Archive for the 'Interdisciplinary Art' Category




Flowstate – What’s Flowstate?

No, it’s not the latest facial scan digital technology used to capture actors’ features for use in films requiring the actor’s face to appear on the bodies of her doubles to achieve the illusion of a perfect triple axel performed by the actor herself…



Flowstate is a 3000sqm interim-use, creative pop-up repurposing the Arbour View Café precinct in the heart of the South Bank Parklands, designed by specialist Australian architecture and performance design firm Stukel Stone.


Flowstate comprises three distinct zones: a grassy relaxation zone, immersive digital art installation JEM by award-winning design studio ENESS and an open-air performance pavilion. Launched on January 29, Flowstate boasts a year-long showcase program of free artistic experiences spanning circus, dance, theatre, music and visual installation. Queensland artists and performers will deliver 20+ free artistic experiences against a panoramic tree-lined skyline, inspiring audiences to contemplate a range of ideas underpinned by a focus on city form.


The year-long showcase program is South Bank Corporation’s contribution to the cultural activities happening during the year of the Commonwealth Games. Precinct partners include Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Griffith University, as well as broader partners including UPLIT, Festival 2018, CIRCA and Metro Arts.


Participating artists and companies include CIRCA, Dead Puppet Society, Little Match Productions, Elbow Room, The Good Room, Liesel Zink, and Polytoxic. Resident local DJs bring their energy to the precinct every Friday evening. Find them on the Flowstate Green 5.30pm – 7pm.


“South Bank Corporation is delighted to unveil Flowstate, and to launch a year-long multi-arts program of free creative experiences marking our contribution to the cultural activities happening across the state during the year of the Commonwealth Games,” South Bank Corporation Chair Dr Catherin Bull AM said. “As a place where ideas about what the city can and will be are explored, Flowstate aims to encourage a vibrant culture of exploration and exchange across the South Bank precinct.”



The addition of the 3000sqm interim-use site offers South Bank’s 11million+ annual visitors another engaging experience to enjoy in the precinct, famous for its awe-inspiring riverside parklands, Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach, award-winning restaurants and bars and world-class accommodation options. Set against the Parklands’ stunning subtropical backdrop, Flowstate invites both locals and visitors to collaborate with some of Queensland’s most compelling artists, witness new performance work in development, engage in workshops, participate in a robust program of public conversations and engage with a groundbreaking digital installation.


Free event highlights include Aura by Queensland’s world-leading performance company CIRCA (06–25 March); Dead Puppet Society’s roving installation Megafauna (04–08 April); Little Match Productions’ all-ages contemporary opera The Owl and the Pussycat (11–15 April); moonlit musical trek Song to the Earth by Corrina Bonshek (16–19 May); and These Frozen Moments by the inimitable The Good Room (21 November–02 December). Complementing Flowstate’s Pavilion performances is an inspiring speaker and workshop series, with special guests throughout the year including Magda Szubanski, Luke Ryan and Margi Brown Ash, plus a weekly resident DJ set every Friday evening on the Flowstate Green.


Professional Queensland-based artists are also invited to apply for one of two additional supported residencies, for public work-in-progress showings at Flowstate in December 2018. Submit an online application here


“Via Flowstate, we hope to stimulate ideas, questions and maybe even some more answers about what contemporary cities can and should be,” Dr Bull said. South Bank Corporation CEO Bill Delves said Flowstate capsured the ever-changing nature of the South Bank precinct, continuing its 25-year legacy as a “people’s place”. “With the team’s delivery of Flowstate, we continue to sculpt Brisbane’s beloved playground into a magnificent world-leading precinct where local, interstate and international visitors eat, work and play,” Mr Delves said.


Find out more about Flowstate here


The DAM(N) Project premieres at Floating Land 2013


The DAM(N) Project Premieres at Floating Land Closing Ceremony


Remember we went to the Encounters Festival at the Con to see Leah Barclay’s DAM(N) Project presentation? Poppy came away a little frightened (the music was so eerie at times), Sam came away angry (the injustice had him furious), and I was incredibly moved by an enormous story told simply and beautifully through evocative sound and images. I know, you were busy, and you missed it! But now you can see the LIVE PERFORMANCE TOMORROW NIGHT AT BOREEN POINT FOLLOWING FLOATING LAND’S CLOSING CEREMONY.



On Saturday June 8th The DAM(N) project will present their first major live performance in Australia – a site-specific work combining projections, dance and soundscapes in collaboration with Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, India’s leading contemporary dance company. The work features as part of the 2013 Floating Land Festival, and will be presented on the Main Beach at Boreen Point after the Closing Ceremony this Saturday night.


Two of Attakkalari’s most accomplished dancers Ronita Mookerji and Sylvester Mardi have working in Australia for the last two weeks intensely developing this site-specific project for Floating Land 2013. This will be the first time Ronita and Sylvester perform in Australia.



The DAM(N) Project is a large-scale interdisciplinary arts project that connects Australian and Indian communities around the common concern of global water security. The project was conceived and developed by Sydney based producer/director Jehan Kanga, Queensland based composer Leah Barclay and S. Shakthidharan, the director of CuriousWorks.

DAM(N) delves into the heart of the Narmada Valley, working directly with remote communities in central North India, displaced by large-scale dams securing hydropower for Indian cities. Water scarcity is a significant issue for both Australia and India and the issue of controlling and managing hydrological systems is extremely politicised in both countries. The construction of large dams on the River Narmada in India and its impact on over 30 million of people living in the river valley has become one of the most important social issues in contemporary India.

IMG_2567-1024x682Ultimately, the DAM(N) project is designed to connect global communities around the common concern of global water security and reveal the ramifications of damming rivers that hold cultural and spiritual significance for indigenous communities world-wide.


This first stage of The DAM(N) Project highlights the validity of community engagement, social activism and digital technology in environmentally engaged interdisciplinary art practice. While the initial stage is focused on the relationship between Australian and India, the long-term vision for The DAM(N) Project expands into other communities and cultures worldwide.


The performance tomorrow night presents a rare opportunity to see a very intimate work by some of Australia’s and India’s best young artists.


The performance runs for 45 minutes at the Main Beach at Boreen Point from 7-7:45pm on Saturday June 8 2013



Jamie Lewis talks about the Singapore Brisbane Exchange

Hot on the heels of WTF and getting around to reading a random Currency Press Platform Paper (No 31 April 2012: Finding a Place on the Asian Stage by Alison Carroll & Carrillo Gantner), which had been displayed at the box office at Brisbane Powerhouse while I was waiting to go into The Last Supper (not so random, really, considering the work Andrew Ross has done to bring Asian theatre and theatremakers to Brisbane. He gets a lovely mention), I chased up Jamie Lewis, who is a performance artist and the Audience Development Manager at Metro Arts.


