Perth Festival – one of Australia’s landmark international events – has once again delivered a spectacular program for its 2023 edition, running from February 10 to March 5 (along with Somerville’s outdoor film season from November 21-April 9).
An explosion of cultural experiences, the Festival has been celebrating Perth and its people for 70 years, making it this country’s longest-running international arts festival after beginning way back in 1953 in the Somerville Auditorium!
It spans more than 120 diverse events across theatre, dance, music, film, literature and visual arts. In keeping with our lovely late summer weather and this year’s theme of Djinda (stars), the Festival will once again use unique venues around Perth including theatres, concert halls, galleries
, parks, rooftops, old quarries and much more.
Icelandic superstar Björk headlines this year’s Fest as the closing event of the summer arts party. She brings her dazzling theatrical concert spectacle Cornucopia in an elaborate purpose-built pavilion in Langley Park for an Australian-exclusive season only in Perth, having only performed the show a handful of times around the globe.
To open the Festival, there’s also the return of Perth Festival’s annual large scale free public event. This year, the Noongar-led spectacle Djoondal tells the story of the creation of the Milky Way in a glorious display of lights, lasers, music and choreographed drones at Lake Joondalup from February 10-12.
For the next three weeks, the Festival is a whirlwind of pulsating theatre productions headlined by the acclaimed “cine-theatre” of Sydney Theatre Company’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, pictured below. This thrilling retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic mystery will make for an unforgettable night out at His Majesty’s Theatre, showcasing the story of the doomed, divided Jekyll and rapacious alter ego Hyde through stunning live cinematic visuals, engrossing theatre action and powerhouse multirole performances by Matthew Backer and Ewen Leslie.
The many other stage highlights include Stephanie Lake’s euphoric dance-drum sensation Manifesto, free dance works by Crystal Pite performed by STRUT Dance; the pan-African dance futurism of Bikutsi 3000 from charismatic Cameroon artist-designer and musician Blick Bassy and the latest Edinburgh Fringe hit, Happy Meal.
Perth Concert Hall will showcase the stellar voices of Emma Donovan and Emma Matthews together with the WA Symphony Orchestra and a choir of angels and demons for Music of the Spheres, while contemporary music artists like Bon Iver, Kronos Quartet, Angel Olsen and Bikini Kill (pictured below), Peaches, Kae Tempest, Mykki Blanco will feature at dazzling venues like Red Hill Auditorium and the Fest’s contemporary homebase, The Rechabite.
There are also a host of exciting new Festival commissions across the program, including Tracker – where Australian Dance Theatre’s Daniel Riley join Ursula Yovich, Rachael Maza and other leading First Nations artists to tell the story of Riley’s conflicted police tracker great- great-uncle.
There will be several beautiful new commissions for families too, who have much to look forward to with Family Day in Freo returning as part of during the Festival’s Writers Weekend, while internationally-lauded Perth company Sensorium will premiere its new performance Wonderbox for children with disabilities and their friends (pictured below).
Finally, the Festival’s Djinda (stars) program of 2023 will crescendo with the Michaela Greave’s light installation, Between Us, beaming signals of home and connection out into the universe from the Art Gallery of WA rooftop, with members of the public encouraged to submit lines to help Greaves compose a morse code poem dedicated to the “space between” all things. You can then watch your lines being transmitted out into space, where one night they might be seen by someone, somewhere, sometime in a place very, very far away.
So what are you waiting for? Head to the Perth Festival Website now and start planning your escape from the every day in 2023!
Perth Is OK! is very proudly a supporting partner of Perth Festival.