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Brisbane Festival, Queensland’s most anticipated annual event, invites the city to get along to a host of premiere productions, cutting-edge collabs, new commissioned work, award-wining performances, surprising venues and the debut of a brand-new Festival hub.
Over 23 days from 3 – 25 September, Brisbane Festival will showcase 18 new works, deliver 139 productions and present these events in a whopping 223 locations across the city.
The Festival will highlight the talents of 63 Queensland companies and more than 1,000 local artists, including 168 First Nations artists – the largest cohort to date.
Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said September is Brisbane Festival, bringing the city alive with art, dance, music and joy for all ages and interests from young families to late-night revellers with more than half of the events available for free.
The program kicks off on 3 September with Jumoo, a smoking ceremony, led by Yuggera and Turrbal performer Shannon Ruska at South Bank to connect Brisbane Festival and its visitors to Country and cleanse the pathway for a peaceful journey into September.
The Festival opens with two stellar events: the world premiere season of author Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, presented by Brisbane Festival, Queensland Theatre and QPAC; and all-round Aussie entertainer David Campbell bringing his Back in the Swing big band show to Brisbane’s South Bank Piazza for one night only.
The 23-day program includes many highlights, including Brisbane’s Art Boat – a new floating art experience that will cruise between South Bank and Northshore, Hamilton, immersing audiences in a glowing world and bathing the Brisbane River in a bright new light.
Airship Orchestra, a multisensory inflatable installation, sets sail on Brisbane’s Art Boat from 3 – 12 September when Sky Castle, an interactive dreamscape of inflatable, luminous arches and ethereal symphonies takes to the water from 16 – 25 September.
West Village will also display vibrant inflatable installations in Lost, an enchanting garden of extinct and endangered floral installations created by Australian artist Amanda Parer.
The BOQ Festival Garden serves as this year’s Festival hub with a wondrous world of food, wine, entertainment and discovery, which is free and open to all in South Bank.
Northshore, Hamilton will showcase RED, a contemporary major dance work from Dancenorth Australia, from 8 – 12 September, La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre hosts plenty serious TALK TALK from 11– 15 September and at QPAC’s Concert Hall, Buŋgul celebrates the talent and musical legacy of Gurrumul Yunupiŋu with Yolŋu dancers, singers and musicians from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra from 24 – 25 September.
Brisbane Powerhouse will debut the world premiere of Polytoxic’s Demolition from 4 – 11 September, followed by a crowd-sourced homage to dogs in The Good Room’s Let’s Be Friends Furever from 16 – 25 September.
The Tivoli is home to a First Nations-led music program, including the world premiere of large-scale musical production Restless Dream on 19 September, and Metro Arts will also debut a world first in Karul Project’s Weredingo from 3 – 11 September.
A standout smash in 2020, Street Serenades hits the road again presented by Brisbane City Council to dazzle audiences across all 190 Brisbane suburbs with big-name artists including Boy & Bear, Christine Anu, Montaigne and Queensland Ballet alongside show-stopping performances spanning circus, cabaret, dance, DJ sets and live music.
In addition, Street Serenades: At Our Place is a new public program bringing people together through music and movement at neighbourhood and community centres in Inala, Acacia Ridge, Wynnum, Ellen Grove, Cannon Hill, Nundah, Mitchelton and Coopers Plains.
Finally, Sunsuper Riverfire will provide a glittering crescendo on Saturday 25 September, adding a big-bang sparkle to close out Brisbane Festival 2021 and will be presented in association with Channel 9 and Triple M.