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Experience the power of storytelling at Brisbane Festival

4 Aug

Experience the power of storytelling at Brisbane Festival

"We can make the world a better place by sharing one story at a time."
- Anita Heiss (Tiddas)

The stories of artists and communities are at the heart of connecting us. Brisbane Festival celebrates and amplifies their voices by placing boldly Brisbane stories in the forefront of the festival this September.

Relive the heartwarming story of Australia's tennis sweetheart, Evonne Goolagong in Sunshine Super Girl; inspired by a true story, Slow Boat recounts the incredible journey of six Chinese workers from wartime China to the Bulimba dockyards; immerse yourself in a diverse range of world premieres including Brown Church, a theatrical spectacle that centres on the journeys of displacement and queer liberation of seven Brisbane storytellers; and a collection of page-to-stage adaptations including Tiddas by Anita Heiss, the story of five sisters, each with their own secrets that come unstuck without warning one weekend.

Here are the stories that are making the world a better place this year.

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Stories can help build bridges of understanding between people. Storytelling can also help us recognise our common humanity.

Anna Yen

#World Premieres

This year, bold Brisbane artists are once again the heroes - their stories and their imagination at the heart. We're extremely proud to welcome the following new works to the 2022 program.

To move forward, we look to the past in the world premiere of Anna Yen's Slow Boat 緩舟. Inspired by Anna's father's arrival to Brisbane post World War II, her incredible new production demonstrates how compassion and friendship bring new hope and a new life.

Slow Boat 緩舟
Festival Highlight
1—10 Sep

Slow Boat 緩舟


Queer-Glory. Op-Shop-Rich. Dance.

At this holy gay altar, witness the journeys of displacement, queer liberation and the euphoria of culture as explored through poetry, music and dance by Meanjin-based revolution, The Naavikaran Collective. Brown Church centres queerness as a central faith, bringing out the exuberant need to realise colonisation in order to destroy it.


Stories have always played a vital role in shaping futures on these lands, so it is more than fitting that First Nations artists have space within this festival to do the work we have been doing for thousands of years.

Alethea Beetson

Gonna steal ya hearts, like ya stole our land.

When politicians threaten to tear down All Ways, a karaoke bar and skating rink run by local matriarch, to make way for new ‘cultural’ attractions, the crew from the ‘wrong’ side of Restriction Avenue have to find a way to rewrite the past to save their beloved place.

Queen's City
Festival Highlight
21—24 Sep

Queen's City

​Cremorne Theatre, QPAC​

#An Incredible True Story

Before Ash Barty lifted the trophy at Wimbledon, there was Evonne Goolagong.

A young girl hits a ball against the tin wall of her family’s home. This is where it all began for Evonne. Hers is a quintessentially Blak Australian story about a girl from the bush who dared to dream.

This heart-warming story is a celebration of spirit and passion over adversity, and a tribute to a woman whose sporting prowess continues to inspire a nation, giving hope to thousands of young girls across the country.

Sunshine Super Girl
Festival Highlight
22—24 Sep

Sunshine Super Girl

Playhouse, QPAC

Stories of past, present and future have literally fuelled our survival as First Nations peoples for generations. It's a vital part of the rich fabric of our cultural life.

Andrea James

#Storytelling through dance, music and artistic aerials.

Movement and music are a universal language. Here are the productions that transcend barriers to bring remarkable stories with meaningful messages.

How would you feel if gutter guards and ramps were installed in advance to prevent any possibility of your failing to hit the pins at a bowling alley? Expect an unexpectedly real dance theatre that is collaboratively devised, inclusive and informed by disability in a ten-pin bowling alley.


Considerable Sexual License is part-disco, part-confessional, all-awesome. Go on a journey with proud Wiradjuri man Joel Bray and his remarkable team of collaborators as they reject the conservative straightness of sexual politics in Australia.

Considerable Sexual License
15—17 Sep

Considerable Sexual License

Brisbane Festival and Brisbane Powerhouse present

Brisbane Powerhouse


Nominated for 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Sold-out seasons on Broadway and the West End.

A captivating story of American life in 1934 Minnesota. A group of wanderers cross paths at a guesthouse. Standing at a turning point in their lives, they realise nothing is what it seems, but as they search for a future, and hide from the past, they find themselves facing unspoken truths about the present. More than 20 songs of Bob Dylan are reimagined and interwoven into this deeply moving story.

Girl From The North Country
Festival Highlight
8—18 Sep

Girl From The North Country

Lyric Theatre, QPAC


The other half of the legend.

Set against the violence of the Trojan War, Holding Achilles by David Morton is a refreshing take on one of the ancient world’s best-known heroes, and his relationship with Patroclus, his not so well-known lover.

Set to a haunting new score performed live by Montaigne and physical theatre virtuosos Legs On The Wall, this innovative new work blends heightened physicality and visual storytelling with an ensemble cast to weave a legend of mythic proportions.

Holding Achilles
Festival Highlight
29 Aug—10 Sep

Holding Achilles

Brisbane Festival and Queensland Performing Arts Centre present

Playhouse, QPAC

For me the power of storytelling is that it lets you travel to another world for a while, and in doing so see yourself reflected in the struggles and choices of its inhabitants.

David Morton

#Page-to-stage adaptations

The stories of five sisters and a young boy have captured the hearts of book lovers, and they're taking over the stage to capture your hearts too.

Tiddas by Anita Heiss follows the lives of five women who have been best friends for decades. They meet once a month to talk about books, life, love and the jagged bits in between. But each woman carries a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck.

Also with a secret is Shannon Molloy. The award-winning journalist and author of Fourteen recounts his 14th year of life growing up gay in central Queensland. This moving coming-of-age memoir about adversity and tragedy is also a story of resilience, hope and hilarity — thanks to the love of a group of close-knit friends, a fiercely protective family, an extraordinary mother and... S Club 7.

Tiddas
Weekend Highlight
5—24 Sep

Tiddas

Roundhouse Theatre, La Boite

Fourteen
Festival Highlight
27 Aug—17 Sep

Fourteen

​Cremorne Theatre, QPAC​


#More storytelling moments...

BATSHIT
21—24 Sep

BATSHIT

Brisbane Festival and Metro Arts Present

Metro Arts

Shakespeare's Othello
10 Sep—1 Oct

Shakespeare's Othello

Brisbane Festival and Queensland Theatre present

Bille Brown Theatre

Mistero Buffo
14—17 Sep

Mistero Buffo

Brisbane Festival and Metro Arts present

Metro Arts

Jumoo
Free
Fri 2 Sep

Jumoo

BOQ Festival Garden

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