Perth Festival opens today so we invite you to dive into our program filled with world-premieres, new local commissions and major works coming to Perth for the first time.
Some of our dazzling stage shows, outdoor films and exhibitions have already begun, setting the scene for artists and audiences to come together to celebrate our 2022 theme of Wardan (Ocean) over the next three weeks.
The world premiere of David Milroy’s rollicking musical Panawathi Girl is already wowing packed houses at His Majesty’s Theatre, while acting royalty Kate Walsh and Caroline Brazier are playing their deadly game of thrones in Mary Stuart at the Heath Ledger Theatre.
Tonight, psych-rockers Pond hit the outdoor stage at Fremantle Arts Centre, where the stunning group exhibition Undertow explores the deep cross-currents of our relationships with the ocean. In other Festival action this weekend, dancers weave magic in world-premieres of And The Earth Will Swallow Them Whole at the State Theatre Centre and WA Ballet’s Platinum: Ballet at the Quarry.
Image: POND. Credit: Matsu
Alter Boy and other artists navigate pathways of expression in Our Language at DADAA, and senior Walmajarri artist Sonia Kurarra opens her landmark solo exhibition Portals of Love and Loss at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery alongside Ariel’s Song. Nearby, the gripping Italian film To Chiara is playing in the Lotterywest Films season at UWA Somerville.
Throughout the Festival, other highlights include the funny, heart-warming theatre work The Smallest Stage, the wondrous family light and performance event Patch’s Lighthouse, soprano Emma Matthews shaping beauty from air in Sea Pictures beneath WA Museum Boorla Bardip’s famous blue whale, the sublime Katie Noonan with Strings at AGWA and the epic concert Become Ocean, featuring the combined forces of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Western Australian Youth Orchestra.
Breathing new life into old spaces, beatmaker Ta-Ku takes over the old Karrakatta Club with his Songs to Experience music and art show, and our converted European Foods warehouse venue in Northbridge features a fantastic contemporary music line-up including Methyl Ethyl and Flewnt’s Boorloo Block Party In our Wardan year, there are events all along the coast. Perth Symphony Orchestra perform free concerts near the sea at Rockingham and Wanneroo, and The Farm and Co3 Contemporary Dance kick up the sand at City Beach in The Ninth Wave. Alter Boy, Stella Donnelly and RTRFM’s WA Mixtape crank up the music at B-Shed, while South Mole juts into the ocean as a witness to Sounds of Sunset with CLAUDIO.
Image: Sound of Sunset. Credit: Joe Leach
Our Literature & Ideas program also returns, starting with A Day of Ideas: At Sea at Subiaco Arts Centre on 19 February. Over the following Writers Weekend on 26-27 February, Tim Winton, Lisa Taddeo, Hannah Kent, Helen Garner and many more writers, plus the fun of Family Day, will bring connection through stories to Fremantle Arts Centre.
To close the Festival on the March long weekend, the free and immersive multisensory experience of Noongar Wonderland will light up Perry Lakes with dynamic stories of Noongar Boodjar co-created by many of the artists behind recent Festival hits Hecate and Fist of Fury Noongar Daa.
“Perth Festival 2022 is a glittering collection of experiences for you, our audience. Over the next three weeks, the finest artists of our generation are bringing stories to life in the most extraordinary ways and in the most extraordinary locations right across our city. We all seek moments of comfort in these turbulent times, and it is a privilege to be able to share these events that are filled with such beauty, joy and wonder.”
Artistic Director Iain Grandage
While five shows could not proceed during this year’s Festival season, we still have more than 100 free and ticketed events for people to enjoy and we look forward to welcoming audiences to our COVID-safe venues. We remind everyone to get double-vaccinated (and a third dose when eligible), and to have their proof of vaccination and ID ready to present upon entry to applicable venues and events. Please see our COVID-safe page here.
This year, Perth Festival is reaching out from the city and around this vast state with our new Touring WA partnership with Minderoo Foundation, taking events to Bunbury, Albany and Karratha.
Also look out for Meyne Wyatt’s extraordinary City of Gold, the Black Swan State Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company production coming to the Heath Ledger Theatre from 17-27 March.
We thank the Government, Principal Partner Lotterywest, Founding Partner the University of Western Australia and all our supporters. We could not put on the Festival and make such a positive impact on our community without them by our side.
Perth Festival runs 11 February – 6 March. Lotterywest Films continues to 3 April.