Festival Conversations

06 - 25 Sep
State Library of Queensland - Auditorium 1

Shining a spotlight on the big issues running across this year's Brisbane Festival, with a special Brisbane Festival Oration from Peter Sellars.


The Brisbane Festival Oration

Friday 25 September 6:00pm – 6:50pm 
Playhouse Stage, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)

Peter Sellars is one of the world‘s great cultural figures. He is heralded as perhaps America’s greatest living theatre and opera director and renowned worldwide for his transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces. He is known for his collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists. He delivers the inaugural Brisbane Festival Oration, a major speech on contemporary arts and culture and how they intersect with, and influence, social change.

Do we have a society in which we can genuinely talk with each other, and hear each other? We are used to hearing those with the microphone, but what would a major redistribution of the microphone mean? How can the arts encourage a genuinely participatory democracy? Justice must be something that is arrived at collectively, so how can we raise a generation to be visionary, to have what it takes to convince fellow citizens of what is just? Are there alternatives to the way our arts and culture are structured? Can education projects leverage shifts in the social and artistic space?

All are welcome to attend this event. Registrations are encouraged (at the bottom of this page) however a registration is not required to enter the theatre.

One of Brisbane Festival’s major events this year is FLEXN, which sees Sellars team up with Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray, one of the ‘flex’ pioneers, and a community of flex dancers from the very neighbourhoods in New York’s Brooklyn where the movement first took shape.

Audience Q&A at the end. 

New Notes in Opera

Sunday 6 September 2:00pm – 3:00pm 
Studio 1, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (entry via the Playhouse, corner of Russell Street and Little Stanley Street, South Bank)


Opera, as an art form, has been much discussed in recent years. What does the future hold for this 400 year old enterprise? In this Brisbane Festival, Macbeth, Il Ritorno and Coup Fatal all reshape opera, sometimes in quite startling ways. Key artists meet other players in the field to unpick the challenges.


David Berthold: Artistic Director, Brisbane Festival
Fabrizio Cassol: Composer, MacBeth and Coup Fatal
Quentin Grant: Musical Director/Arranger, Il Ritorno
Yaron Lifschitz: Director, Il Ritorno 
Suzie Miller, Acclaimed Australian Playwright
Alain Platel: Artistic Director, Coup Fatal

This will be a moderated panel with audience Q&A at the end. 

singapore Snapshot

Wednesday 9 September 7:30pm – 8:30pm 
Auditorium 2, State Library Queensland

Singapore, in its 50th anniversary year and the year of the death of Lee Kuan Yew, is in a natural period of refection. How might this unique city-nation enter this new period? How is the balance of its society shifting? Might the arts and other forms of cultural expression be offered new freedoms? What are the lessons for Australia? Key artists from our Singapore series reflect on some of the trickiest political and cultural questions of one of our closest neighbours.

Alfred Bay: Advisor of QUT Singapore Students Association
Glen Goei, Director of The Importance Of Being Earnest
Professor Herman van Eyken, Head of School - Griffith Film School
Ivan Heng: Founding and Artistic Creative Director of W!LD RICE; actor and set designer of The Importance of Being Earnest
Alvin Tan: Director, Best Of

This will be a moderated panel with audience Q&A at the end. 

Africa, Arts and the Great Forgetting

Tuesday 15 September 12.00pm – 1:00pm 
Auditorium 2, State Library Queensland

The West has an undoubted blind spot when it comes to Africa. Why is this so? After a long period of decolonisation, how is this continent of over one billion people, half of whom are under the age of 19, dealing with its enormous growth, the quickest of any continent? How are the arts helping to illuminate the things we’ve tended to forget, hide or ignore; and how are they pointing to a future? Key artists from our Congo Connections series join members of Brisbane’s large African community to share stories and observations.

Brett Bailey: Director, Macbeth 
David Berthold: Artistic Director, Brisbane Festival 
Elijah Buol: Queensland African Communities Council President 
Future D. Fidel: Playwright, Prize Fighter
Faustin Linyekula: Director/ performer, Le Cargo
Constantin Mukendi: President and Founder of Auscongo Network 
Moderated by Akua Afriyie Ahenkorah 

This will be a moderated panel with audience Q&A at the end. 

Street Cultures

Sunday 20 September 2:00pm – 3:00pm 
Auditorium 2, State Library Queensland

Why is the street so often at the forefront of new artistic form? In this Brisbane Festival, FLEXN, Hot Brown Honey, RAPCity and all draw on its eloquence. Key artists and local experts dig through the evidence.

Kim Bowers aka Busty Beatz: Performer, Hot Brown Honey
Jess Chambers, General Manager/Co-Owner of RAW Dance Company, Producer of RAPcity 
Sammie Williams: Guest Performer, Hot Brown Honey and B Girl 
Two artists from FLEXN
Moderated by Rebecca McIntosh: 4ZZZ & Love TV

This will be a moderated panel with audience Q&A at the end. 


Monday 21 September 12:00pm – 1:00pm 
Auditorium 2, State Library Queensland

This hashtag is all over social media, representing a burgeoning American political movement questioning the relationship between race and authority. In particular, it speaks directly to events surrounding the suspicious killings of unarmed African Americans by police officers. It’s a story not going away in America, and of course it’s one that has deep resonances with experiences in Australia. FLEXN is alive with this American story, while Beautiful One Day alerts us to a key Australian story. Key artists meet with those at the forefront.

David Berthold: Artistic Director, Brisbane Festival 
Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray: Co-Creator & Performer, FLEXN
Rachael Maza: Devisor/Performer, Beautiful One Day 
Peter Sellars: Co-Creator, FLEXN 
Professor Gracelyn Smallwood: Aboriginal Elder and Human Rights Activist 
Sam Watson: Aboriginal Activist and Socialist Politician

This will be a moderated panel with audience Q&A at the end. 

free: Register to attend

Dates Icon Dates
No session information available
Venue Icon Venue
State Library of Queensland - Auditorium 1

29 Stanley Street
QLD 4101

Ticket Prices
Free Event

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