22/02/2016 - 15:27

PIAF seeks diversity in art, audiences

22/02/2016 - 15:27

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The artistic director of the 64th Perth International Arts Festival, Wendy Martin, has found several ways to keep Australia’s longest running cultural festival fresh, with ticket sales already exceeding the 80 per cent box office target several weeks before the end of the event.

PIAF artistic director Wendy Martin (left) and general manager Wendy Wise are presenting the arts festival’s 64th showing. Photo: Natasha Pawlowski

The artistic director of the 64th Perth International Arts Festival, Wendy Martin, has found several ways to keep Australia’s longest-running cultural festival fresh, with ticket sales already exceeding the 80 per cent box office target several weeks before the end of the event.

Ms Martin, who this year took on the responsibility for the artistic direction of PIAF, told Business News unique events such as the Art & Motion skateboarding performance were attracting younger audiences with broad interests. 

She said artistic showcases involving skateboarding and stunt bike riding struck a chord with younger audiences, who also enjoyed filming their own rides, without realising their everyday life activities had artistic connections.

“If they’re in a skate park or on their BMX bike and their friend starts filming a video of them, then they become a choreographer and a dancer,” Ms Martin said.

“They’re making decisions about how they move and they’re not even thinking of themselves as artists, but they’re making artistic decision and I think it’s great to acknowledge that.”

More than 1,000 artists are involved in this year’s program participating in more than 350 events that will be held before PIAF’s conclusion on Sunday March 6.

PIAF general manager Wendy Wise said while audiences still flocked to traditional events such as classical music, dance and theatre, Western Australians were becoming increasingly adventurous in their tastes.

“I think people are starting to feel that we are a sophisticated city,” she said.

“I think we suffered for many years from a bit of a cultural cringe. And I think Wendy’s first festival has proved we’re every bit as good as anything in the world with the people we’ve got here, and we’re now able to interact internationally in quite a different way.”

As this year’s festival was her first, Ms Martin said was eager to showcase and reflect local art and culture in a way that resonated.

“I felt an enormous sense of responsibility when I arrived here to make a festival that connects with the community, to tell the stories of those here,” she said.

“We’ve got an incredibly diverse cultural community.”

 

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