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Unveiled: Holloway's final program, CTM 15, circus delights and digital innovators

Richard Watts

What's in store for the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival, at Bally on High, and at the digital festival Pause?
Unveiled: Holloway's final program, CTM 15, circus delights and digital innovators

Image: Madama Butterfly, Ayano Honda (c) Robert Piwko

Latest announcements

2015 PIAF program revealed

Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway’s fourth and final Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) program presents works both epic and intimate, ranging from the Australian premiere of Anthony Minghella’s Olivier Award-winning Madama Butterfly (performed by an international cast alongside the West Australian Opera Chorus and West Australian Symphony Orchestra) to a world of cut-out fragility and beauty in Davy and Kristin McGuire’s The Paper Architect.


‘In every art form we’ve tried to find work which is epic, and then complementing that with discoveries and gems … either the incredibly small scale or personally affecting work,’ Holloway said.

‘I think the extremes are an interesting place for festivals to explore, whether that be the extremes of consciousness and political ideas, or the extremes of scale.’

The 63rd PIAF honours the Gallipoli Centenary with the previously announced work by Royal de Luxe, The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants to the Streets of Perth, featuring a series of striking, 11-metre tall puppets, as well as two other productions: Queensland Theatre Company’s Black Diggers, and the premiere of composer Ross Edwards' Gallipoli, performed by the Australian String Quartet as part of Remember Tomorrow.

The program also celebrates the contemporary via a work exploring technology and intimacy, I Wish I Was Lonely, an immersive, interactive theatre piece in which audiences are requested to leave their mobile phones on; and embraces remix culture with Hack the Festival, which includes a $5000 prize for the best ‘art hack’ experience.

Other highlights include an exclusive performance by the New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group, featuring an 18-strong ensemble; Cut the Sky, a major new dance work by Broome’s Marrugeku; expansive film, visual art, classical music and contemporary music programs; and from South Africa, Handspring Puppet Company’s Ubu and the Truth Commission, directed by William Kentridge and drawing on the records of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee. It continues the strong relationship between South Africa and PIAF, and indeed Western Australia.

‘Obviously we share an ocean, and if you take the latitude from Perth you get to South Africa; it’s the next place along if you sail in that direction. So there is a connection. And for that reason there’s a big South African community in Western Australia, so I think it’s one of the most interesting areas, and most fertile areas of exploration, artistically, of the past 20 years. Because they’ve gone through periods of huge political change, and then dealing with that huge political change. And as a result the artists … have so much to say, and it’s so rich, and we’ve got so much to learn from it. And it casts a different lens on our own experience, and as a result it allows us to see our world slightly differently,’ Holloway said.

‘I think festivals have the capacity and the beauty to allow a city not to fall into insularity. Now, Perth is extremely outward looking and it doesn’t show signs of parochialism, and yet our job every single year is to help make sure that continues, and that we all continue to look up and look out, when it’s very easy on a day to day basis to look down and look forward.’

Perth International Arts Festival 2015
13 February – 7 March

Communicating the Museum 2015

After its successful Communicating the Museum 2014 in Sydney, the international museum marketing conference has announced a contrasting venue for 2015: Istanbul. Now the dates: 9 -12 September, 2014.

Bally on High set to dazzle and delight

The independent not-for-profit Bally on High festival is set to present 49 events design to delight adults, children and families alike.

Set in a circus tent just outside Northcote Town Hall and complete with drapes, chandeliers and plush cushions for seating, Bally on High will kick off on 21 November, closing the curtains on 7 December.

Among program highlights is Unbearably Hip by Stephen Blackburn (Full Frontal, Choir Of Hard Knocks)  with songs 'The Most Liveable City in the World' presenting a unique perspective on Melbourne and 'Love a Beta Man' offering hope for women seeking male companionship showing from 2 December to 7 December, 2014.

Female ventriloquist Sarah Jones is putting on a show called Safety House which has a big line-up of "oddball" comedians showing from 2 December to 6 December. 

Not to be missed is the hilarious and beardy comedy from Dave Callan; amateur drag competition So You Think You Can Drag hosted by the incredible Dolly Diamond; and Vintage Variety featuring the best acts from the 1900s, hosted by Andrew McClelland and Bobby and the Pins.

The Pacific Belles will be performing at Vintage Variety with Bobby and the Pins at Bally on High.

Family friendly events include The Very Circusy Caterpillar, Le Petit Circus and bocce tournaments. A silent disco will also be in the circus tent every Friday night throughout the festival’s duration.

For more information visit the

Innovative festival to head up Federation Square in February

The ever popular Pause Festival will once again return to Melbourne’s Federation Square in early 2015, bringing together the digital innovators from around the world for a week long showcase of creativity and inspiration. The festival will feature speakers and workshops from such organisations as Buzzfeed, Pay Pal, ABC and Guardian Australia.

The team at Pause promise the festival will be like nothing the public has ever experienced.

For tickets and more information, please go to

More announcements

About the author

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's national performing arts editor and Deputy Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R. The founder of the Emerging Writers' Festival, Richard currently serves on the boards of La Mama Theatre and the journal Going Down Swinging; he is also a member of the Green Room Awards Independent Theatre panel, and a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Follow Richard on Twitter: @richardthewatts