2 Minutes with Noel Staunton, Artistic Director of Brisbane Festival

By Sophia McMeekin
26th Aug 2013

Did you notice that massive barge in the middle of the Brisbane River? Yep, that's right kids, it's Brisbane Festival time in a few short days, and the epic City of Lights light show is on again off the banks of South Bank. To celerate the festival kicking off, we sat down with Artistic Director, Mr Noel Staunton, to talk his picks of the festival, the beef at Fat Noodle, and the best spot to catch this year's light show.

TUL: Describe in one sentence what you do for work?

I have great fun dreaming up ideas.

TUL: Only 15 days to go till Festival Time? How are you feeling in the lead up?

It's very exciting to see. When you've worked for 18 months on something, and some projects even longer—three to four years—to watch those products come to fruition, that's very exciting. It's very exciting, but very nerve racking!

TUL: The barge is in place in the Brisbane River for Santos GLNG ?City of Lights, can you tell us about the new element of live performance on the barge this year?

We want to make the show different every year, and bigger every year. And this year we've invented and built an amazing water curtain for the barge and we're also adding in live performances. We're working with Strange Fruit from Melbourne who are wonderful acrobats performing on five metre high poles, who'll appear and disappear magically as part of the show. And it will give the show a wonderful human element; an element of mystery!

TUL: Where's your pick of the best spot to watch this year's City of Lights show?

I always think the Santos Lounge is the best place, down at South Bank. It has the best seats in the house. There's plenty of space for kids and everyone to see it there, and there are several levels so it works really well.

TUL: Which events are you most excited about seeing come to life this Brisbane Festival?

I never have just one! Obviously the Santos GLNG City of Lights show, because of the new show this year. And the world premiere of Freeze Frame, which is a new, big musical we are doing for young people.

Then there is the Rite of Spring, which is Stravinsky's wonderful piece, done by a magical Irish company called Fabulous Beast. They perform it in the most extraordinary way.

TUL: We are really excited about the Festival Flavours dishes on offer this Brisbane Festival. Which dishes are you most keen to try this year?

I love all the restaurants. My problem is I eat at them all the time and I love them all. Tartufo?I just love their wonderful pasta. And Fat Noodle. I just adore their signature dish with the beef and broth?it's just delicious. And of course Popolo?I just love their roast chicken.

TUL: What does a typical day look like for you in the lead up to the Festival?

Well they start early. All the artists are arriving at the moment, so it's a lot of meeting and greeting those artists, and going to rehearsals. Already we have a lot of rehearsals happening all over the world, so I'm going to see those, talking to the artists, dealing with any issues they have.

Once the Festival starts there's something like 450 performances over a three-week period. That's an average of 20 shows a day, so it's a matter of choosing which I go and see. I'll see an act of one, an act of another, have a reception here, or a function there, so it's pretty packed until late in the day.

TUL: Where's you favourite Brisbane restaurant?


TUL: Where do you like to go out for a drink?

South Bank.

TUL: What's the best way to spend $50 in Brisbane?

On the Festival! Go and see a show!

TUL: What's the best way to spend $500?

Go to see four shows at the Festival, and go out to some of our wonderful restaurants.

TUL: Where's your favourite city in the world?

New York.

Psst! Want to win two tickets to Rising at Brisbane Powerhouse as part of this year's Brisbane Festival? Sign up to our eNews to go in the draw!

TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored by Brisbane Festival and endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret - the List Love seal will be stamped on any sponsored material you see on the site. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.

Image Credit: Atmosphere Photography

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