Season Preview 2020

Perth Festival has given audiences an exciting sneak peek into its 2020 season, the first to be programmed by new Artistic Director Iain Grandage.

Iain Grandage. Photo © Jessica Wyld 

“I am thrilled to be able to share just a taste of my first Perth Festival program for 2020,” said Grandage. “These five brilliant productions are some the finest circus, music and theatre you will see anywhere in the world, and they are all grounded here in the West by Perth Festival.”

“I can’t wait to share the full 2020 Perth Festival program with you soon – one that celebrates our time, our place and our home here on Noongar Boodjah.”

Christiane Libor © Stefan Fuertbauer

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, one of the centrepiece offerings of the Festival will be the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Opera’s concert presentation of Fidelio. To be conducted by Asher Fisch, Fidelio will be performed in a new adaptation by acclaimed Australian writer and librettist Alison Croggon, with narration by actor Eryn Jean Norvill and staging by Black Swan State Theatre Company’s AD Clare Watson. German soprano Christiane Libor will sing the part of Leonore, a role she has performed at Seattle Opera, Semperoper Dresden and the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, with Croatian tenor Tomislav Mužek cast as Florestan.

Bran Nue Dae at Black Swan State Theatre Company in 1993. Photograph © Jeff Busby

The Festival will also present the beloved musical Bran Nue Dae, which, as announced in April, marks its 30th anniversary next year with a national tour under the Opera Conference banner. Bran Nue Dae received its world premiere as part of the Festival of Perth in 1990, and will once again be staged by Andrew Ross with musical direction by the original members of the band Kuckles.

Guy Simon, Benjamin Oakes, Alison Whyte, Ebony McGuire, Arielle Gray and Mikayla Merks. Photograph © Pia Johnson

After opening in Melbourne earlier this year, Malthouse Theatre and BSSTC’s production of Cloudstreet will make its way to the Festival in February. Directed by Matthew Lutton, the play is a stage adaptation of Tim Winton’s classic Australian story about two families co-existing uneasily in the same Perth house. Lutton “has wrestled this sprawling, elusive work like few could,” said Limelight’s Patricia Maunder. “He keeps the pace tight… and demonstrates a clear vision that almost captures Cloudstreet’s slippery subtext and magical realist elements.”

Buŋgul, a Festival co-commission that celebrates the Yolŋgu culture of the late Indigenous musician Gurrumul, is set to be a highlight of the Festival’s opening weekend. Created with the musician’s family, this live performance by Yolŋgu dancers, Songmen and WASO explores the traditional songs, dances and paintings that inspired Gurrumul’s final album, Djarimirri.

Circa Contemporary Circus. Photo © Damien Bredberg

After wowing audiences with Beyond, Opus and How Like an Angel, Circa Contemporary Circus will return to the Festival with a world premiere. Leviathan, a Festival commission, will see the acclaimed Brisbane troupe team up with local circus performers, dancers and young people in a show that explores the tension between the mass and the individual.


Perth Festival runs from February 7 to March 1, 2020. Tickets are on sale from September 2

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