Jamie participated in a fascinating creative experience overseas, the Singapore<>Brisbane Exchange.


Believe it or not, I’d never heard of it so I asked her to tell us all about it!


Get yourself a coffee, chai, smoothie, wine, whatever…and get into this. Thanks so much, Jamie, for taking the time out to talk with us.



Chan Hampe Galleries (Singapore) in partnership with Metro Arts (Australia) presents the Singapore <> Brisbane Exchange, a cultural exchange program that will comprise of a six week residency period (three weeks in Singapore and three weeks in Brisbane) for four artists and two curators or writers and result in a major exhibition project at Metro Arts to coincide with the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (8 December 2012 – 7 April 2013).

The participating residents, two artists and one curator or writer from each country, will be challenged to respond to the urbanisation and built environment of the two cities. For the past quarter century, the government of Singapore has significantly redeveloped the city to facilitate the daily needs of its people and to enhance economic growth. Similarly, Brisbane is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, having experienced significant population growth over the last two decades. Development permeates the culture of both cities.


The Weekend Edition reported that in late October, three Australian artists and three Singaporean artists convened in Singapore – exchanging personal experiences, cultural differences and sharing their work practices and ideas. The six artists are now set to continue their collaboration in Brisbane. The challenge set for them is to explore and respond to the urbanization and rapid development of the two cities. Though culturally different, Singapore and Brisbane have both experienced significant growth and development to facilitate the needs of their respective populations over the last two decades.

The collaborative practice sees the six participants, comprising four artists, a writer and a curator, working together, exploring the city, talking to its people, investigating its present and thereby also revealing its history. Issues of shifting communal space, cultural memory and the city environment are informing and feeding the works they are creating.


Jamie Lewis is a performance artist. Her work investigates the thresholds of audience engagement through the experimentation with the Live. The form of her work is determined by the nature of collaborations and provocations through the process of creation, though her current explorations are in the intimacy of one-on-one performances in the public-ness of the city.

Her conceptual streak, and a perceptive eye, has also led her practice into some sort of a midwifery, as she facilitates, curates, and challenges the artistic processes of her peers.

Her background in Theatre of the Oppressed work with Drama Box (Singapore) has taken her to the streets of Bangalore, India, youth in Singapore schools and workshops with Augusto Boal in Omaha, USA. She graduated with a B.A.(Hons.) in Theatre and Performance at LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore) and completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Creation at the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne).

Jamie is also one-quarter of Transparency Collective



Jamie, tell us how you came to be involved in the Singapore<>Brisbane Exchange.

I had been part of FreeRange 2011, and in the Galleries Program early 2012 with Transparency Collective. So there was already this existing relationship with Metro Arts, always curious to see what other opportunities I might have here.


I actually saw the call for applications through Singapore’s National Arts Council newsletter, and I remember writing Channon (then coordinator for Visual Art at Metro Arts) to clarify if I should apply as an Australian or a Singaporean artist considering I live here now.


Also, the themes of urbanisation and development in both cities were already things I had begun exploring at FreeRange 2011. It was the most apparent part 2 to the research I had already begun on. There was no way I wasn’t applying for this.



Tell us about the highlight of this program.

The highlight was being in the Singapore leg of the residency, and being introduced as an international artist. Hey, small wins! Got to claim them when they come.


But on a serious note, that was indeed the big highlight. Visiting my family in that trip was a very significant moment. I am still a very young artist in terms of my practice, and so it was a big recognition of their (and we’re not just talking mom and dad and brother, we’re talking grandma and mom’s 7 siblings and younger cousins etc) immense support and love to be involved in such a project; a homecoming of sorts.


Big highlight was also to be there with Jess O’Brien and Richard Stride, who we all only got to know through this residency, to live in the same house, and spend this intensive 3 weeks experiencing Singapore. It was confronting and yet refreshing to see my home city through their eyes, to be a tourist for the first time, to take note of details I’ve taken for granted…and mostly, to be stimulated by the amazing conversations we were having ALL the time. We were discussing thoughts and ideas and observations and criticism at any moment – when on a residency like this, there’s no distinction of “work-time” or “play-time,” but there was always respect of space and privacy. And that experience, I thoroughly savoured.


What was particularly challenging or difficult to get your head around?

I think when we look critically at urbanisation and the development of a city, we inevitable have to look at history, culture, politics, geography…because it is about context isn’t it. And that really means that this is a lifetime’s worth of research. To spend 3 weeks in Singapore on that exchange felt like we only scratched the surface. As we went on our day visiting places and things, there was so much I was discovering out of my memory to share with Jess and Richard, I was surprised myself – how much we remember things we read randomly (like which architect built this and some political gossip that went around the saga etc…)


But that’s it isn’t it? There are so many factors that influence the current state of a city. Where do you begin, and how do you begin to contextualise your research and your work? How do we pick an angle, or a frame, without being superficial? What questions are we really asking?


In terms of performative outcomes, what has been seen or experienced by audiences in Singapore and Brisbane?

Singapore was mainly a research leg. There wasn’t a performative outcome there. We did have a very good talk with Kelvin from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and had amazing insight to heritage and conservation in such a fast-developing Singapore. And also were invited along to openings at Chan Hampe Galleries and the Singapore Art Museum. With the Singaporean artists we worked with, we’ve been talking about possibly bringing a part 2 of the exhibition and process to Singapore.


In Brisbane, we had a full exhibition at Metro Arts. It was pretty interesting how we had anticipated to present only works-in-progress given the rather short and tight lead-time, but it turned out we all had pretty resolved works for this stage.


Jess and Bernice wrote essays towards the catalogue. And Jess also made a zine to further share our process.


Bernice Ong (SG) works with house paint on wood surfaces. For this residency, she was looking at construction sites, and the signs and colours around them – so started painting as she researched, so there was a good series of works, and signs that she had made up.


Ryf Zaini (SG) is an engineering major before he went to art school. His installations are interactive and witty. He collected hardware (computers, appliances etc) and put them together to resemble a city skyline, connected red wires to them, and had them pointing towards one main switch, as if fighting for power.


Richard Stride (AUS) had photo collages made up that were just astounding. He had been experimenting with concrete prior to this, so he had some sculptures out of moulds he has been working with. Richard and Bernice also collaborated on an installation that was this great abstraction of high rises. Richard was probably the busiest of the lot: he also constructed the kitchen from which I worked in.


Over the time in Singapore, I also wrote a postcard a day journaling my “new” thoughts about Singapore. So I had that up as an installation over a Bougainvillea plant. And I prepared Sambal Belachan in the gallery, and hosted a dinner of Sambal Kangkong and rice the following evening.



