WHAT'S ON SYDNEY
Sydney Festival 2020 FEATURES AND INTERVIEWS
Introduction Set to engage minds, stir souls and transform the city, from the CBD to Parramatta. Sydney Festival invites audiences to discover the best of new Australian and international theatre, music, visual art, dance and ideas in corners of the city both known and unknown. Sydney Festival’s 2020 line-up sees Festival-goers of all ages exploring the city through a range of over 75 large-scale public events, exhibitions, installations and performances. An essential fixture of Sydney’s summer calendar, Sydney Festival 2020 takes place over three big weeks from 8–26 January. As the largest single commissioner of Australian works in the country, Sydney Festival 2020 presents 46 new co-commissioned works, alongside 14 world premiere shows, four Australian premieres and six Australian exclusives, highlighting the Festival’s commitment to taking local talent and creativity to the world stage, while at the same time bringing the best of the world to Sydney. This booklet gives your an indepth look at just a few of the great events happening over the three weeks. Bran Nue Dae I'm a Pheonix Bitch Encounter Plus a list of all the free events you can enjoy.
Set out on the road trip of a lifetime with a runaway teenager, two hippies, a wily Uncle and a German priest. By the time you shake the red dust from your feet, you’ll know what it means to come home. Jimmy Chi’s coming-of-age musical comedy Bran Nue Dae is an exuberant ride through 1960s Western Australia. Young Willie embarks on a journey of discovery, hitchhiking his way from mission school back to Broome, determined to win the heart of the girl he left behind.
Bran Nue Dae Dates 16 January - 1 February
The first ever Aboriginal musical celebrates family, forgiveness and reconciliation with a feel-good mashup of rock-and-roll, gospel, country and blues music. It returns to the stage 30 years after its sparkling 1990 debut.
Venue Riverside Theatres Parramatta Tickets $59.90 - $99.90
Interview with Naomi Pigrate Associate Director
What’s exciting you most about this production? Definitely the cast and what they’re capable of. Also I’m excited, as a Kimberley kid, to see where I come from and all that comes with it shared with the country again.
Why is it important to revive Bran Nue Dae?
Bran Nue Dae Dates 16 January - 1 February Venue Riverside Theatres Parramatta Tickets $59.90 - $99.90
The most important reason to revive Bran Nue Dae is to continue to spread the message of hope and understanding it brings. I think Bran Nue Dae is a powerful journey for reconciliation because it uses the universal language of music and dance and theatre as a vehicle to breakdown the stereotypes and misconceptions about our people. There’s also then a ripple effect to that so our people who identify with Bran Nue Dae are encouraged to be proud; it’s an injection of positivity into the community.
Which is your favourite song and why? I don’t have a favourite, I think they’re all as powerful as each other. If I had to choose I’d say in this production, at this stage in rehearsals, my current favourite is Marijuana Annie. Are there plans to tour after Sydney? Yes, we’ll be touring nationally in 2020; after Sydney we will be touring to Perth, Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide. I’m also very hopeful support will come forward to do a regional tour in Western Australia given the show’s roots.
Bryony Kimmings’ offbeat, deeply funny and sharply heartbreaking feminist musical about the worst year of her life, when she lost her mind, her partner, her house and nearly lost her child. Never one to shy away from big, scary topics, Kimmings’ processes her postnatal depression and the collapse of her personal life through the medium of witty and wacky songs, horror movie shtick, cleverly detailed set design and epic film projections.
I'm a Pheonix Bitch Dates 14 - 17 January Venue Sydney Opera House Tickets $49 - $59
Multi-platform artist Kimmings is renowned for provocative and personal work centred around social experiments. In 2010 hit Sex Idiot, Kimmings retraced her sexual and romantic history onstage to uncover the partner that gave her an STI. In 2011 work 7 Day Drunk she collaborated with scientists to explore the impact of alcohol on her creativity, staying intoxicated (in a controlled environment) for seven days straight. Arriving in Sydney after critically acclaimed runs at Battersea Arts Centre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I’m A Phoenix, Bitch asks how we turn trauma into power; how we learn to fly from tragedy, not drown.
Interview with Bryony Kimmings
If you could pick just 3 - 5 words to describe this show what would they be? Funny, haunting, tragic, weird, true. It is the end of a decade where do you see yourself in 10 years time? The last few years I’ve not been making as much theatre. I’ve had a child and plan to have another. My child has special educational needs so they need to be at home. Because of this I’ve been concentrating on screenplays. Last Christmas was written by Emma Thompson and myself, directed by Paul Feig who made bridesmaids. It came out this Christmas to a really huge enthusiasm from fans. I am just finishing my second screenplay and writing a drama so I think in 10 years time I’d like to be sitting in my mansion writing with my children surrounding me! This tour is really my last hurrah for the meantime!
