The 62nd Perth Festival is back and it’s offering a world-class cultural feast for art lovers of all ages and persuasions. From great Russian theatre to world-class Israeli dance; from Man Booker Prize winners to Tony Award winners, from multi-player video theatre to a life-size bouncy castle Stonehenge, the 2014 Perth International Festival really does have something for absolutely everybody.
As the longest-running and annual multi-arts celebration in the Southern Hemisphere, the festival aims to live up to its worldwide reputation by delivering a program of unforgettable, enriching works, created by artists who are daring, thoughtful, and innovative.
In a spectacle of wonder with the Lotterywest Festival Spectacular Veles e Vents, visitors can engage with the Spanish masters of public theatre take to the seas and the sky, recreating a ship’s grand and perilous voyage in a sublime visual display of fireworks and light. Suitable for the whole family, the exclusive Australian premiere promises to kick off the 2014 Festival with an explosion of music and movement.
The Festival’s free program takes art to the people as the streets of Perth are playfully transformed and life re-imagined. Sam Routledge & Martyn Coutts’ I Think I Can brings avatars to life in an enchanted model town. The Lotterywest Festival Celebration, Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege, invites visitors to literally leap into ancient history, re-creating Stonehenge as a full-scale bouncy castle. The Chevron Festival Gardens become the ambient Festival hub as guests gather, discuss and participate, with free entry to the Garden from 5pm until late Wednesday-Saturday and 6.30pm until late Sunday-Tuesday.
If you like theatre and drama, witness the modern master of the Russian avant-garde, Dmitry Krymov in his Australian debut A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It). From Israel comes the Australian premiere of Not by Bread Alone: 11 deaf-blind actors take audiences on a profoundly moving journey through their inner world, as bread is kneaded, formed and baked on stage. South Africa’s Yael Farber adapts Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie to post-apartheid South Africa in Mies Julie, and from New York, Perth welcomes An Iliad, superstar Denis O’Hare’s riveting one-man performance of Homer’s Trojan epic.
If you’re a fan of dance, the 2014 dance program is celebratory, political and sensual. Witness captivating productions by the internationally-acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company – Deca Dance and Sadeh 21. The Beijing Dance Company unfolds the beauty of China’s struggle with centuries-old traditions and the rush of the future in Haze. For a classic take with a modern touch, the West Australian Ballet delivers Radio and Juliet, the bold revision of Romeo and Juliet with the music of indie darlings Radiohead as its centerpiece.
Lovers of classical music are in for a treat the Perth International Arts Festival. Staged in Perth for the first time, Verdi’s stunning, final tragic opera, Otello, is performed by the West Australian Opera with guests from the Cape Town Opera Chorus. From Budapest, the Kelemen Quartet combine youthful brilliance with the finest Hungarian tradition, performing the world premiere of beloved Australian composer Ross Edwards’ Summer Dance. Delighting audiences for six decades with their free-spirited yet polished playing, the brilliant Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestra is joined by exhilarating, young violinist Michael Barenboim.
Over 24 nights, Perth will also be home to an eclectic selection of sounds tracing soul to hip-hop, indie rock to electronica. Catch Brooklyn-based indie rockers The National, Canadian electro six-piece Austra, soul legend Booker T Jones, and even Public Enemy will be taking the stage in Perth!
The 2014 Visual Arts program is studded with experiential, world-class contemporary art that reflects on modernity to the present day. South Korean artist Do Hu Suh’s poetic work, Net-Work, is a vast net enmeshed with tiny human figures washing against the shoreline, evoking ideas of physical and cultural displacement. Stranger than Fiction: Art of our Time showcases a dynamic selection of international contemporary art from the 1980s to now from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in the Art Gallery of Western Australia, featuring artists such as Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst and Olafur Eliasson.
Perth Writers Festival (20 Feb – 23 Feb) is the hub of Festival discussion and discourse. Join a stellar line-up of authors, readers and thinkers in this much-loved celebration of the written word. Novelist Lionel Shriver examines the intersection of literature and religion. Literary giants Martin Amis and Carrie Tiffany will also be present.
Film buffs will enjoy the Lotterywest Festival Films on 25 November, with a handpicked selection of the best of World and Australian cinema. Local Australian films in the list include the musical Coast, and Girt By Sea, a poetic collage of archival images with a live score composed and performed by The Panics. The Lotterywest Festival Films also hosts two Australian premieres including the French film Jappeloup co-starring Pierre Durand and an exquisite racehorse, including, 12 Years a Slave, and All is Lost too.
For more festival info, visit www.perthfestival.com.au