 Can you describe what your preparation for this program involved?

Recipes. I tested out some recipes and had a dinner party with friends in Melbourne. My work has been conversation based, and mostly one-on-one, so hosting a dinner was a first, and I wasn’t sure how to facilitate that exactly. In a way, when the exhibition period started, it was very much still a “trial” for me; an investigation.


Revisiting my research from 2011 as well, as tracking the changes in thoughts since. Re-questioning and re-answering the sense of home and identity, sense of place – all that was important – writing the postcards was as much a work in itself as it was the process of re-evaluating the research. It came down to recognising the sentiment I wanted my work to communicate.


My main references for a lot of my work on the city were based on Gaston Bacchelard’s The Poetics of Space, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Matthew Condon’s Brisbane. So I re-read them.



And then a lot of conversations, and contemplation.


Hey, what does your involvement mean for your new position at Metro arts as their Audience Development Manager, and for your own work in the arts?

Having been an artist involved in Metro Arts puts me in a rather prime position to understand what Metro Arts does. (Though there is still much to learn!) But in terms of facilitating the type of work made and presented here, and how it is to be communicated to the audience and media and general public – I understand the nature of work that is interrogative of one’s practice, and the necessity of it because of my own practice – which makes for a strong starting point to then “translate” that.


More so, to find new ways to communicate that.


It’s no longer enough to get numbers through the door. We (as artists and as Metro Arts) want audience to recognise that they are patrons, investors, to a growing body of work, to an artist’ career, and to be engaged with the curiosity behind our processes.


My conversation based work puts people in the forefront. It is about engaging the Other. An invitation, not just to be present, but to be “intimately” involved. When this position came along, I said yes, because it was this obvious extension to my practice as an artist. Even more exciting, is that it is no longer just about my work, it is about facilitating someone’s else creative work. And to consistently be collaborating, not just with my colleagues, but also with the artists that work within Metro Arts.


With my artistic practice, it is about creating frameworks in which audiences can enter into the work. With Metro Arts now, it’s not much different. In fact, it’s an ambitious and invigorating step to now consider a broader audience for a larger pool of artistic works. How bloody exciting!


You’re a Performance Artist. Can you explain that term, in terms of your own work? Who are your (local and international) Performance artist idols? And what do you admire about their work? How does their work inform or inspire elements of your own work?

I think Performance Artist came about because it simply indicates that my work is performative. But I’ve recognised that I am responsive and prefer collaboration. So the form takes itself on depending on the concept and research, and what is pertinent at that time.


I write conversations: does that make me a writer too?





The word performance too for me is varied. And for me, I’m interested in us performing ourselves. In getting an audience member involved and responding, they too become performers of some sorts. We perform roles, daily, we perform tasks – we take on personas whether we like it or not, neither more or less genuine than the other. I am daughter, sister, lover, wife, friend, colleague, teacher, etc at different times and contexts, and my behaviour changes with these roles, but always Jamie.


I’m more interested in the active audience. So I create frameworks that enable them to be just that. There’s art in conversation.


I was very influenced by Adrian Howells from the UK. His intimate works, and later one-on-one performances was definitely something I took on when I was first investigating my practice, which perhaps might be answered in the next question.


Locally, I’m not sure about idols. But I’ve definitely met and worked with some amazing people in the last 3 years in Australia, who I will always want to maintain some sort of creative working relationship with because we share a vocabulary of process.


Your post grad, from Vic College of the Arts, is in Performance Creation. What does that mean? Describe the process and result from your favourite experience during that period in Melbourne.

My postgrad in VCA was instrumental in charting the path to where I am now. I didn’t plan to study overseas. We never had the finances. But it fell into place.


I remember graduating from LASALLE College of the Arts (SG) knowing the theatre that I DIDN’T want to make. I had a vague sense of the performances I wanted to make, but didn’t know how or where to start. I took a holiday to Melbourne to spend time with a best friend who had moved there, and chanced upon the course. So I enquired.


And I understood Performance Creation, specialising in Theatre Animateuring!!! [even more confusing] quite simply, starting from concept to devising to eventualising a work. And it truly was.


We were given provocations weekly, to instigate a short piece of work. The focus was on being critical and investigative. I was in an amazing cohort of 4 (who make up Transparency Collective) led by Leisa Shelton, and we were rigorous with our process and articulating the questions and findings.


I can’t say anything was favourite about it, because the entire year was intense and exhilarating! My first time living away from home, my first time living in a foreign country, and to so intensively explore my creative practice with peers who challenge and inspire me – how do we condense that who year and separate experiences within that?


But a very significant moment was in our preparation for our independent projects, which was the birth of my one-on-one conversation body of work, was:

I was feeling quite vague and insecure, feeling a bit of a wanker, wondering if “THIS” that I was making, was art. Jamie laughs.


I was never a trained actor. I was not a craftsmen. I had no form in terms of my artistic practice. I love research and concept. I had ideas. And a good eye. Was concept form?


And Leisa responded with something along the lines of: “do not give the question any more weight than what it carries. It’s no different from asking yourself where you want to live, or what kind of a relationship you want to have. You’ve stayed in a few different places, you’ve found your favourite things about each one. At some point, you decide what you need for where you are, and you stay there until it changes again.”


And then there was meeting my now husband through that particular independent project. (He was a friend of my classmate who I never met till he was an audience member in my work).


Tell us about the streets of Bangalore and Drama Box in Singapore.

If not for this Bangalore trip with Kok Heng Leun (Artistic Director of Drama Box), I would not have started on theatre at all.


I went on a youth expedition project with an open group of youth, led by Heng Leun and Suneetha (a leadership trainer I had in Junior College before I quit school because I didn’t believe in taking my GCE A Levels!)


We worked with Janothsava, an arts and cultural group there led by a child activist John Devaraj. The group was made up of middle-class youth, and street kids, the aim being getting kids off the streets.


So a bunch of us city kids, mostly in University or just graduated from University, and I was the youngest of the lot, spent almost a month there. Using Boal’s forum theatre, we devised 2 performances for a school, a village, and one on the streets in the city. The works dealt with themes of child labour, alcoholism, and even the education system.


See, on our first day, after the icebreakers with the Indian youth, there was news that one of the Indian girls who were supposed to join us committed suicide because she did not get into college. The results were posted online, and there were 3 girls with the same name, and without clarifying, she had felt so utterly disappointed and took her own life. It shook us all. It shook the Singaporeans crazily! We recognised that stress and pressure. We have had friends, or some even themselves, who have been close to such a scenario, all because of societal expectations of good grades! That is so incredibly sad…


Prior to this, the Indian youth felt like we had answers, since we came from a first world nation, educated and economically strong. They had a most basic impression that Education was the answer. But clearly, it offered its own set of problems.