You tackled topics head on a very personal to you, why? I’ve always done it. I’m from family of all girls and we are loud and common. Growing up nothing was taboo in our house. When I left home I realised my brutal honesty and big mouth were my super powers. I’ve set my sites on the biggest unarticulated problems we face in the west: alcoholism, sexual diseases, the sexualisation of kids. When I got ill with postnatal depression I thought I would never make a show about the subject I was so ashamed. But once I got better I realised that if I didn’t make a show about it I would be a Philistine. As this is such a personal show did you design/ make your props? I always work with the same team when creating the show and have done for the past 10 years. My designer is David Curtis-Ring and he is a genius. I decant ideas to him and he goes wild. I’ll say “make me into a fairytale princess” and the next day I’ll have dress, crown, jewels the lot. I rely on this team to help me realise the shows because they’re quite large scale and I love to collaborate plus I’m rubbish at making things. I have a really specific look and feel inside my imagination.
Encounter Australia World Premiere PRESENTED BY SYDNEY FESTIVAL EMMA SAUNDERS COMMISSIONED AND PRODUCED BY FORM DANCE PROJECTS SUPPORTING PARTNERS: SYDNEY YOUTH ORCHESTRAS & FLING PHYSICAL THEATRE “…the cars spin out on the roads, losing their grip somewhere between all the crooked driveways and those backyards that stretch out forever between all that fibro and brick.” You are here in this place where the eels lay down and the cars light up and the McDonald’s M is the biggest moon in the sky. Parramatta. Summertime. Early in the evening. ENCOUNTER is your invitation to the neighbourhood. In this en masse, site-specific work of joy, directed by the “formidable” Emma Saunders, ENCOUNTER explores the everyday extraordinariness of being young and being in this place, from Parramatta, Western Sydney to the Bega valley, on the NSW South Coast. In collaboration with a group of award-winning Australian artists, including Felicity Castagna (writer), composers Amanda Brown (The Go-Betweens) and Jodi Phillis (The Clouds), ENCOUNTER celebrates young people growing up in urban and regional communities. Creatively developed with a cast of 16 young dancers and 50 young musicians of the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, ENCOUNTER explores the indomitable spirit of youth and the world they find themselves in. “Someone puts a boombox down on the concrete … I don’t get it, I don’t know how to be here …and I enter the space they’ve opened up and I dance." DIRECTOR: EMMA SAUNDERS CHOREOGRAPHY: In collaboration with the DANCERS ASSOCIATE ARTIST: ROB McCREDIE COMPOSERS: AMANDA BROWN & JODI PHILLIS ORCHESTRATOR: JESSICA WELLS CONDUCTOR: JAMES PENSINI WRITER: FELICITY CASTAGNA VISUAL ARTIST: DAVID CAPRA WESTERN SYDNEY DANCERS: SARAH KALULE, LAWRENCEA MATEARIKI, SABRINA MUSZYNSKI,
JOSHUA O’CONNOR, NAOMI REICHARDT, FERAS SHAHEEN, CAYLAN SPENDLOVE, XARA ZAINEDDINE THE FLING COMPANY: ESME BARKER, EBONY CONSTABLE, GABRIELA GREEN OLEA, EBONY RYAN-MINERS, LARA SCRIVENS, BODHI TURNER, RORY WARNE, LUCA YI ORCHESTRA: WESTERN SYDNEY YOUTH ORCHESTRA SPOKEN WORD: BILAL HAFDA PHOTOGRAPHY: HEIDRUN LOHR VIDEO & TRAILER: DOMINIC O’DONNELL PRODUCTION MANAGER: REBECCA POULTER EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: ANNETTE McLERNON
Interview with Emma Saunders, Director
Encounter Australia Dates 10 - 12 January Venue Prince Alfred Square Parramatta Tickets This is a FREE Event
What was the inspiration behind Encounter? Encounter is inspired by so many things but perhaps the main inspirations for Encounter was based in its capacity for site specificity, and the dancers themselves. I worked hard to make a work that reflects the space it’s performed within and allows room to celebrate the sky, the wind, the birds, and the actual landscapes that the work is performed in. For Prince Alfred Square in Parramatta the site is noisy and flat and wild around the quite manicured interior of the park. So this has become an idea we have explored – the notion of wild vs tame. Within the dancers themselves, there is so much dancing range from flamenco to street dance to tai chi to Scottish dancing to contemporary and back again. We have worked within a process of exploring how we dance, shared what inspires each of us within our dancing, what we’re actually doing when we dance, and how we can find a way to dance together to start to develop a communal body that we all can dip in and out of. Was the music composed especially for this work? Yes. Totally. The composition was made in response to the dancing ideas, which was made in response to the site. There are 9 different musical compositions for Encounter. It is a sizeable undertaking so we have a full 1 hour long, new and original score. Jodi Phillis and Amanda Brown worked together to break up the sections. Some musical motifs just came out of Jodi’s musical genius in the form of humming along whilst watching us doing a jumping dance. Other pieces were inspired by a specific rhythm that evolved from the dancers eg One of the sections was inspired by a specific flamenco rhythm one of the 11 yr old dancers, Xara was using that has now ended up as an acapella piece that the orchestra is now performing.
