Perth Festival asks audiences to see art in a different light in 2018

Between February 9th and March 4th 2018 the Perth International Arts Festival invites audiences to see art in a different light, and revel in a smorgasbord of captivating cultural experiences, with something for everyone.

2018 marks Artistic Director Wendy Martin’s third year at the helm, as well as the Festival’s 65th Anniversary. To celebrate the milestone Martin and her team have put together a diverse and exciting program of events, including nine Australian exclusives, two world premiers, five Australian season premieres, not to mention a further 230 events encompassing music, theatre, dance, literature and film and visual arts.

Some of the major highlights include The Far Side of the Money from the acclaimed Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage; an epic Taiwanese drumming and martial arts spectacle Beyond Time from U-Theatre. The 2018 festival will also see the return of Nigerian poet and playwright Inua Ellams, with his new play Barber Shop Chronicles, which will be coming to Perth direct from London’s National Theatre. And that’s without even mentioning the contemporary music line-up at Chevron Gardens, with Dizzee Rascal, Perfume Genius, Mogwai and A.B. Original all set to play (and many many more).

The 2018 Festival will launch on the 9th February with Siren Song – a seven minute serenade to the sun by sound artist Byron J Scullin and curatorial duo Supple Fox. Every dawn and dusk for the first 10 days of the festival the people of Perth are encouraged to descend on St. Georges Terrace in the Perth CBD to see their city anew, and enjoy the feminine sounds broadcast from loudspeakers set atop the roofs of city buildings.

There is also a strong local emphasis to a number of the events this year, with local theatre, dance and opera companies opening up their studio and rehearsal spaces and inviting the public in to meet the artists and get a glimpse at a number of works in progress. Some of these works in progress include Macbeth in Noongar from Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Ned Kelly from Lost & Found Opera and A Ghost in My Suitcase from Barking Gecko Theatre Company. The festival will also play host to You Know We Belong Together, a brand new work co-produced by Black Swan Theatre Company, Perth Festival and DADAA and starring Julia Hales.

The ever popular Perth Writers’ Festival will this year be extended into a Writers Week under guest curator William Yeoman (The West Australian). Although the full line-up won’t be announced until January, a few teasers have been dropped with local literary heroes Tim Winton, Kim Scott and Robert Drewe joining fellow national literary heavyweights Helen Garner, Michelle De Krester and Graeme Simison. International highlights include Man Booker Prize winning author Alan Hollinghurst, philosopher A.C. Grayling and crime novelist Louise Penny.

Next year’s Artist in Residence will be Yeung Fai, a fifth generation master of the Chinese tradition of glove puppet theatre. Whilst in the city Fai will perform his acclaimed autobiographical show Hand Stories, which tells the story of his family of famous puppeteers who fell victim to the Cultural Revolution. Fai will also be touring a new Festival commission, The Puppet-Show Man, taking the show to schools and community groups around the city as well as leading workshops co-hosted by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

The ever popular Lotterywest Films will once again be returning, and will kick off at the UWA Somerville location on November 27th, with the documentary film Faces Places. Other highlights from the first season of films include Borg vs McEnroe; British political black comedy The Party and Norwegian thriller (and Oscar nominee) Thelma. The Season Two selection of films will be unveiled on Monday 15th January.

Perth Festival runs from 9th February to 4th March 2018; whilst Lotterywest Films runs from 27th November 2017 to 11th February 2018 (Season One) and 12th February to 15th April 2018 (Season Two). Tickets for all events are now on sale. To see the full line-up of events visit the Perth Festival website HERE.

Header Image: Siren Song. Credit: Robert Frith


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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.