Perth Festival is in full swing and the lineup is looking jam-packed with music, performances, film, visual arts and much much more. But as it always happens with busy festivals, narrowing the must-see shows can be a bit of a challenge.
You know the drill: to make your life easier, we’ve done all the hard work for you and picked some of our favourites from this year’s Perth Festival. Just be aware that there are a ton more things to see, so if you’re feeling brave, we definitely recommend going through the full program.
That said, here are our top picks for this year’s Perth Festival.
Fremantle Arts Centre
Butcher Cherel Janangoo was a key elder of the Gooniyandi language group in the Kimberley and was instrumental in the retention of men’s law ceremony at Muludja Community. The Janangoo exhibition features a selection of Butcher’s vibrant gouache paintings from the 1990s-2000s, which he made to preserve and transmit this significant body cultural knowledge to the younger generation. The exhibition is free, so make sure to pop by and have a look.
Bran Nue Dae
Strap yourselves into the time-machine because Jimmy Chi’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age musical comedy is an unforgettable ride through 1960s Western Australia. Packed with humour and hope, Bran Nue Dae is a feel-good mash-up of rock-and-roll, gospel, country and blues music that made the first-ever Aboriginal musical a sparkling success in 1990.
Highway To Hell
From Applecross to Fremantle
We hope you don’t have to be on the Canning Highway on 1 March, because that baby will be closed down to set the scene for the world’s longest stage. At 5pm, a convoy of eight semi-trailers will set off down the highway acting as moving stages for a huge lineup of local, interstate and international musicians. So pick your zone or bring a picnic and watch the trucks roll past anywhere along the highway and then sit back and soak up the jam-packed program.
If you’re feeling like a bit of circus to invigorate you, Leviathan is just the ticket: 36 performers hanging from a grid suspended in the air, propelling themselves across the stage, tumbling, balancing and soaring together? Sign us up.
Tao Of Glass
Heath Ledger Theatre
Philip Glass is the famous composer behind the bone-chilling, Oscar-nominated soundtracks of Einstein on the Beach, The Hours and Notes on a Scandal. Glass and performer-director Phelim McDermott have worked together on acclaimed opera productions around the world and have come together at this year’s Perth Festival to present Tao of Glass. This performance showcases ten brand-new pieces by Glass and marries them to ten meditations on life, death and Taoist wisdom performed by McDermott with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers. It’s a wild ride you won’t want to miss.
Heath Ledger Theatre
From the team that brought you ‘Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?’ in the 90s comes another powerful piece on the pulse of our nation today. Anthem is a funny and fierce portrait of a country unable to reconcile its past, uncertain of its future and political vision. If you’re thinking about attending one performance at this year’s Perth Festival, it should be this one.
Come ride the G Flip train at the Chevron Lighthouse on Saturday, 22 February and see the Melbourne-based singer in action. Her debut single ‘About You’ is a self-produced powerhouse anthem that is sure to have you dancing and singing along all night long.
Ballet At The Quarry
Sit back and relax under the stars as summer favourite Ballet at the Quarry takes you through a ballet journey unlike no other. Presenting a unique combination of ballet and contemporary dance, this exciting production is sure to blow you away.
If G Flip’s not your speed, then bathe in Weyes Blood’s blissful harmonies as she takes on life’s big questions with her soulful vibes. Apparently Weyes Blood has been dubbed as the ‘millennial Joni Mitchell’, so you’ll want to attend the show to see if that comparison holds true.
Subiaco Arts Centre
If you’re a theatre geek, you won’t want to miss this one. Join Yirra Yaakin, one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations for Australia’s first large-scale Shakespeare production entirely in Noongar. Hecate, queen of the witches, usually takes the backseat or is omitted from modern productions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this performance, the character is centre-stage as she witnesses Macbeth’s slow and painful descent into madness.
I’m A Phoenix, Bitch
‘I'm a Phoenix, Bitch’ is Bryony Kimmings’ most intimate show yet, centred around the worst year of her life. The UK performer tackles losing her mind, partner, home and her son’s sickness with humour and depth; just make sure to bring some tissues for this one.
Australian String Quartet With William Barton
Ever wanted to hear all six of Beethoven’s effervescent Op 18 quartets matched with works from Australian Indigenous composers? Then this special series of four concerts from Australian String Quartet and didgeridoo master William Barton is for you, so don’t miss it.
Noongar Bush Tucker
Chase the blues away this Tuesday, 11 February by transporting yourself into the world of books and Indigenous food. Join the mobile book club as it motors across the city for a literary discussion inspired by Noongar Bush Tucker by Vivienne Hansen and John Horsfall, that ends with an Indigenous food degustation.
Looking for more stuff to do? Here are all the awesome things happening in Perth this week.
Image credit: Perth Festival