With a new artistic director at the helm, Wendy Martin, we have been excited to see what the Perth International Arts Festival has in store for us with their 2016 program. And it’s a ripper! Not only are my favourite band coming to town to play at the Chevron Festival Gardens (!), there is a raft of other fascinating performances that I’ve already marked on my calendar. Here we take you through our top picks for the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival. Get excited!
Lotterywest Festival Opening
After the magnitude of The Giants last year, that still has the whole country talking, the festival opening event this year has a lot to live up to. Home is an outdoor spectacle that celebrates Western Australia – our place, our songs and our stories. A collection of prominent WA artists will come together to reflect the landscape and their own ideas of what ‘home’ means. With names like Nigel Jamieson (Director), Richard Walley (Associate Director) and contributors Robert Drewe, Tim Winton, John Butler, Lucky Oceans, The Panics, Shaun Tan, Guy Ghouse, Gina Williams and more involved, we can expect this to be one incredible experience.
Saturday 13 February, 730-9pm, Langley Park, FREE
The place to be this summer will be the Chevron Festival Gardens, this year heading to a new home at Elizabeth Quay. If you don’t have a ticket to the main stage you are once again welcome to come and chill in the garden, with free entry each night. It’s open Sunday-Tuesday 630-late and Wednesday-Saturday 430-late during the festival.
Sleater Kinney, photo by Brigitte Sire.
First things first – Sleater Kinney are rolling into town on Wednesday 2 March, 8pm ($50), touring the country and generally making the world a better place. Right on! Sweden’s José González must have enjoyed his PIAF appearance a few years back, because he’s coming back for more on Friday 12 February, 9pm ($65). Bring your dancing shoes on Festival Eve, Thursday 11 February, 9pm ($20), as electronica faves Nightmares on Wax hit the stage for what’s going to be a very fun night.
Aussie jazz outfit The Necks are famous for creating an immersive experience at their shows, and they’ll be on stage together with Germany’s piano jamming Hauschka on Wednesday 24 February, 8pm ($55). The House Gospel Choir will be taking over from Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 March, 9pm ($45) for two epic shows over the closing weekend of the Festival.
Other Chevron Festival Gardens highlights include slick, New Zealand born crooner Marlon Williams playing on Sunday 28 February, 8pm ($40); Tim Rogers & The Bamboos hitting the stage on Saturday 27 February, 9pm ($55); and next big thing Natalie Prass on Tuesday 1 March, 8pm ($40).
The one and only Meow Meow returns to Perth to present Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid. Hans Christian Andersen’s fable is turned into a sexy spectacle with a modern cabaret treatment.
Wednesday 24 – Sunday 28 February, Octagon Theatre, $36-$55
Meow Meow, photo by Andy Wide.
Every Brilliant Thing is a show you’ll never forget. Writer Duncan Macmillan and actor Jonny Donahoe worked together on this play about depression which is both hilarious and tear-jerking.
Thursday 11 – Monday 15 February, State Theatre Centre Downstairs, $36
The Object Lesson interrogates our relationship to everyday objects. Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre will be filled with boxes and you’re encouraged to roam around as theatre and art installation combine.
Thursday 11 – Sunday 21 February, Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, $36
The Object Lesson, photo by Max Gordon.
Hamlet presented in a punk cabaret storytelling style? Why not! British musical trio The Tiger Lillies present this version of Shakespeare’s classic.
Wednesday 17 – Sunday 21 February, Regal Theatre, $36-$79
Did you know that Albany is home to the world’s oldest, community funded skate park? Neither did I! February 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of its opening, when American skating legend Russ Howell first rode the slopes. To celebrate, Russ is returning to Albany along with visual artist and passionate skater Shaun Gladwell, for Skate, a discussion on the mechanics, evolution and joys of riding a skateboard.
Saturday 13 February, 530pm, Albany, FREE
India’s Aditi Mangaldas presents Within, a dance performance in two parts, which combines political statement and traditional Kathak dance. Powerful and remarkable.
Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 February, Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA, $59-$85
We’ll be talking about the Perth Writers Festival a lot when the full program is announced early next year, but for now we wanted to share the exciting theme happening on the Saturday. From Paddock to Print looks at storytelling around food, food writing, and the relationship between food and social media. Guests will include Sophie Zalokar, Indira Naidoo and many more.
Saturday 20 February, Octagon Theatre, UWA, $13.50
We’ll be covering the Perth International Arts Festival with news, interviews, reviews, and more over the coming months. Stay tuned! And head here to browse the full PIAF program online or to request a hard copy brochure.