01/11/2019 - 11:57

Perth Festival launch 2020 program

01/11/2019 - 11:57


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Artistic director Iain Grandage launched the 2020 Perth Festival program last night and announced the first week of the 24-day festival will be dedicated to First Nations performances.

Perth Festival launch 2020 program
The 2020 Perth Festival will include Bennelong, by Bangarra Dance Theatre. Photo: Daniel Boud

Artistic director Iain Grandage launched the 2020 Perth Festival program last night and announced the first week of the 24-day festival will be dedicated to First Nations performances.

The program will also feature international and local artists including Mavis Staples, Neil Gaiman, Meow Meow, Rufus Wainwright, Kate Tempest, Bryony Kimmings, Paul Kelly, Garrick Ohlsson and Michael Keegan-Dolan. 

It will be the first of four festivals to be curated by Mr Grandage and follows the theme of Karla, a Noongar term meaning fire and by extension, country and home.

The following three festivals will be themed around the Bilya (river), Warden (sea) and Djinda (the stars).

The opening week of the festival will include an all Noongar-language adaption of Macbeth called Hecate by writer-director and Perth Festival associate Kylie Bracknell and performed by Perth’s Yirra Yaakin Theatre.

It will also present Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Bennelong and a comedy about a Māori and Aboriginal couple’s wedding party, BLACK TIES, from ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and Te Rēhia Theatre.

One of the festivals 14 new commissions is Buŋgul, which is based on the culture that inspired Gurrumul’s final album, Djarrimirri (Child of the Rainbow), in a live audio-visual performance by Yolŋu dancers, songmen and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. 

A feature of the 2020 festival will be a new hub named the City of Lights at the Perth Concert Hall with free local acts and ticketed events featuring gospel singer Mavis Staples, rapper Briggs, and Brooklyn band Yeasayer.

In the City of Lights, cabaret performer Meow Meow will present Pandemonium accompanied by Pink Martini’s Thomas M Lauderdale and the WA Symphony Orchastra conducted by Mr Grandage, with Rufus Wainwright and punk cabaret artist Amanda Palmer to perform on following nights.

After the success of Swan Lake at the 2019 Festival, Michael Keegan-Dolan and Teaċ Daṁsa return to the Heath Ledger Theatre with an ancient story from Ireland, MÁM.

Another international act coming to Perth, which proved a hit at the 2019 Manchester International Festival, is Tao of Glass by performer-director Phelim McDermott and composer Philip Glass, using puppets to tell a story through Glass's music.

Two local acts are returning to the festival in partnership with WA Opera and Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA – the stage adaption of Cloudstreet and the first indigenous musical Bran Nue Dae. 

The Rechabite, a new venue run by former Artrage chief executive Marcus Canning which opens tonight, will host jazz improvisers The Necks and audiovisual artist Robin Fox.

Visual arts program curator Gemma Weston is a Perth local and has created a program featuring immersive VR works from Lynette Wallworth, Awavena, New York artist Laurie Anderson’s and Taiwanese artist Hsin-Chien Huang’s Chalkroom, and Jacky Connolly’s game-art video work, which tracks the lives of two Sims 3 characters in the suburban wasteland of Hudson Valley Ruins.

On the final day of the 2020 festival, 10 kilometres of Canning Highway will be blocked from Stirling Bridge to Canning Bridge for live performances and free events as a celebration of the connection between Perth and AC/DC member Bon Scott, taking inspiration from the song Highway to Hell.

Mr Grandage said the festival would be a euphoric celebration of his home town, Perth.

“We introduce a sparkling new Festival hub, City of Lights including our new contemporary music venue Chevron Lighthouse, welcome the return of the much-loved Chamber Music Weekend and premiere exciting new works made especially for you by talented local artists working with artists from across the country and around the world," he said.

“Our festival is a campfire for sharing stories and inviting belonging.”

The Perth Festival 2020 will run from February 7 to March 1.



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