We walked through slums and the city streets, and saw children working. Depressing sight, yes. But many were smiling, playing, and in conversations, actually preferred working to being in a school, because they’d rather help their parents.


The issue is far more complex than what that experience spelt out; but like I highlighted earlier at the start of the interview, understanding the full extent of anything like that, is a lifetime’s work. But understanding context, in as far as we can! And then posing the right questions, stirring the sentiments that come with it, enabling the Other to critically engage.


That’s our work as artists.


The experience shifted the entire workshop process, and created space for a much diverse dialogue around our original brief of why we were there in the first place.


And of course, the performances themselves – it’s a whole story on its own. And I could go on.


I went on working on Boal’s theatre of the oppressed with Heng Leun for a few more years, enrolled into theatre school, knowing I didn’t want audiences to sit behind a fourth wall, and here I am, writing conversations to have with strangers.


What do you believe theatre and art are for?

I wrote about this in my interviews with Jess in preparation for the zine she compiled. I think theatre and art presents a picture that problematises what is current, or predominant, or “normal.”


This probably answers questions about our responsibility to open eyes towards political/social/historical issues.


It’s not so much a responsibility as it is for me, something that is inevitable.


We perceive the world, and draw from it inspiration, material and direction. Our art making is a response to that. In our response, we seek an understanding of the context in which it is placed. And there, how can we disregard history, politics, and social currency?


But what we do is more to present an angle, create a framework, pose a question for thought, and give the audience the room to ask their own questions, find their own angle, and create their own framework for how they then want to see the world.


Okay, what do you love about the Asia Pacific Triennial?

Speaking of the APT, I need to go and visit it again before it closes! I managed only one visit the last time I was in Brisbane during our exhibition, and it certainly wasn’t enough.


I didn’t know much about it before last year, and when I looked it up and went through its archives, I think that’s what impressed me. It’s established itself as a very strong and sustainable program. The focus on a good curatorial ensures strong works, by artists with a sense of longevity in their practice.


What do you love about the future of Brisbane city?

I feel very comfortable in Brisbane, for various reasons. But I must admit I don’t know it well enough to understand what that future means. Again, context – understanding its history and its political climate, and where the direction is heading – but I think I’m learning.


To be a part of an institution that is Metro Arts though, that excites me. It’s one of a kind. Where else in Australia do we see such a hub of contemporary art in its diversity, and commitment to independent artists and their developing practices? That can do amazing things for the City if we can reach a broader, wider profile.


But also, I’ve noticed a culture and vibe from the artistic community here that humbles me. There is a “can-do” attitude, a down-to-earth, “let’s just try” approach. Brisbane may lack the quantity of things compared to Melbourne, but it certainly does not lack in quality and willingness, and daring I’d say.


In one of your posts on the Singapore<>Brisbane Exchange blog, you mention that you’ve described your practice as “conversation-based.” Also, “food is the enabler”. Can you explain what you mean by this?

Food is one of my biggest loves so I am biased. No, seriously, put food on the table, and people gather.


The table filled with food is a vehicle for people to engage. Whether it’s something familiar, and we feel welcomed and safe, or we provoke curiosity and risk in trying something new, food gets people talking. First they talk about the flavours then they talk about themselves.


There are many other enablers of course. Provide an activity, a framework, and people are less conscious of how they are presenting themselves. Food does quite significantly put someone’s guard down. To feed, and to be fed, is a fundamental act of nurture and care. And the immediacy of those effects is undeniable.


So more than food itself, the act of cooking for another person is what I am more interested in.


Hey Jamie, I’m particularly fascinated by your observation that we don’t always have a great mix of multicultural friends. You may have a better way of putting it! I noticed that in my daughter’s class this year, at a regular state school on the Sunshine Coast, she has not one class member who looks non-Anglo. We have friends from many different cultures outside of school but she in her school environment she is meeting mostly white Australians and Europeans. The darkest skin colour is tanned after the summer holidays. I find it intriguing that we still have these pockets of “white Australia” (though I’m sure the vast majority of the attitudes don’t reflect that particular political term!).


You noted that


“Friends and community happen organically. But it is interesting how rare it is to find a multicultural group of friends. It exists, but considering the sheer make-up of different races and ethnicity in the city, the proportion is imbalanced.”


Do you think there’s a responsibility as an artist to open our eyes to political, social and historical issues? Just to go back to the primary school setting again, how long will it be before the shared tins of pencils have multiple options for “skin coloured” pencils?!

With regards to the responsibility question, I think I answered that earlier. But to expound on your thoughts, again, there is context to grapple with. A local school is made up of the local environment, and if that local environment is made up of a majority ethnicity, then any effort to be “diverse” could come off contrived, and be rather oxymoronic. I think the same for intentionally including other ethnicities into a local community.


(In multiracial Singapore, in order to ensure a diversity mix, there are racial quotas to an apartment block. But the first very fact is that there exists a significant Chinese majority, so even by ensuring a racial quota, we’re only preventing the entire apartment block to be completely lived in by the Chinese community. On the other hand, we are preventing the minorities to separate themselves because they can’t choose to all live in one apartment block either. Quite ironic and problematic, I think.)


Even “White” Australia is problematic. The local environment is problematic. We have to consider housing, socio-demographics, history/lineage, etc.


Our choices are limited isn’t it? We go where rent is cheap. We buy where we can afford. The early Greek migrants settled in particular places, same with the Jewish, as with the Italians etc.



As strangers in a foreign land, a community is formed.


Then social stereotypes take over. Socio-demographics determine how live-able somewhere is. Some people capitalise on the “lesser” and over time gentrification happens. Fitzroy and Collingwood in Melbourne. West End etc.


Pockets of “white Australia” as you say: even if the people will welcome “non-white Australians” to live in the area, will these “non-white Australians” want to anyway? What would attract them there?


Friends and community do happen organically. And more so, in a foreign country, we need community. And ethnicity is probably the lowest common denominator. Language, culture, food, habits, belief…before we start looking for communities based on interest like the arts community etc.


Perhaps the harder question is “do we know our own culture?”


“White Australia” consists of rich heritage and lineages that generations down have distilled itself. In a kind of homogeneity, what is Australian then? So then, how do you begin to share a culture, invite someone else into it if you can’t quite articulate it?


And I say this even for children of migrants, born and raised here. This is problematic even for Singapore. All of who are losing connection with that heritage (be it our dialects, tradition…), and thrust into a very young national identity that we can’t seem to describe or differentiate.


I’m sure that food is key! When did you start cooking and what was your first dish? What’s your signature dish now?

