barrie Kosky’s Tim Burton-esque comedy opera Mozart’s 'The Magic Flute'; and 'The Great Tamer' – theatre sculpted by Athens’ Olympic Ceremonies Director (complete with male nudity).
WA’s Arts Minister reminded programme launch attendees of supporting LotteryWest, which invests gaming proceeds in arts and culture, enabling Wendy’s “better than Netflix” season of Festival Films to occur at UWA and Joondalup.
Music lovers’ outdoor summer fun is again at Chevron Festival Gardens. Joining previously-announced WAM award winning duo Feels, rave pioneers Orbital and dream pop makers Beach House, are WA’s own Mosquito Coast, Abbe May and Downsyde, plus The Internet, The Preatures, and opening night with Archie Roach (to name a few).
With still more music acts and the annual Writer’s Week programme to be announced, there’s seemingly no end of amazing arts on Perth’s horizon.
Perth Festival takes place from 8 February-3 March 2019.