Brisbane Festival Unveils 2023 Program

5 Jul

Brisbane Festival Unveils 2023 Program

Brisbane Festival makes the impossible possible for 23 days in a city-wide celebration of music, theatre, and art performances from 1 – 23 September.

Staging more than 1000 performances in arts venues and some of the city’s most iconic locations, as well as cathedrals, warehouses, and suburban parks, there will be something new and exciting to experience at every turn.

From world-premiere theatre and dance, family fun and free community gatherings to late night cabaret and live music, you are invited to celebrate, connect, and be inspired in Brisbane this September.

Making its world premiere at Brisbane Festival 2023, Salamander is a stunning, large-scale, site- specific dance theatre work by internationally renowned choreographer and director Maxine Doyle and artist and designer Es Devlin, working with composer and sound designer Rachael Dease and leading Queensland artistic company Australasian Dance Collective (ADC).

Salamander (1-24 September) transforms a warehouse on the banks of the Brisbane River at Northshore into a futuristic dream-like world, haunted by desperate characters, labyrinths, shifting structures and a flooded landscape. 

Eternity, by internationally acclaimed, Brisbane-based Circa, also makes its world premiere at Brisbane Festival (13-16 September). 

Staged in the hallowed grounds of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in the heart of Brisbane City, Eternity creates a communion between Circa’s eight-strong ensemble of acrobats and artists and the spellbound audience. 

International festival hit The Making of Pinocchio (13-16 September) is a profound piece of storytelling; a heartwarming, at-times funny and deeply personal account of gender transition, playing Brisbane Powerhouse. The Australian premiere and Brisbane Festival exclusive tells an intimate story through an international lens, sparking a deeper conversation about gender identity in all communities and societies. 

Lightscape – a multi-sensory experience of light, colour and sound – illuminates the City Botanic Gardens (1 September – 8 October).

The brilliant botanical wonderland features glowing tree canopies, larger-than-life flowers and neon roots bursting from the undergrowth along a 2.5km immersive light trail in the heart of the city. 

The skies above Brisbane also come alive on opening weekend with Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust (2 September) and Nieergoo: Spirit of the Whale, a spectacular, never-before-seen massed drone performance (1-2 September). 

The Brisbane-first celestial dance of 400 choreographed drones takes place above the river in front of Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, telling a captivating First Nations narrative through beautiful visuals and a mesmerising soundtrack. 

Bookending the Festival is All Together Now (23 September), a raucous and inclusive, free, all-ages celebration of music, dance, fun and frivolity at Brisbane’s newest inner-city oasis, Victoria Park. 

The cacophonous closing night party also serves as the culmination of the Brisbane Serenades program of free mini-concerts across Brisbane suburbs, amassing thousands of everyday musicians in two big events: 10,000 Kazoos and NOISE. 

NOISE partners dancers from leading North Queensland company Dancenorth with 100 local drummers who thump out a scintillating live score in a dynamic community-driven performance. 

10000 Kazoos calls everyone to join the “Kazoonity” and help assemble the world’s largest and zaniest orchestra, one where no previous musical experience is required. 

Brisbane Festival’s epicentre of gathering and celebration, Australian Retirement Trust Festival Garden is an all-ages inner-city wonderland of food, wine, entertainment and discovery set among the lush South Bank parklands.  

Hiromi Hotel: Yu Ka 夢花, a large- scale site-specific installation by beloved visual artist Hiromi Tango.

Crowning the Festival hub is South Bank Piazza, the vibrant and versatile venue hosting a must-see program of uplifting and entertaining works from sizzling circus to Australian music royalty, feelgood cabaret to eye-popping dance. 

Continuing a proud tradition, Brisbane Festival again features a strong, surprising and inspiring program of First Nations-led work starting with JARRAH (Sep 1), the popular opening event that honours and pays respect to the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.


Brisbane Festival’s full program encompasses previously announced events including the world premieres of BANANALAND (18 September – 1 October), Tae Tae in the Land of Yaaas! (25 August – 17 September) and Cut Chilli (14 September – 7 October). 

It also features the Australian debut of Kuramanunya (13-16 September) by Thomas E.S. Kelly and Karul Projects at Metro Arts. 


How the WORST rock band becomes the BEST kids' band!

Playhouse, QPAC

Making their Queensland premieres are Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Yuldea (28 August – 10 September) at QPAC Playhouse, Hide the Dog (21-23 September) at QPAC Cremorne Theatre, The Farm/Performing Lines’ Stunt Double (6-9 September) and Australian Dance Theatre and Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s Tracker (20-23 September) at Brisbane Powerhouse, and Jodee Mundy’s Personal (6-9 September) at Metro Arts. 

See the full program, subscribe for updates, and follow Brisbane Festival on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Brisbane Festival is an initiative of the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council. 1000 Kazoos is proudly presented by Health and Wellbeing Queensland, a gold partner of Brisbane Festival 2023. Brisbane Serenades is supported by Airbnb as the Festivals Inaugural Community Engagement Partner. 

#What's On

Choose from 80+ shows, or go to them all 😘

Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.