Welcome to this, the 60th Perth International Arts Festival.
I love the moment when the auditorium lights dim and the chattering fades, or when the conductor raises his baton for silence. I love that black sky between the thud of launch and the first burst of fireworks. I even love the stretched canvas and the blank sheet of paper in front of the writer, as long as the writer isn’t me.
Festivals are full of those moments of anticipation, followed – with great regularity – by hours of satisfaction and illumination. In an increasingly hectic and disjointed world, those moments of collective experience are what it means to be a community, to be alive and sharing our lives.
This repeated cycle of gathering in rooms together to share anticipation and satisfaction is what has defined Festivals for centuries. However, the world in which Festivals operate has changed beyond recognition in the past decade. Digital technology, virtual living and the fact that everyone becomes a published writer every day means that the arts are no longer just what happen ''over there'', created by artists. Having defined the experience of the 20th century Festival over the past 59 years, our job now is to redefine what it is to be a Festival in the 21st century.
To this end we have spent the past year plotting and planning with our artistic friends around the world to make sure that this year’s Festival gives you what you have always wanted from it in big measure – great music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature and film.
What you may not find in these pages is the work that goes on beneath the surface to connect our Festival with the world around us. This year has seen the ramping up of our education program and the start of our Vital Stages program, working with WA artists to develop new work and link with our international guests.
What you will find in these pages is our exploration of what it means to be a Festival in one of the most geographically remote yet globally connected cities on Earth. You will find events which re-interpret our City, moments of disruption and periods of celebration. You will find many new ways to interact and engage with us beyond being an audience member, whether online or in person.
So, to get the most out of your Festival, jump in with both feet … book more than you really think you should, commit to more than you have time for, engage with it in the fullest possible way. The Festival this year really is what you make of it.
- Jonathan Holloway, Artistic Director