Brisbane Festival 2024 reveals a world-class program

5 minutes read

Thursday, 6 June 2024

Brisbane Festival weaves a rich tapestry of culture, celebration and community throughout the city when the leading arts and cultural event returns from 30 August to 21 September 2024.      

The fifth program from Artistic Director Louise Bezzina invites audiences to experience the pinnacle of artistry with world premieres, Australian exclusives, Queensland commissions and Brisbane spotlights taking centre stage across 23 days.

Brisbane Festival’s 2024 program will unite, inspire and empower people across 1000+ performances staged in the city’s premier arts venues, unique landmarks and close-knit communities.

The eclectic and electrifying toast of Europe, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show, is a collision of fashion, music, pop culture, cabaret and art, strutting down the runway in South Bank Piazza for its exclusive Australian premiere season (30 August – 15 September).

Image: Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show.

Adding local flair to the revue-style party is Queensland Indigenous artist Grace Lillian Lee who travelled to Paris at the request of the international fashion icon to collaborate on a bespoke couture piece to debut in the show.

Lee, the creative force behind 2021’s debut First Nations Fashion: Walking In Two Worlds, will spearhead another world premiere, her debut solo exhibition in 2024, The Dream Weaver: Guardians of Grace (30 August – 21 September). A showcase of Lee’s stylistic fusion between contemporary art, traditional weaving techniques and couture fashion it will take you on an unparalleled ancestral journey.

Volcano (30 August – 15 September) is a never-before-seen hybrid production that plays out over four, 45-minute episodes and combines theatre and dance with a television sci-fi thriller.

With intermissions between each episode, Brisbane Powerhouse audiences are invited to “binge-watch” the Australian-first production that blurs the line between fact and fantasy.

The remarkable true story of Torres Strait Islander workers laying an astonishing 7km of railway track in a single day in 1968 is told in Straight from the Strait (28 -31 August), a world premiere opera co-produced with Opera Queensland and playing QPAC’s Playhouse.

Queensland-based Dancenorth Australia stages the global debut of its new work, Lighting the Dark (12 – 14 September), developed in collaboration with Chris Dyke, a dancer and emerging choreographer with Down Syndrome.

Inspired by Chris’s real-life heroes Banksy, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, Hero’s Journey illuminates Chris’s profoundly moving and life-affirming adventure through the wor

Also making their world premieres in 2024 are Trent Dalton’s Love Stories (10 – 29 September) at QPAC’s Playhouse and Fancy Long Legs (12 – 22 September) at La Boite Theatre.

Both are based on books by Brisbane authors – Dalton’s acclaimed anthology of true tales of love and a children’s book about inclusion, acceptance and belonging by tinsel and craft queen Rachel Burke – and their stage adaptations are uplifting and unpredictable.

Queensland premieres include Eucalyptus (4-5 September), a new opera based on Murray Bail’s Miles Franklin Award-winning novel Eucalyptus; Gurr Era Op (11-14 September), a celebration of Torres Strait Islander culture and a climate call-to-action; Restless Dance Theatre’s Private View (18 – 21 September), a raw and revelatory exploration of sexuality and disability; Kitchen Studio (30 August to 26 October), artist Elizabeth Winning’s recipe of food and art; and Queensland Theatre Company’s Dear Brother (7 – 28 September)

Big Name, No Blankets (20 – 21 September) is a rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza, a celebration of Warumpi Band, the first Australian rock band to sing in Aboriginal languages.

Inspired by stories from founding member Sammy Tjapanangka Butcher, the Ilbijerri Theatre Company production plays two huge, unifying shows at QPAC Concert Hall.

Big Name, No Blankets is one of 14 First Nations-led productions that continues Brisbane Festival’s proud history of inviting Indigenous storytellers and artists to create and perform works of cultural and creative significance.

On opening weekend, Meeanjin Songlinez (1 September) invites everyone to celebrate and honour local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities and  the extraordinary talent of Queensland’s First Nations artists.

Following the tremendous success of 2023’s Nieergoo: Spirit of the Whale, Brisbane Festival will partner with Nova Sky Stories and Tribal Experiences to develop a dazzling drone show over the city’s iconic skyline, with Skylore – The Rainbow Serpent

More than 400 drones will animate a spectacular First Nations story in a 3D multicolour show that celebrates culture and place across the Festival’s closing weekend (19 – 21 September).

All eyes are on the sky on Saturday 31 August when Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust returns to light up Brisbane in the city’s biggest and most-loved fireworks spectacular.

Also returning to light up the city is 2023’s smash-hit Lightscape (31 August – 12 October) with a completely reimagined illuminated trail of neon lights, technicolour installations and choreographed soundscapes through Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens.

Image: Lightscape Brisbane


All aboard The Art Boat (30 August – 21 September) when the travelling arts venue again sets sail from South Bank on a luxe new vessel with a stellar program of guest artists and performers.

Brisbane Festival is an event by and for Brisbane and so continues its strong tradition of programming free community works across the 23-day Festival.

The Festival’s 2024 communities program provides safe and creative spaces for people to connect in Brisbane’s neighbourhoods and is delivered in partnership with the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy.​

Brisbane Serenades returns with a program of free mini-festivals and exquisitely curated musical experiences across Brisbane suburbs including Moorooka Block Party (7 September),  Portside Serenades at Northshore, Brisbane (15 September), ), St Lucia  Serenades  (14 September) Pasifika Made at Kuraby (21 September), and Voices of Victoria Park (8 September).

Brisbane Festival returns from 30 August – 21 September 2024.

Tickets to Brisbane Festival performances are on sale now!

See the full program, subscribe for updates and purchase tickets at

Brisbane Festival is an initiative of the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council.