Instant noodles when I was 7 or 8? My parents always worked, and my brother and I were left to our own devices in the day before and after school. Hawker food is cheap and accessible in Singapore, but we’d still be stingy with our pocket money and have instant noodles for lunch sometimes. But we’d put fancy things, like leftover abalone from Chinese New Year; decadent!


But I’ve cooked a lot more since living on my own in Australia, mostly because I miss the food back home, and I’ve taken to recreating some of these things. And it’s been fun, substituting Roo meat in some traditional things, like VindaRoo!


My signature dish would really just be the homely stir-fry. I cannot live without ikan bilis (dried anchovies), oyster sauce and kicap manis (sweet soy sauce), and of course sambal belachan. So at home, for the every day dinner, it’s usually a veggie stir-fry, sometimes I’d have some Roo meat in there. But it’s a signature because the husband (whilst he’s learnt how to make it) claims he misses my stir-fry when he hasn’t had it for a while, and that it’s just not the same when we both make it.


What are your favourite haunts in Brisbane and which dish can you not resist in a restaurant?

I haven’t been here long enough! Perhaps you should recommend a list of places to start trying! I live in West End though, and so far I have been pleased with the restaurants there. They do the job of comfort food at affordable prices.


But if I were to indulge in a good meal out, I’d happily spend on a good Japanese meal. And I would like to try an authentic Australian meal, and by that I mean kind of indigenous, game meat, kind of meal.


What’s your favourite meal to make for family and friends?

It would probably be Sambal Stingray, and sambal kangkong. It’s probably because I miss them the most, and have cravings for living in Australia. But also, in Melbourne, Stingray’s really cheap because no one eats them. (They are called Skate at the markets) And so it’s been really good to have them for dinner parties, and friends who were skeptical have all raved about it, and keep asking for it.


Also, it is tied to memories of hanging out with friends at a hawker centre on a muggy evening having a late dinner or supper at 10pm, having BBQ Sambal Stingray served on a hotplate…So definitely a dinner party favourite here in Australia.


When I am in Singapore, I cook my family very “western” things, like Roast potatoes and the likes. I mean I grew up with a very wide culinary palate because mom cooked everything. But when it comes to traditional Devil’s curry, or a good old tonic soup – it’s best to leave it to the mothers and grandmothers. It’s just not the same when you try to make it.


I need to start sourcing a local fish shop to see if I can get myself some stingray.


What are the connections between food and art and conversation?

I’m not the first to make art works around food and/or conversation. So there are connections for sure. I suppose going back to the “food as an enabler” question earlier, and also the one about what theatre and art is for. I think those answers tie in for me that connection.


Metro Arts has a loyal following and a growing audience. What’s your plan to further develop the relationship between Metro Arts’ artists and audiences?

Metro Arts has a loyal following and a growing audience. It also has a very different and exciting program this year. There is much to do in terms of facilitating the understanding and appreciation of the outcomes we will experience in the year. With the focus on creative development and residencies, we aren’t going to see a lot of resolved, finished shows. But we are going to get to know a lot of artists, and be a part of their evolving investigation and practice.


Whilst Metro Arts focuses on their commitment to independent artists and nurturing their practice, and having that long-term, sustainable relationship, with work that has longevity, I am interested in the long-term, sustainable relationship of our audiences, to invest similarly in the longevity of an artist’ body of work.


I can’t say I have a tangible big plan as yet. It’s being formulated! But I definitely have a lot of IDEAS that I am looking forward to fleshing out and executing them sooner rather than later.


Metro Arts has launched an exciting season in 2013, and will hold its AGM on March 26th at 6pm.




Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse



Normand Latourelle

Under the White Big Top

6th March – 31st March 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


If you love Cirque du Soleil, and you love horses, you can’t miss Cavalia.

CAVALIA  spectacle générale 2


Cavalia is a fabricated word, inspired by the Spanish and French words for horse (caballo and cheval) and the English word cavalry. The tone of the show comes from the philosophy adopted by the company, which is one of mutual respect, kindness, patience and trust, but at times this is close to being lost, as we are caught up in the excitement of daring feats performed by acrobats and aerialists whose tricks depend upon the horses running in continuous circles. Despite its claims, Cavalia is human-centric. Nevertheless…


A horse wanders into the space, curious, exploring, and enjoying its freedom from saddle, bridle and halter. Its eyes are dark and shy and glistening knowingly in the light. It takes in a human figure in the same moment we do; she gradually makes her way out from behind an abstract wall of golden diamonds, hanging like a seventies interior decorator’s dream, a mid-curtain of forest leaves. She darts out and across to a pond in the middle of the sand stage and steps into it, across it, reaching out. The horse is tentative and approaches slowly, turning away and back again, as a child would. They each take a drink and form an undeniable bond, which warms our hearts and quietens our minds, despite the wet weather, the stressful day, the heavy traffic, the cold, hard discomfort of the White Big Top’s seats, the oddity of the show’s trivia-night-style-start, whatever… This is going to be a different show. We can tell. Or can we?



Cavalia is a celebration of the unique bond humans and horses have developed over five thousand years of working and playing together. With the emphasis on play, Artistic Director Normand Latourelle, explained to me that the idea is for the horses to be able to enter a playground, not a workspace. We clearly see that this is the intent, but I’d love to see more of this, more of the play. The play is the highlight. Although I admire the skill and I appreciate that entire lives are dedicated to refining the art and competing in the sport, I’m not a big equestrian fan. But I will tell you this. I’m an equine fan. Before an entire side of our mountain became a suburban block called Buderim Pines, I used to ride with friends there, sometimes bareback when we could get away with it, down the hill and under the trees, over fallen branches and through the creek. It was their property, their business, and their love and care of horses that instilled in me a deep appreciation and love of the animal, if not the skill, strength and discipline to keep up with it in a more serious vein. After we were married, Sam and I rode bareback at North Shore, and at any opportunity I still love to ride in Mooloolah, at Atalanta’s place. And, let’s not forget that like most Aussies, I have a healthy regard for the race that stops the nation.



This is a show not just for horse lovers. There is enough beautiful music, exuberant dance and impressive acrobatics, including some sumptuous aerial work – some elegant flying and some slightly more aggressive free falling from swings set high in the grid – to keep the non-horse lovers happy too.  Vaguely following the relationship between horses and humans through the ages, we are immersed in magical environments – caves, forests, ice, stars, the Colosseum, the Wild West – with the aid of evocative lighting (Alain Lortie) and digital images (Erick Villeneuve) projected onto a 60-metre wide curved screen, an arc that serves as the cyclorama, extending across the stage. The space is generous enough to allow the horses to reach full gallop, often with standing riders performing impressive stunts as they race from one side of the space to the other, but at times running completely free. It’s a truly magnificent sight.

