2015 Perth International Arts Festival

Daring and unforgettable, diverse and enriching, innovative and profound – the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival program delivers a cultural feast for arts lovers of all ages and persuasions, living up to the Festival’s worldwide reputation for excellence. In a quintessentially Western Australian experience, over 1000 of the world’s great artists transform and disrupt Perth this summer as the 63rd Festival spills across unique venues and glorious, outdoor spaces. The $22.4 million Festival is expected to draw more than one million people to the streets to experience the greatest collection of international artistic experiences Perth has ever known.

Perth International Arts Festival is the longest-running annual multi-arts celebration in the Southern Hemisphere and the jewel in the crown of Western Australia’s cultural life. Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said: “No two Festival journeys will be the same and our hope is that your travels through this Festival will include experiences both intimate and epic. Experiences that whet the appetite and stimulate all five senses.” “Moments that allow us to remember something we all knew as children – that the map is not the territory, that the best discoveries are made by straying from the path or committing to a fantastic voyage.”

The 2015 Festival opens in an epic spectacle of wonder with Royal de Luxe’s The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants to the Streets of Perth, the biggest arts event Western Australia has ever seen. For three days over the opening weekend, the French masters of theatrical magic let loose a modern-day fable that will transform Perth forever, as 11-metre tall giants take inspiration from uniquely Western Australian stories and tour the city, commemorating the Anzac centenary. Suitable for the whole family, the Australian premiere promises to rekindle childlike wonder across the city.

The Festival takes art to the people as the Festival’s in-between spaces are playfully transformed and life re-imagined, with the Chevron Festival Gardens acting as the exciting festival hub, central to festival-goers’ experience. Across the festival, guests gather, discuss and participate, enjoying a diverse, world-class program of free events.

The 2015 theatre and opera program is equal parts philosophical, political and sensual, with an array of world-renowned international productions and breathtaking Australian talent. In an Australian exclusive and a Festival highlight comes the English National Opera’s production of Anthony Minghella’s award-winning Madama Butterfly, as Puccini’s iconic love story astounds audiences in the premier visual production in the opera world today. Making its world premiere, the Perth International Arts Festival co-commission The Rabbits brings together an incredible team of Australian talent including Kate Miller-Heidke, Lally Katz, Iain Grandage, Gabriela Tylesov and John Sheedy, who transform John Marsden and Shaun Tan’s compelling picture book into operatic delight.

A Queensland Theatre Company and Sydney Festival co-production, Black Diggers interweaves vignettes to present stories of Indigenous soldiers who fought in the battlefields of WW1 for Australia and then returned home to be treated as second-class citizens. By turns witty, moving and enlightening, this production shares an important national narrative of injustice based on extensive research, as part of the Festival’s centenary of Anzac commemorations. Illustrious South African puppeteers Handstring Puppet Company team up with renowned artist, animator and director William Kentridge in the Australian premiere of Ubu and the Truth Commission, a soul-rattling, multi-dimensional adaptation of Alfred

Jarry’s satirical classic Ubu Roi to apartheid South Africa, melding puppetry, riveting animation, original documentary footage and superb acting. World-class Irish actress Lisa Dwan exquisitely realises Beckett’s trilogy Not I, Footfalls, Rockaby in a landmark one-woman performance, bringing audiences face-to-face with the startling fragility of our existence. Acclaimed Australian circus ensemble Circa present Beyond, a cutting-edge spectacle of contemporary music, sublime acrobatics and irresistibly outlandish humour that made it a massive Edinburgh Festival hit. From the UK, Davy and Kristin McGuire bring their exquisite paper creations to Perth for an immersive evening of theatre on a miniature scale with the Australian premiere of The Paper Architect, a spellbinding story of creativity, imagination and love as a paper architect’s workshop creations come to life.

The Festival creates extraordinary arts experiences for all audiences with many works dedicated to the young and young at heart. Across three venues, The Future Postal Service is a whimsical, creative, interactive mail delivery game that sees children think, draw, write and then play postmaster as they deliver their postcard to a passerby in a random act of kindness. Across three days, Screenkids is a curated selection of Europe’s best animated short films for children from 14 European nations, presented in partnership with the Netherlands’ Cinekid Festival, bringing the excitement of the international film festival experience to the children of Perth. At the Perth Writers Festival Family Day, children meet their literary heroes in a free day of interactive performance, mural painting and family fun.

The 2015 dance program journeys the spectrum from the soaringly balletic to the exhilaratingly modern. A sell-out sensation in New York, London and Vienna, Mozart Dances sees New York’s legendary Mark Morris Dance Group reinterpret Mozart’s masterpieces through dance, uniting the classical with the modern in an electric work as sensually gratifying as it is intellectually stimulating. Aakash Odedra, one of today’s most exciting contemporary dancers thrills with Rising, phenomenally contrasting the work of Odedra and three of the world’s finest choreographers – Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant – in a vibrant, eclectic mix that spans classical Indian dances Kathak and Bharata Natyam. Broome-based Indigenous dance theatre group Marrugeku explore the effects of climate change from a specifically Indigenous perspective in the world premiere of Cut the Sky. Part dance theatre, showcasing Marrugeku’s restless, disciplined and irresistible choreography, and part dystopic ghost musical, featuring the poems of dream-catcher Edwin Lee Mulligan and songs by Ngaiire and Nick Cave, Cut the Sky is a bold, imaginative and vitally important work. The West Australian Ballet returns with its beloved Ballet At The Quarry summer season of ballet under the stars, headlined by international choreographer Annabelle Lopez’s Zip, Zap, Zoom – a fresh and energetic fusion of hip hop, ballroom, and cabaret.

