Header Image: Image provided by Brisbane Festival
A highlight of the annual Brisbane calendar which will hopefully not be hindered by the recent trend of school holidays coinciding with unfortunate COVID-19 lockdown periods, the team behind Brisbane Festival has today announced their 2021 line-up of events. Under the banner of ‘Brightly Brisbane‘, the festivities will be held between 3 September 2021 and 25 September 2021 inclusive. This year, the creative team aspire to invite the city “to re-emerge, connect, celebrate and shine brightly under Brisbane’s expansive skies”.
The 2021 season features a line-up of world and Australian premiere productions, “cutting edge” collaborations, newly commissioned work, a brand-new Festival hub and presence at multiple venues across the city. According to Brisbane Festival, they have commissioned 18 new works, will stage 15 world premieres, deliver 139 productions and have a presence at 223 locations across the city.
The Festival commences with a Jumoo, a smoking ceremony at South Bank on 3
September. Led by Yuggera and Turrbal man Shannon Ruska, Jumoo connects Brisbane Festival and its visitors to Country and cleanses the pathway for a peaceful journey into September. From there, there should be opportunities to suit any taste in live performance or activity – and with hundreds of venues – located perhaps only minutes away from where you reside in the city. I have included a few of my personal picks below, but you should look at the official event website for an outline of everything on offer.
Airship Orchestra, a multisensory inflatable installation up to six metres high sets sail on Brisbane’s Art Boat from 3 – 12 September with Sky Castle, an interactive dreamscape of inflatable, luminous arches and ethereal symphonies taking to the water from 16 – 25 September. Created by art and technology studio ENESS each installation will alternate between its home at Northshore, Hamilton while the other floats down the river hosting live performances and a pop-up bar on Brisbane’s Art Boat.
Brisbane Festival unveils BOQ Festival Garden, a wondrous world of food, wine,
entertainment and discovery, popping up in South Bank. Free and open to all, the brand-new Festival hub features live entertainment, roving performers, school holiday fun, food, bars and a mysterious interactive adventure.
The Festival opens with the world premiere season of Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe, adapted for the stage by Tim McGarry and presented by Brisbane Festival, Queensland Theatre and QPAC. This world premiere season will run for an extended fifth-week from 30 August to 3 October to meet “insatiable audience demand”.
Another opening night early on in Brisbane Festival is Back in the Swing, a big band show featuring the talent of singer-entertainer David Campbell.
Storytelling and live music combine in Heart is a Wasteland, a cross-country, whisky-fuelled love story playing QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre from 15 – 18 September. Reimagined by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company Artistic Director Rachael Maza, the powerful piece cuts to the country’s heart as it examines an individual’s right to love.
The Tivoli is home to a First Nations-led program of music including the world premiere of Restless Dream on 19 September, a large-scale musical production with cinematic soundscapes and dance. The new production is a collaboration between Kamilaroi elder Uncle Bob Weatherall, Brisbane band Halfway and Digi Youth Arts telling the story Uncle Bob’s ongoing social justice work.
Of course, one of the major public events of Brisbane Festival, the Sunsuper Riverfire, will be making its return on Saturday 25 September 2021.
Tickets to all Brisbane Festival 2021 events and performances are now on-sale via the official Brisbane Festival website. Please ensure that you follow the individual purchase links listed on the site exclusively, as different venues may have different purchase procedures.
For quotes from key stakeholders around the event, please go to the next page.