A beautiful segment in the second act, Grand Liberte again featuring horses without saddles, bridles and halters, cavorting, nuzzling and playing, made our hearts melt. (N.B. If you want to do the 30-minute interval in style and comfort, make sure you book a Rendez-vous VIP Package because there ain’t nothin’ but popcorn and ten dollar beers while you’re standing around in the holding pen that is the other tent! Oh, and you’ll have to fight the punters to get near a souvenir program in the “store” because there ain’t no ushers offering them).  A true Horse Whisperer, Thomas Aubron, communicated quietly and kindly with a group of seven or eight Arabians, encouraging them to move together, like the wild brumbies we love to pretend to hate here. It’s The Man From Snowy River meets The Horse Whisperer but sporting finer features, with longer locks and a flowing costume incorporating 25 yards of imported silk.



Manon Desmarais’s costumes are superb, lending an ethnic, and then ethereal air to proceedings. Picture, if you will, Woodford Folk Festival on New Year’s Eve (no, not in the Pineapple Lounge, but milling about in the streets!), with everybody dressed in either gallant Lord of the Rings elfin style garb, or funky tribal gear by local designers (yeah, that’s right, I’m claiming them; Byron Bay is local enough!), Etnix and Loose Lemur.



Look, some of us are not easily impressed. Some of us are lucky to see a LOT of stuff, and it’s a little disappointing when something doesn’t live up to your expectations. And this horses-and-humans stuff isn’t quite what it promises to be. Almost! But not quite. There are some slow moments, from an entertainment and engagement point of view, there are unnecessarily extended scenes, the finale is misjudged and turns out to be a bit of an anti-climax after one of the best, most exciting scenes of the show, and perhaps the philosophy of man-follows-horse has not been adhered to entirely, but look, three and a half million people all over the world, and now Brisbane’s opening night and Week 1 audiences have seen Cavalia. So you must see it for yourself!


The waterlogged Australian premiere on Wednesday night marked the company’s 2000th performance. (And it’s worth noting here that after any given performance, provided you’ve pre-booked the experience, you can meet the horses, during an exclusive behind-the-scenes Stable Tour!). I don’t think Cavalia will leave anybody really wanting…unless they’re wanting more, in which case, they’ll have to save up and see it a second time, or wait for Latourelle’s newest show, Odysseo, to reach our shores.





Cavalia – a chat with Artistic Director Normand Latourelle




ABOUT CAVALIA INC. – Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Cavalia Inc. operates two separate touring shows, Cavalia and Odysseo, both of which marry the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects at never-before-seen levels. Cavalia, seen by some 3.5 million people across North America and Europe since its 2003 debut, celebrates the relationship between humans and horses by loosely recounting the evolution of this bond. Odysseo, which premiered in autumn 2011, takes the next step, leading viewers on a journey through some of the breathtaking landscapes horses have helped humans discover around the globe. Follow Cavalia Inc.’s latest developments at or


In his 40-year career in the performing arts, Normand Latourelle has followed a path that has led him through all aspects of the industry, having occupied every position from lighting designer to agent, production manager, director and artistic director. A pioneer of Cirque du Soleil from 1985 to 1990, he has been the driving force behind many impressive and memorable events, such as the sound and light show on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and the 350th anniversary celebrations for the founding of Montreal. A visionary in constant quest for innovation, Normand Latourelle is renowned for combining different forms of artistic expression and reinventing the scenic space, with the ultimate goal of taking audiences to new dimensions. Since 2003, Normand Latourelle has been fully dedicated to Cavalia, instilling his talent, passion and imagination into the productions. In 2007, he received the Ordre national du Québec for his achievements.


I was lucky to catch up with Cavalia’s Artistic Director, Normand Latourelle, for a chat about his spectacular shows, and his approach to working with horses. This is actually our chat transcribed so sit down with your preferred beverage and enjoy the conversation…


XS: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk, Normand. You’re the artistic Director of an incredible new show, opening in Brisbane on Wednesday night. I think it’s safe to say there’s nothing like Cavalia. We’ve certainly not seen anything like it here.

NL: In Europe and the states there’s no other show to compare it. So it’s about time we come to Australia. We’re very pleased to finally bring it to Australia.

It’s a challenge but I decided to bring the whole show, you know, not just the smaller version of the show. That was very important to me.

XS: I guess you didn’t want to compromise on the integrity of the show, of your vision.

NL: No, we didn’t.

You know we travel with about fifty-five, fifty-six horses and we have a farm in Canada so, you know, when we feel it’s necessary, we just exchange horses… The director is looking after the horses here.


XS: Can you tell me about the horses? Your approach to training and working with the horses?

NL: The thing is we’re trying to follow their rhythm and not impose on them our rhythm. We want them to come on stage and be happy so in order to do that we just…we don’t push them. So when they come on stage we want them to feel like it’s their playground, not a place to work, not a place they don’t want to go. And that’s very important you see, because for the first half of the show we have three horses on stage… they improvise with … some kind of improvisation. It’s choreographed, obviously, but if the horse decides to do differently we have to follow them… I would say, compared to the horse world in general, it’s a soft way to train horses in general.

XS: Are your artists already accustomed to working with the horses in this way?

NL: We have three type of artists. The woman that is our musician, so that’s a separate group, and we have the acrobats and the riders. So we, of course when we bring acrobats, we have to add the acrobats become involved with the horses and start to do their own training with the horses to make them understand what the horse is all about. I mean, some of the acrobats who are there for a long time, for a year or a year and a half, also start to become riders so it’s a long process. For the riders, we hired riders who are in very good shape, we also train some riders, and we have some riders who are trained in acrobatics on the horse also, of course. If they don’t do acrobatics we train them to do so. It’s also a long process to make an acrobat become a rider or a rider become an acrobat.

The most important thing is that all of them have to know the horses that are on stage at the same time as them.


XS: So because the performers are following the horses and allowing them to improvise, does that mean the show is continually evolving? Do we never see the same show twice?

NL: That’s totally right. The show varies, from one show to the next the show varies 10 minutes, minus or plus, and most of the time it’s because the horses decide differently and we follow them. And for me it’s not a problem.

This is where we get the best out of them is when they do what they want and sometimes they follow the pattern we offer them but other times they do it the way they want, which is also okay for us. You know, it’s not – compared to a traditional circus – you know, at the end of a number in a traditional circus, the trainer raises his arm and says ta-dah, it’s all about me, I can totally control my horses. In our show it’s about the horses so instead of raising our hand, the artist directs their hand to the horse and praises the horse to be such a partner. It’s a totally different approach.


XS: You’ve completely reversed the traditional notion of  humans controlling animals.

