Perth Festival brings a cavalcade of art experiences

Perth Festival opens tonight with a return of Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, which will open the festival 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.

This year will be the annual events’ sixty-sixth outing, maintaining its record as Australia’s longest-running arts festival, presenting three thrilling weeks from today until the 3rd of March.

Artistic Director Wendy Martin’s program is a perfectly balanced mix of international and local excellence. Several key events have already sold out and strong advance ticket sales point to an enthusiastic welcome for the 1300 international artists and 300 Festival events.

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.

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.

In the courtyard of the State Theatre Centre, Black Swan State Theatre Company will present an ambitious staging of Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town. Joining three professional actors in the production will be over 90 local community members, some who have never stepped foot on stage before.

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 led by 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 Beach House, Aloe Blacc, The Internet, 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 18-24. 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.

For Artistic Director Wendy Martin this will be her final year curating the works, next year new Artistic Director Iain Grandage takes over.

“I can’t believe it’s the eve of my fourth and final Perth Festival”, Martin said in a statement. “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.” Martin said.

For tickets to all the shows head to Perth Festival

Source: Media Release, image: Lang Toi by Nguyen Duc Minh