Brisbane Festival’s new Artistic Director Louise Bezzina had finished programming the 2020 Festival – her first in her new role – and had her sights set on 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Australia.

“I had to remake this whole festival,” she tells  Limelight.Between bans on mass gatherings, public health restrictions and closing borders playing havoc with planning, “there’s a lot of commissions that I had planned for this year that will move into 2021″.

Louise Bezzina Louise Bezzina. Photo © Jade Ferguson

“This Festival was not the one I had prepared,” Bezzina says of the new program, which has been carefully created to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. “But on the flip side I’m really, really, really, happy and excited that we are delivering a live, rich, Brisbane-focussed multi-artform festival across the city.”

The Festival opens on September 4 with Jumoo, which means smoking in the Turrbal language. It is the first piece in what Bezzina describes as “the largest First Nations program we’ve ever delivered in the Brisbane Festival”.

“We have for the first time a First Nations curatorial team and...

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