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Artistic Director Louise Bezzina shares her 8 unmissable events

27 Aug

Artistic Director Louise Bezzina shares her 8 unmissable events

September is Brisbane Festival.

As spring sunshine replaces the winter westerlies, tell-tale splashes of vivid pink coat the city, beckoning all to re-emerge, connect and celebrate with friends and shine brightly under Brisbane’s expansive skies.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina leans into the city’s love affair with spring as she prepares to deliver a Brightly Brisbane program of events and experiences.

A celebration of this city, her program features an awe-inspiring line-up of premiere productions, cutting edge collaborations, commissioned new work, award-winning performances, surprising venues and a brand-new Festival hub: BOQ Festival Garden.

“We are making great new works of scale and bringing a new perspective on life into the community as well as a sense of joy and hope, taking us out of our everyday,” Louise explains.

“We are privileged to create, collaborate and realise ambitious new works over 23 days this September.”

Seeing her Brightly Brisbane vision reach fruition has been an at-times bumpy road with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throwing myriad obstacles in the Festival’s path.

“Trying to predict anything right now is simply impossible – anything can happen – but we keep firing on all cylinders because we owe it to our artists and our audiences to deliver a bright, bold and uniquely Brisbane Festival.

“So, we look for the positives and seek out those moments of pure joy that Brisbane Festival gifts to its community.”

While loathe to play favourites, Louise has narrowed down those “moments of pure joy” to nominate her eight unmissable events.

01 - BOQ Festival Garden

01 - BOQ Festival Garden

I am overjoyed to launch our new Festival hub, BOQ Festival Garden, set within the lush surrounds of South Bank Parklands. It extends from South Bank Piazza to the Brisbane River and is a playground of food, wine, entertainment and discovery. I invite everyone to catch a show then linger and mingle at our new home base.

02 - First Nations Fashion: Walking In Two Worlds

02 - First Nations Fashion: Walking In Two Worlds

We present our largest First Nations program in 2021 thanks to our First Nations curators, guided by our Indigenous Advisory Group. One highlight is the brilliant Grace Lillian Lee and her major project, First Nations Fashion: Walking in Two Worlds. This catwalk spectacular combines Australian designers, local models, Indigenous fashion, dance, film and live music.

03 - Street Serenades

03 - Street Serenades

Our epic 2021 Street Serenades line-up builds on the runaway success of our inaugural event: more artists, more performances and more opportunities for Brisbane residents to explore their city and catch a free, live concert. Keep an eye out for our mobile stages rolling into your neighbourhood – you never know who’ll you see!

04 - Brisbane's Art Boat

04 - Brisbane's Art Boat

Brisbane’s Art Boat is a fabulous new Festival creation; a floating art experience that combines eye-popping highly interactive illuminated art installations, live music, entertainment and our iconic Brisbane River. Fittingly, this brand-new work of scale sets sail from both South Bank Parklands and Northshore, Hamilton, a glorious riverfront precinct also making its Brisbane Festival debut this year.

05 - Let’s Be Friends Furever

05 - Let’s Be Friends Furever

Yes, there will be real dogs on stage and this ambitiously large new work is what festivals are all about. After all we’ve endured over the past 18 months, what we truly need now is the unbridled joy and unconditional love of our four-legged friends. “Fetch” your tickets quickly because they’re selling fast. Brisbane’s beloved Good Room have done it again.

06 - DEMOLITION

06 - DEMOLITION

DEMOLITION is a world premiere production guaranteed to lift the roof with a hot-as-hell mighty new work. A fusion of cabaret, theatre and social activism, Polytoxic takes a sledgehammer to the system in this sexy and wholly unapologetic reclamation of space.

07 - RED

07 - RED

There are a range of experiences that audiences need to have in a festival. Joy, provocation and inspiration. This work is urgent, poignant and visionary. Dancenorth’s Queensland premiere of RED is an outstanding contemporary dance piece that is both epic and intimate and I predict people who see it will be talking about it for a long time to come.

08 - Boy Swallows Universe

08 - Boy Swallows Universe

Simply put, this is the most anticipated work of Brisbane Festival 2021. We are deeply committed to telling the stories of our great city and Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe which has been adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry, is a boldly Brisbane story, written by an exceptional Brisbane author and brought to life by an incredibly talented group of artists and creatives. We’ve been waiting a long time to see Eli and August Bell on stage, along with the unforgettable characters who inhabit the world Trent crafted in his standout debut novel. Through a partnership with Queensland Theatre and QPAC, scale is realised and the marvel of Australian theatre will delight our audiences. Boy Swallows Universe will go down in history, I just know it.

#Explore the program

Dance, theatre, cabaret and comedy⁠—there's something for everyone this September.

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