NL: Yeah, definitely. You know, when we – I’m one of the guys who started Cirque du Soleil – and when we started the show, I was very, very proud to explain that, you know, we were able to do a good show, a good circus, without animals, and we were totally against using animals in the show. So when I decided to move to the animal world, first of all I understood very fast working with horses. Horses were domesticated animals. I would never do a show with elephants or lions. But horses are domesticated animals and during their life with humans for the last five thousand years, it’s nothing new and it’s nothing that is going to change tomorrow because even if all the horses become wild tomorrow they will not, they will come back to their stable. The other part which was very important for me is that I decided to do a show with animals and I want the animals to be able to express themselves and also to enjoy what they do, and from the beginning that’s what I’ve been telling the trainer and telling all the artists and creators, co-creators…that was the rule. And that’s what we’ve pretty much achieved. I mean, we make some mistakes sometimes and you know, we don’t yield, I mean it’s a thin line, you know they’re still animals, they don’t think like us and sometime we react some way and they don’t like it.

But the idea is to be very humble and also to be able to understand at first what’s going on with the animal, that’s more important. The same thing we have a lot of art where we ride the horses, because I’m talking a lot about the parts where we don’t ride, where the horses are free on stage…when we have up to eight horses together doing the same thing. You know, I accept that the horse do not have their heads at the same level, where the horses have to be exactly, exactly precise and doing the same thing.

Cavalia is not a competition, it is more about the relationship between humankind and horses. And yes, in the last five thousand years we have ridden horses, and that’s what is also part of the show – we do ride them – but we don’t push them to the point they become top dressage competition horse, just show what they can do. It’s the same thing, we have a horse that jumps bars at one point in the show, you know, we don’t raise the bar as high as the world…even if he could do it, we’re not putting the bars as far as what you can do at the Olympics or any competition. We just think that it’s beautiful to see the horse jump and we just ask him to do reasonably high, to be at the same time impressive but not to hurt himself; not to put in any kind of danger.


XS: So the respect for the horses wins in the end. More so than story? Do we get a story as well or is it more about enjoying the beauty and strength and power of the horses?

NL: Well, it’s a mix of both. We do have a very subtle storyline that come from the discovery of the horse and slowly it built from communication and there are a lot of moment at the beginning of the show where we just share the space and we discover them and they discover us and we become friends, and then we start to climb on them, which they accept, you know, gently to be climbed on. And we feel the pace of the show this way is more that we move through the time. It’s also showed by the multi-media aspect of the show.

We have large-scale images that project, that shows expression of human through the time of what we have seen from horses. One of the first images we project is a man cave and on the wall of the man cave is a drawing of the horse…so we project that image and then we go to our time. The images are very artistic but at the same time, it gives you a feeling of moving through time. It’s not explicit, it’s not a historical, it’s more done like a poem, you know, the way you write a poem. It doesn’t start with “once upon a time”, it more starts with “this happened…”

XS: Since 2003 has Cavalia undergone many changes conceptually?

NL: For audiences who saw Cavalia in 2003 they will recognise maybe thirty percent of it. We have changed about seventy percent of it. There’s two or three reasons. Every time in a show like that, every time you change a horse or you change an artist, you have to adapt the show to their own personality…the other thing is that you know, when I started this show, I knew nothing about horses, it was my first experience in the horse world so I learned about it and that’s the beauty of having a live show, throughout the year I was able to upgrade some parts and bring the technology, it had evolved, and it became a little bit bigger. When we started the show we had only two acrobats flying and now we have five of them.

We just push it and also, I tried to bring the show to a point where we appreciate equally, all of the parts. When I was first in the show, for the first year, there were some parts in the show I was not happy with so I took a year to adapt to a show I liked, then hopefully, the show I see is the show everybody like.

XS: Did you ever think you were going to be working with horses? What did you want to be when you grew up?

NL: Well, when I was younger I wanted to be a doctor, until I had to go to the hospital…and then my ideas changed, I wanted to become a politician…until I was kicked out of school by the director so that also changed my mind…I was so frustrated that I decided to put on some shows….I created my first show, I was about thirteen years old, and I left school at sixteen to become professional and I always did that. I create and produce. I’ve done everything. I’ve done light design, I’ve done sound design, I’ve been a roadie, I drove trucks. There’s nothing here that I haven’t done. Publisher, record producer…Cavalia for me is like, you know, the achievement of all the experience I had, including Cirque du Soleil experience.

It took me ten years from having the idea to having the first show of Cavalia. What you see in Cavalia is the mix of everything I know: lights, sound, music, large-scale images, special effects, of course acrobatics, dance, and of course now, the equestrian world.


XS: Are you already working on the next show? We are looking forward to hearing more about Odysseo…

NL: Odysseo just got started a year ago, I’m still tweaking it, still working on it, so I have no plans for a third one because it’s a long process. You know, its always long because not only I want my show to be so different – I challenge myself – to create things that nobody ever seen before. That’s what the challenge was with Cirque and that is the challenge with Cavalia, you know, make the horses comfortable in another environment. But I didn’t want to make another copy of Cavalia so Oddyseo is like the limit of what can be done on stage, and for the next one I don’t know exactly.

XS: Thank you so much for your time today, and congratulations on the Australian premiere of Cavalia! We’ll see you on Wednesday for opening night!





There’s no time to sleep! It’s September!

la soiree

FAST Festival  |  Brisbane Writer’s Festival  |  Brisbane Festival

That’s right. Spring has sprung and it’s Brisbane’s festival month.

I hope you’ve caught up on some sleep because September just went to ludicrous speed!

During Brisbane Festival’s fabulous opening weekend, I’ll be flitting between the Brisbane Writer’s Festival, La Boite & QUT Creative Industries’ FAST Festival and the Brisbane Festival events. If you want to keep up, follow XS Entertainment on Twitter and Instagram (whilst at ludicrous speed, there will be no #photoaday for me this month!).

Brisbane Festival unveils huge opening weekend line-up

Brisbane Festival (8-29 September) begins this weekend, its biggest, longest celebration.

On Saturday 8 September, free entertainment will start from 4.30pm in the Queen Street Mall and Reddacliff Place with two live music stages, then crossing over to South Bank, at 5pm an Indigenous ceremony will fill the banks of the river with music and atmosphere.

Spectators should then stake out a good viewing spot for the first showing of the new Santos GLNG City of Lights presented by Events Queensland at 7pm – a choreographed music and light spectacular with water features shooting 60m metres in the air from 30 metre towering structures on the river, and lights and lasers from barges and rooftops.

Santos GLNG Lounge at South Bank Cultural Forecourt will be buzzing with atmosphere, food and beverage outlets and unique installations, including the multicultural, multi-coloured Brisbane Airport International Lantern Garden and a giant disco ball between the QPAC towers.

