Brisbane Festival launches sneak peek of 2022 program

People around orange orb representing Mars

5 minutes read

Brisbane Festival has unveiled a new format for this year’s Festival, announcing four distinctive weekends of wonder this September.

Ahead of the official program launch in July, Brisbane Festival has revealed some of this year’s biggest events, including the world premiere of Dead Puppet Society and Legs on the Wall’s aerial epic, Holding Achilles and the stage adaptation of Shannon Molloy’s powerful coming-of-age memoir, Fourteen.

 Kicking off the 2022 Festival and Festive Weekend #1 (2 – 4 September) is popular smoking ceremony Jumootaking place on the opening night of the Festival at South Bank (Friday 2 September), and Queensland’s flagship fireworks event, Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust, which moves to the opening weekend (Saturday 3 September) of the Festival.

Queensland Premier Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk said nothing beats Brisbane in spring and extended an invitation for visitors to travel to Brisbane to join in the festive fun of Brisbane Festival.

Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust is back. Brisbane loves Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust. It’s how we celebrate our river and our Queensland lifestyle.
Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk | Queensland Premier

Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust, together with broadcast partners Triple M and Nine Queensland, presents a showstopping pyrotechnics display set to a soundtrack curated by the children and youth of Brisbane.

Last year’s “floataway hit” also returns with Brisbane’s Art Boat setting sail once more from Northshore Brisbane, this time celebrating internationally acclaimed Australian visual artist Lindy Lee in a Festival-first collaboration.

Brisbane’s Art Boat will set sail across the Festival with the highlight of Festive Weekend #2 (9 – 11 September) inviting visitors to “Reach for the Stars” during a midnight cruise to celebrate the full moon at 11:59am on Saturday 10 September.

Another must-see experience is a spectacular light and sound installation by internationally renowned British artist Luke Jerram. Taking residence at West Village, the seven-metre floating orb transforms each week of the Festival, presenting three of Jerram’s most popular works – Museum of the Moon, Gaia and Mars.

Works of scale dominate Festive Weekend #3 (16 – 18 September), with major theatrical productions at QPAC, Queensland Theatre and La Boite, including the Queensland premiere of Girl From the North Country, at the Lyric Theatre.

Additional highlights include two eagerly awaited page-to-stage adaptations: shake & stir’s world premiere of Shannon Molloy’s modern Australian classic, Fourteen, and Anita Heiss ‘love letter to Meeanjin’, Tiddas – a Brisbane Festival co-production with La Boite Theatre and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Fans of epic drama will relish Dead Puppet Society and Legs on the Wall’s stunning new contemporary production on the Achilles myth, Holding Achilles – a powerful blend of visual, physical and cinematic theatre with a haunting original score performed live by award-winning Australian musician Montaigne.

Queensland Theatre’s tri-lingual reimagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, set in the Torres Strait at the height of World War II, promises an utterly distinctive theatre experience.

Brisbane Festival reaches a confetti-fueled crescendo across the final Festive Weekend (23 – 25 September).  Six artist collectives take to the sky to take over six iconic Brisbane rooftops for one night only. Raise the Roof will see artists, including Michael Zavros, Briefs Factory International and popular musician and singer Patience Hodgson curate their venue around a singular colour palette with guests invited to embrace the theme.

Closing the Festival at Brisbane Riverstage are megastars Paulini and Ben Mingay with Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the Closing Celebration – Queen’s Wharf  Disco Wonderland, a hypnotic open-air concert that marries world-class musicianship with the world’s most-loved ‘70s anthems.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Brisbane Festival continues to be an engaging celebration of Queensland arts and culture, sharing the state’s stories and driving important economic outcomes for the state through cultural tourism.

Brisbane Festival’s Festive Weekend will showcase the state’s talented artists and arts companies and present powerful new work.
Leeanne Enoch | Minister for the Arts

“Festival-goers will see such world premieres by signature Queensland arts companies including shake & stir and Dead Puppet Society and exciting collaborations between Queensland arts organisations.”

“Each year, Brisbane Festival evolves and innovates to enrich its big, bold and inclusive program to engage communities and audiences,” Ms Enoch said.

“With Brisbane 2032 firmly on the horizon, cultural events such Brisbane Festival play an important role in growing Queensland’s reputation as a cultural tourism destination, and as an incubator of Queensland’s creative talent.

“I am excited to see the creativity, originality, enormous talent and extraordinary entertainment of the Brisbane Festival’s Festive Weekends,” Ms Enoch said.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane Festival would provide locals and visitors with more opportunities to explore the home of one of Australia’s biggest arts festivals.

After making national headlines at the start of the year due to our devastating floods, another incredible Brisbane Festival program shows we’re back in business and ready to welcome visitors to our city.
Adrian Schrinner | Brisbane Lord Mayor

“The new format will make planning a long-weekend vacation or staycation in Brisbane irresistible and I can’t wait to see the boost the festival will bring to our local economy come September,” Cr Schrinner said.

 Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Brisbane Festival was one of the many highlights for 2022 on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

“With Riverfire, art, live performances and culture, this is a much-loved celebration of Brisbane for Queenslanders and interstate visitors alike,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Events like Brisbane Festival bring extra visitors to the Queensland capital who support accommodation and transport providers, restaurants, hotels, cafes and local tourism operators.

“Brisbane Festival 2022 is predicted to contribute many millions of dollars to our Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan, now underway. “

With four magic weekends of events during September, Brisbane Festival is perfect for extending your stay and discovering the city’s many world-class tourism experiences.
Stirling Hinchliffe | Minister for Tourism

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said the ‘Festive Weekends’ program was specially designed to entice intrastate and interstate visitors to make the most of Brisbane in spring.

“Brisbane sings in September and Brisbane Festival’s ‘Festive Weekends’ program has been lovingly curated with our visiting friends and family in mind to ensure that no matter which weekend you choose to visit, there are world-class artistic experiences to surprise and delight,” Ms Bezzina said.

Brisbane Festival returns to fill the city with three weeks of wonder, delight and celebration from
2 – 24 September 2022 with a full program announcement in July. For information and tickets, visit