On a bedrock of Indigenous culture, Perth Festival 2020 welcomes everyone to a glorious summer celebration of people and place.
More than 250 events across theatre, music, dance, opera, film, visual arts and literature and ideas – many of them free – will dazzle audiences from near and far from 7 February to 1 March.
Mavis Staples, Neil Gaiman, Meow Meow, Rufus Wainwright, Kate Tempest, Bryony Kimmings, Paul Kelly, Garrick Ohlsson, Michael Keegan-Dolan – our 2020 Festival artists are as wondrous as our 14 brand-new Festival commissions that celebrate such diverse figures as Gurrumul, Philip Glass, Beethoven and Bon Scott.
Beginning with the Festival theme of Karla – a Noongar term meaning fire and by extension country and home – new Artistic Director Iain Grandage’s four annual programs on Noongar Boodjar will capture an ever‐expanding orbit of stories from the local to the global.
“Perth Festival 2020 will be a huge, euphoric celebration of Perth, Western Australia – it’s my home town and I love it,” Grandage says.
“We introduce a sparkling new Festival hub, City of Lights, welcome the return of the much-loved Chamber Music Weekend and premiere exciting new works made especially for you by our talented local artists working with artists from across the country and around the world.
“Our Festival is a campfire for sharing stories and inviting belonging,” Grandage says. “In celebrating place, and the depth and range of Australian indigenous culture, our entire first week is dedicated to First Nations performances.
“This is a first for any major Australian international arts festival and a celebration of Australia’s unique voice to the world.”
In a landmark event, Perth’s Yirra Yaakin Theatre presents the world’s first Noongar-language play, Hecate, an adaptation of Macbeth by writer-director and Perth Festival Associate Artist Kylie Bracknell (Kaarljilba Kaardn).
Other 2020 highlights include Bangarra Dance Theatre’s ravishingly beautiful Bennelong, the Yolŋu cultural spectacular Buŋgul, Circa’s renowned ensemble joining 18 local performers in the world-premiere circus event Leviathan and the Australian-exclusive international hits Tao of Glass, by Philip Glass and Phelim McDermott, and MÁM, Michael Keegan-Dolan’s follow-up to his 2019 Perth Festival smash Swan Lake.
And Karla’s closing flames flicker into the sunset south of the river as we reclaim 10km of Canning Highway for our massive free Festival finale Highway to Hell to celebrate Perth’s connection to legendary rocker Bon Scott on March 1 over the Labour Day long weekend. Perth Festival is proud to offer this wonderfully vast program, which has something for everyone in 2020.