Perth Festival opens in spectacular style this weekend by transforming Perth’s beloved Kings Park into a nocturnal wonderland for the entire family to enjoy over four magnificent nights.
From tonight, Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak turns tree-lined Fraser Avenue into a tunnel of vivid colours, light and sound for visitors to walk through a dazzling display of Noongar culture and ecological awareness. This audio-visual spectacular headlines a bumper opening weekend of free and ticketed events to surprise and delight audiences of all ages.
Celebrating 66 years as Australia’s longest-running arts festival, Perth Festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors for three thrilling weeks from 8 February to 3 March.
Audiences have embraced Artistic Director Wendy Martin’s program of international and local excellence. Several key events have sold out and strong advance ticket sales point to an enthusiastic welcome for the 1300 international artists and 300 Festival events rich with the promise of magic.
The 2019 highlights include tonight’s opening of the spellbinding Vietnamese circus show Lang Toi at the Regal Theatre; Komische Oper Berlin’s dazzling The Magic Flute; an evening with Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri; the New York’s Elevator Repair Service’s epic performance of The Great Gatsby in Gatz; the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Dada Masilo’s Giselle; and The Great Tamer, by 2004 Athens Olympics Games artistic director Dimitris Papaioannou.
The State Theatre Centre, where the Festival’s new Bar Underground opens tonight, will be the home base for our 2019 Artist-In-Residence, the UK performance provocateur Ursula Martinez. She stars with her 83-year-old mother in the world premiere of the Festival co-commission A Family Outing: 20 Years On.
Across town at His Majesty’s Theatre the mesmerising Chinese-Australian music and dance experience One Infinity runs until Sunday night.
To begin the Festival’s Made in WA series of world-premiere local works, hidden parts of the Sunset Heritage Precinct at Dalkeith hosts the immersive dance-theatre experience of Sunset , the result of a three-year partnership between Strut Dance and Maxine Doyle, best known for her pioneering work with UK company Punchdrunk.
Perth’s summer menu of tasty tunes and irresistible global beats opens at Chevron Gardens at Elizabeth Quay with a showcase of Australia’s finest indigenous voices as led by elder statesman of song, Archie Roach alongside the next generation of voices including Emily Wurramara and Radical Son. Over the next three weeks, you’ll also meet the irresistible musical forces of Aloe Blacc, Nothing But Thieves, Jungle Brothers and Christine and the Queens.
A host of the world’s best authors and literary dreamers will call the Festival home for Writers Week from February 18 to 24. Or you can catch the Lotterywest Films under the stars all the way through to April 7 at the beautiful outdoor venues of UWA Somerville and ECU Joondalup Pines.
The 2019 Visual Arts program brings to Perth an unprecedented number of artists and artworks across seven exhibitions giving insights into a world in flux. Highlights include Alchemic, the first Australian exhibition by acclaimed Canadian transgender artist Cassils and the Art Gallery of WA’s six-year Kimberley visual arts project Desert River Sea.
A third of the Festival events are free, tickets average around $30 and the world’s most exceptional artists and productions are close to hand through our weekly Tix for $36 deals.
“I can’t believe it’s the eve of my fourth and final Perth Festival,” Martin says. “So many artists I love from around the world are about to share their extraordinary work with us.
“Many of the greatest names in international theatre, circus, music, dance, film, literature and the visual arts stand alongside world premieres of daring new work by Western Australian companies and artists, co-commissioned by the Festival and proudly stamped Made in WA.
“I feel incredibly grateful to have been able to dream up projects with extraordinary artists to reflect our incredible corner of the world and share stories of people who call it home.”