Wonderland At WonderRealm: A Cultural Explosion In Perth

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'Ode To The Mirror Ball' 'Ode To The Mirror Ball'

The town of Bassendean will come alive during Fringe World as an amalgamation of art, culture, dance, music and food leaves its mark in February.

There's something for everyone at WonderRealm which prides itself on representing Western Australia in the most culturally vivid and expressive ways possible.

Here, Organiser Nella Fitzgerald expands on just what you can expect at the event.

This is an event showcasing world heritage and culture, all representing WA life and community. Could you tell us more?
The strong presence of multicultural communities in our nation has captured the interest of Australians from all backgrounds, and the public is eager to familiarise themselves with a diverse range of cultures which have become increasingly admired, valued and respected. Australia prides itself on being a multi-cultural community. WonderRealm Bassendean will introduce a wide variety of cultures to an encompassing range of people from all walks of life. Participants and festival patrons will have the opportunity to celebrate and explore the cultures and the diversity of our community and create an experience that will be accessible to the widest possible range of people. The artistic and cultural value will contribute in a major way in strengthening the links between Australia and nations represented throughout our unique multicultural community. The festival will emphasise common interests rather than differences through our shared values which connect the participants as Western Australians.

How were pieces chosen so that they were diverse yet able to represent the Western Australian community?
The entertainment programme has specially been created and curated to provide colour, energy and excitement over three amazing festival days. Truly dedicated and professional artists have been invited to participate, bringing to the festival the colour and pageantry of world cultures and the high octane energy of Fringe World Festival. The majority of acts that will be presented have been curated from discussions with the artists and representatives of cultural associations. The most recent addition to the festival programme is the WonderRealm Water Goddesses which will represent the ancient cultures and their goddesses, in particular Aphrodite, bringing to the forefront world culture in exciting performances in a 12 metre water tank.

The hub features a range of different shows and displays for all ages, even children. What goes into putting such a big programme together?
Extensive consultation has been ongoing since March 2018. Key stakeholders including the Town of Bassendean, cultural and community groups, professional artists and event partners have been in discussions with the Festival Director to ensure that a comprehensive entertainment and cultural programme has been put in place to ensure there is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the innovation, passion and energy that is unique to the festival.

And what is on offer for kids?
The renowned The Black String Puppet Theatre will be a very popular feature of the children's festival entertainment programme, specialist children entertainers, glitter face art, giant bubbles and the popular Gymbus, a double decker fun zone! The Showest Fairground will have lots of rides to cater to young children as well as teenagers. The exciting Chung Wah Lion Dance Troupe will perform and parade throughout the festival grounds as well as daring circus acts and roaming theatrical characters.

What is your personal favourite event happening as part of WonderRealm Bassendean?
I love all of the events that have been created for the festival as they have been specially curated for the event and each artist/performance is of the highest  quality, bringing passion, artistic innovation, interpretation and high-level skills in a unique and innovative concept celebrating our truly unique Western Australian community. It is truly an honour to work with artists who are committed to creating a memorable performance for all festival attendees. The artistic integrity is inspiring and the genuine commitment to the highest level of performance is highly valued.

Why do you think it's important to celebrate and present the cultures of other countries during Fringe World?
Western Australia is one of the country’s most culturally diverse states and our advancing universal society has gained increasing relevance for arts and cultural organisations. Cultural diversity is an integral part of Western Australia’s social fabric. Fringe World, as the state's largest festival, is a wonderful platform to promote the modern evolving face of multicultural arts in Western Australia, in a unique and innovative setting, one which will engage all age groups to participate and experience world culture at its best.

One of the many events is 'Ode To The Mirror Ball'… Acknowledging the disco era. What's your favourite disco dance move?
Really looking forward to this fantastic high energy show! Amazing songs that will make everyone want to show off their dance moves.. There's The Hustle, The Bump, the ever popular YMCA Dance and my all-time favourite The Bus Stop!

If patrons get all tired and hungry from taking in all of what WonderRealm has to offer, there's even dining and beverage experiences! Tell us more!
Western Australia is renowned for its fresh produce and diverse culture. An amazing array of cuisine rich in authentic flavours will be lovingly prepared by over 30 of Western Australia’s top food specialists who will provide a tantalising selection of global cuisine, from food trucks to pop up restaurants and cafes. Gage Roads Brewing Co Bar will offer a quintessential Western Australian experience in their Summer Beer Garden and patrons can immerse themselves in the Italian sophistication of the Campari Australia Lounge. A melting pot of dining and beverage experiences awaits you at WonderRealm Bassendean!

How would you describe this mini-festival with three words?
Fabulous, exciting and fun!

Wonderland at WonderRealm Bassendean takes place from 15-17 February.


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