In 2015, the Perth International Arts Festival thrills classical music lovers, inviting the world’s most acclaimed performances to an Australian stage, from scintillating opera, blissful chamber music to glorious a cappella. From France, eminent harpsichordist William Christie leads Les Arts Florissants in a ravishing celebration of Italian Baroque lyric work, as six singers from Christie’s world-famous master-class academy Le Jardin des Voix join the world-renowned orchestra. Soft Soft Loud presents a fusion of electronic, acoustic, scored and improvised music in a genre-bending collaboration between lauded Finnish composer, singer and pianist Tuomo Prättälä, his beatboxing compatriot Felix Zenger and ten of Western Australia’s finest instrumentalists. From Canada, Musica Viva brings the Baroque era to life through Tafelmusik: House of Dreams, an ambitious theatrical exploration of music and painting, accompanied by the period instruments of the renowned Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. For one night only, the prestigious chamber music group Australian String Quartet pay homage to the past, marking the centenary of the Anzac landing in Gallipoli, premiering the evocative and moving Gallipoli by esteemed composer Ross
Edwards, in Remember Tomorrow. English a cappella supergroup The Sixteen perform timeless works by Palestrina, Allegri and James McMillan in The Queen of Heaven, a performance of inimitable beauty to uplift and inspire Perth.

Over 24 nights, Perth will rock throughout the Festival to an eclectic selection of sounds tracing majestic pop to indie rock, trip hop to afro-soul. Highlights include the powerful vocals and tender lyrics of acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor. One of the great vocalists and songwriters of his generation, the genuinely original Rufus Wainwright returns with a special showcase featuring his greatest hits. From the UK, introspective indie-pop darlings London Grammar grind spacious pop hooks with trip-hop beats, sparkling with sophisticated, spectral charm. American alt-rockers Spoon bring their mind-blowing live show to Perth, stomping out indie rock gems and party-starters. Pioneer of the 80s and 90s, Neneh Cherry explores a staggering array of beat poetry, avant electronica and rich vocals, touring her first solo album in 17 years. Chet Faker’s down-tempo beats and smoky vocals land centre-stage for two nights. Heavily instrumental Scots Mogwai return to the Festival in a double bill with Dinosaur Jr frontman J Mascis. And Tuareg guitarist and singer Bombino brings the sound of the Sahara to Perth with his desert blues-rock jams.

The 2015 Visual Arts program is studded with experiential, world-class contemporary art that reflects on themes of connectedness, community and divide, in the past and today. In an Australian premiere, celebrated Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s double exhibition, The Visitors + The End, sublimely combine his acumen in music, film and performance, instilling viewers with a poetic and compelling sense of the romantic and the absurd. Tokyo-born, New York-based Mariko Mori is one of the most important artists of our time. Her exhibition, Rebirth, is an immersive, contemplative experience composed of installations, glowing LED sculptures, photographs, drawings and videos. Kaleidoscope is the first major exhibition in Perth by internationally renowned Australian artist Tracey Moffat since 2004, featuring the Australian premiere of her new candid video work Art Calls alongside an installation of bold photography and evocative works from her Spirit Landscape series. With more than 100 vibrant crayon drawings produced by the Yolngu community in east Arnhem Land in 1947, Yirkkala Drawings directs our imagination into the Yolngu worldview through boldly rendered artworks, enriched by digital installations. Exploring geopolitical conflict and theatrical spectacle, Theatres groups striking work by leading Australian and international video artists, examining areas of borders and violent exchange across two venues.

Over four days, the 2015 Perth Writers Festival (19-22 Feb) brings a superb program of international and Australian authors, innovators, artists, activists and provocateurs to Perth, sure to enthrall writers, readers and thinkers. In an Australian exclusive, experience two of the world’s most highly acclaimed authors in a single, unmissable evening: British author Hilary Mantel, winner of back-to-back Booker Prizes with her Tudor saga installments Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, joins Perth from London in a live video-link conversation with Michael Cathcart, followed by inspirational American author Elizabeth Gilbert, whose memoir Eat, Pray, Love topped The New York Times’ Best Seller list for 187 weeks. A moving opening address by leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Roberston QC, and a closing address on the stories of courage and mercy from US justice lawyer and revered TED speaker Bryan Stevenson will bookend an incredible weekend of literary events, discussions and workshops, with further writers attending including Booker Prize-winner and Irish provocateur DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little), and prolific British novelist and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature Nicholas Shakespeare. Engage with the finest minds for the latest in print and digital magazines, fiction, memoir, travel writing, poetry, journalism and more in this year’s celebration of contemporary storytelling in all its forms. This includes The Style Makers, a Perth Writers Festival exclusive event exploring the ongoing success of beautifully produced, cutting-edge publications in the digital era, bringing together the masterminds behind publications such as Kinfolk, Dumbo Feather, Renegade Collective, Frankie and Alphabet Family Journal.

2015 Perth International Arts Festival
13 February – 7 March 2015
Multiple venues aroung Perth