Other pieces go for an indefinite amount of length depending on the length of the dance needed to travel across from Point A to Point B on the particular sites we perform on – this has been quite a different way to approach dance making for me as an artist. How many dancers are involved? There are 16 dancers in total – 8 from Western Sydney and 8 from Fling Physical Theatre. There is also Rob McCredie who is the Co-Artistic Director of Fling Physical Theatre and who has been Associate Artist for Encounter. R
Encounter Australia Dates 10 - 12 January Venue Prince Alfred Square Parramatta Tickets This is a FREE Event
What are the plans for Encounter after the Festival? Good question. Hopefully we can find a way to tour such a radical work all over Australia and then all over the world!!
PRELUDE Arrive early at Prince Alfred Square Park and bring your picnic blankets to enjoy PRELUDE, a warm-up to ENCOUNTER, featuring a rotating showcase of short performances by local dance revolutionaries and community dance leaders. Artists include flamenco diva Pepa Molina; Bharatanatyam dancer Aruna Gandhi; Polynesian Cook Islanders Pacific Dreams; hip hop sensation The Buggy Bumpers; Feras Shaheen and his Dabke dancing mother, The Feisty Femme; Forge Tap Quartet; the rocking contemporary Dance Makers Collective; and international Sharp Short Dance alumnus Billy Keohavong.
Free Festival Events JUMAADI: MY LOVE IS IN AN ISLAND FAR AWAY 7 Dec - 9 Feb Mosman Art Gallery & Community Centre
FIONA FOLEY: WHO ARE THESE STRANGERS AND WHERE ARE THEY GOING? 8 Jan - 9 Feb National Art School
VERNON AH KEE: THE ISLAND 2 Jan - 23 Feb Campbelltown Arts Centre
TRUE WEST 11 Jan Riverside Theatres
DODECALIS LUMINARIUM 8 - 26 Jan Tumbalong Park
RETHINKING LEADERSHIP IN CULTURAL INDUSTRIES 14 Jan University of Technology Sydney
DANIEL BOYD: VIDEO WORKS 8 Jan - 1 Mar Carriageworks PROCLAMATION 8 - 26 Jan Barangaroo Reserve REBECCA BAUMANN: RADIANT FLUX 8 Jan - 14 June Carriageworks KATE MITCHELL: ALL AURAS TOUCH 8 Jan - 1 Mar Carriageworks
THREE VIEWS 15 - 26 Jan Mosman Art Gallery & Community Centre TALOI HAVINI: RECLAMATION 17 Jan - 23 Feb Artspace WANSOLWARA: ONE SALT WATER 17 Jan - 29 Feb 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art STAY 17 - 18 Jan Riverside Theatres
Free Festival Events WANSOLWARA: ONE SALT WATER 17 Jan - 18 Apr UNSW Galleries
RETHINKING NATIONALISM 25 Jan University of Technology Sydney
SYDNEY SYMPHONY UNDER THE STARS 18 Jan Parramatta Park
PROCESSION 25 Jan Sydney Town Hall
OPERA IN THE DOMAIN 18 Jan The Domain WHAT DEFINES A PROJECT AS 'FIRST NATIONS'? 18 Jan University of Technology Sydney WAYSIDE BRIDE: A READING 21 Jan Wayside Chapel THE VIGIL 25 Jan Barangaroo Reserve
Featuring Sydney Festival events and What's on for free during the Festival