Festival goers can stay in the Lounge for further showing of Santos GLNG City of Lights at 8pm and 9pm, or take in some of Brisbane Festival’s fantastic opening night shows.

In The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent, international cabaret sensation La Soirée will amaze, amuse, appal and arouse audiences with burlesque-circus-cabaret shows at 7.15 and 9.30pm, while DJs will take to the stage from 11pm to keep Brisbane partying into the night.

Featuring the stars of the Olivier Award-winning La Clique, La Soirée has brought the house down everywhere from New York to Paris and London to Montreal, selling out every night.

At QPAC, the world premiere of S by internationally acclaimed contemporary circus company Circa will show at 8pm.

In 2010, the Brisbane-based ensemble premiered the global phenomenon Wunderkammer at Brisbane Festival and went on to tour Berlin, London, New York, Paris and Montreal to unanimous rave reviews. This year, S promises to raise the bar even further for the world of contemporary circus.

For those seeking an alternative experience, Brisbane Festival’s program for independent artists will also get started on Saturday 8 September with a cutting edge music night courtesy of Lofly Records and curators Happy Endings outside Metro Arts on Edward Street.

At South Bank Cultural Forecourt, Anything Is Valid Dance Theatre will perform Life In Miniature, a contemporary dance work set in a 1970s caravan driven to Brisbane from Perth, while another reality of Brisbane will be presented at Still Night, an imaginative lecture with a twist by talented artists from the UK and Italy.

In other corners of the city, at the Judith Wright Centre Dancenorth will perform their work Mass, which is inspired by natural disasters in Queensland, and at the Brisbane Powerhouse a ‘Literary Love-In’ will wrap wordsmiths and bookworms in its embrace.

After a huge opening night, Brisbane Festival goers can chill out with a Sunday program featuring daytime jazz and an evening performance by Indigenous icon Archie Roach at The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent, and a matinee featuring the world famous Vienna Boys Choir at QPAC.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Noel Staunton said his ambition was to make Brisbane to stay up past its bedtime throughout September.

“This year South Bank will transform into the beating heart of Brisbane Festival with stunning light installations and endless opportunities for families to come early, grown-ups to stay late, and for audiences to see multiple events within one precinct. Don’t miss out,” Mr Staunton said.

Brisbane Festival is an initiative of the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council and runs from 8 to 29 September 2012.

For more information visit

Tender Napalm


Brisbane Festival Launch

Brisbane Festival

Michelle Bull gives us the low down on this year’s Brisbane Festival!

Well, it’s that time of year again. That’s right Brisbane, it’s time to shine your shoes, slap on a fresh coat of lipstick and dive headfirst into what looks to be an absolute cracker of a Brisbane Festival in 2012!

From the 8th to the 29th of September, Brisbane City and surrounds will come alive with theatre, dance, cabaret, opera, art instillations, circus, pyrotechnics, comedy, family shows and more as the Brisbane Festival presents possibly its most thrilling lineup yet! As this year’s Festival launched to an excited and enthusiastic crowd, I realised just how huge this year’s Festival was and that with everything I wanted to see, just how huge my September would be!

La Soiree

La Soiree

With ‘Brisbane stories, artists and companies’ as a key focus of this year’s Festival, local talent will present our own stories alongside leading national and international acts. The popular Courier Mail Spiegeltent will once again play home to a stellar lineup including 
La Soirée (La Clique), Julia Stone, Lanie Lane, Archie Roach, Ingrid Michaelson, Jonathan Wilson, Mia Dyson, Horrorshow
, Nada Surf, and Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks.

Continuing the fun after dark, late night Argentina will hit the stage in the form of Soema Montenegro, 34 Puñaladas and Franco Luciani (virtuosic harmonica player and ensemble).

Not to mention an abundance of comedy and family shows on offer, including Holly Throsby – See!  Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and his Singing Tiger and funny people Corinne Grant, Mikey Robins 
and Greg Fleet providing more than a giggle or two.

Soap - The Show

Soap – The Show

Sharing in the fun, both central and suburban Brisbane venues and streets will come alive with a kaleidoscope of performances, installations and displays. Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Judith Wright Centre, the Queensland Conservatorium, Southbank Parklands, La Boite, Moreton Bay College, Brookside Shopping Centre, QUT Creative Industries Precinct, Mt Ommaney Centre, Sandgate Town Hall and Roma Street will all play host to artists and events including:

Rufus Wainwright (presenting songs from his new album Out of Bounds…I’m a huge fan, highly recommend this one!)

Boundary Street (composed and performed by jazz legend James Morrison)

Soap – The Show (circus, comedy, cabaret)

Tom Thum

The Vienna Boys Choir

Circa (toted as sinuous, sophisticated, sensual and savage…sounds superb!)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Nijinsky (The Hamburg Ballet)

Mana (performed by Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company)

Angela’s Kitchen (Paul Capsis) (I have heard stories about how amazing this artist is, so I’m determined to catch this show!)

No Child… (Nijala Sun – New York)

Mass (Dancenorth)

The Wau Wau Sisters

Kodo & Taikoz

Argentine Music Concert

Kuss Quartet (presented by Musica Viva & Brisbane Festival)

Mnozil Brass

Mad (Meryl Tankard)

Tender Napalm (La Boite Theatre Company – another one on my must-see list)

Dance Energy (Dancenorth, Expressions Dance Company & Queensland Ballet)

L’Orfeo (Australian Brandenburg Orchestra)



 The Queensland Symphony Orchestra will offer up some fantastic works this year as they present Symphony Under the Stars along with Bluebeard’s Castle (featuring Lisa Gasteen & Daniel Sumegi), as well as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov (conducted by Edvard Tchivzhel, featuring Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko).

Just across the way The Queensland Conservatorium will be presenting Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Bottesini’s World (featuring double bass by Thomas Martin).


But wait there’s more!


Lighting the skies will be Santos GLNG City of Lights Laser Show, The Brisbane Airport International Lantern Garden all culminating in the mammoth Sunsuper Riverfire which is set to kick off at noon on September 29th.

Phew! So if you have plans for September, a sandy island getaway perhaps or leisurely road trip down the coast…cancel them immediately. There is NO WAY you want to miss this year’s Brisbane Festival!

With a creative treasure for everyone no matter what your artistic persuasion, from opera to dance, theatre, comedy or cabaret, Brisbane Festival 2012 is set to be the event of the year, so clear your calendar, dust off your glad-rags and jump onto the Brisbane Festival Website to grab your tickets before you miss out…

See you at the Festival!

Santos City of Lights

Santos City of Lights. Image by Geoff Francis.