PIAF Blog

That's A Wrap!

Monday 7 March 2016

 

After 25 days of incredible arts experiences of the highest quality, the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival has drawn to a close.

With a week of performances of The Wild Duck, seven ongoing Visual Arts exhibitions and five weeks of the Lotterywest Festival Films still to run, we take a look back at some of the things you said about our big, bold adventure.

 

Overall 2016 Festival:

It has been a Festival of high quality, deep connections and sellout shows … [Home] stepped out of the shadow of The Giants with an evocative, unvarnished assertion of WA identity in one of the most warm-hearted and satisfying openings in years. The West Australian

Perth International Arts Festival artistic director Wendy Martin has stepped out of the 2015 shadows of The Giants with a powerful statement of State identity at the opening event. The West Australian

By virtue of its geography and isolation, Perth can offer festival-goers an experience that is different from festivals on the far eastern side of the continent. The city – birthplace of the modern welcome to country – goes out of its way to extend hospitality.  The Australian

I find the heart of festivals beats on a smaller scale. I’m drawn to the surprising moments of intimacy that festivals can offer. Artistic director Wendy Martin has found many such moments in her first Perth Festival. The Guardian

The first two days of Wendy Martin’s first Perth International Arts Festival revealed a theme of sorts, or it might be more accurate to call it an atmosphere. There was a warm, deep connection between artists and audience as ideas of great seriousness and moment were put forward in an open-hearted spirit of inquiry rather than instruction. The Australian

Dance and physical theatre are at the heart of her first programme as PIAF director. Wendy Martin knows dance and you need look no further than her impressive resume to understand how. Limelight Magazine

Martin has curated a fascinating program, creating, as all good festival programs do, vibrant and provoking resonances. The opening weekend offered dichotomies between the divine and the human, epic spectacle and intimate personal connection, often in the same show. Alison Croggon, Australian Book Review

Wendy Martin’s first Festival will go down as an unforgettable one for lovers of ground-breaking, hugely entertaining, theatre. The West Australian

 

Home:

Home was bold and big-hearted, with a strong political message of recognising past wrongs and promoting an inclusive future told through music, words and dazzling visual projections. Sydney Morning Herald

Outdoor extravaganzas of this kind can be hit and miss affairs of variable sound and vision quality, clunky transitions and uneven performances. None of these things blighted Saturday evening’s event, staged under the sure hand of director Nigel Jamieson and musical director Iain Grandage.  The Australian

Seamless was the one word which kept coming to mind throughout Home. It fused together the numerous communities which made up the WA culture. The Sunday Times

 

The Snake Run Project:

Sure the Snake Run has turned 40, but it remains young at heart. The Guardian

It’s a monument to what can be created through community effort. The Australian

 

A Mile in My Shoes:

My highlight at the festival, though, is A Mile in My Shoes … Each time I swap my shoes, I am expelled back into the world slightly changed. In this park, I’m connected with these people of Western Australia in a way no other art form could muster. The Guardian

Simplicity, intimacy and truthfulness combine in this compelling work by The Empathy Museum. The experience, the intimate exposure to the details of another’s life, will stay with you long after you have returned their shoes to the box and your own shoes are back on your feet. ArtsHub

 

Apocrifu:

Visceral, often sweaty and nakedly passionate. The Australian

Apocrifu has a strange, almost inaccessible beauty … If you love contemporary dance, it’s a must-see. The West Australian

 

Every Brilliant Thing:

Touching, funny and brilliantly simple stripped-back theatre that packs a powerful punch … 5 stars. Limelight Magazine

British actor and comedian Jonny Donahoe has wonderful warmth. He employs it with great skill in Every Brilliant Thing to make what is in many ways a desperately sad story bearable, and ultimately, fine, fertile entertainment. The West Australian

 

Refuse The Hour:

The first thing you want to do when Refuse the Hour ends is to watch it all over again. Alison Croggon, Australian Book Review

The result is an exhilaration of a most rare kind … 5 stars. The West Australian

 

Plexus:

Plexus is a thing of riveting visual beauty within that is humour, pathos and that atavistic lure of the unknown. The Australian

Plexus represents what I want to see at an international festival. It is a work that pushes the boundaries of what is possible on stage. The West Australian

 

Within:

Within feels at once like an intensely personal work and a powerful cultural statement. Alison Croggon, Australian Book Review

Mangaldas’ solo work is a high point. Alternately silhouetted like a shadow puppet or bathed in light, she is like a luminous bird in pale gold and fuchsia ... This show deserves a sell out season. The West Australian

 

The Object Lesson:

In an extraordinary, wordless scene that would do Samuel Beckett proud, he charts the seven ages of man, from nappies to old fella’s slippers, with hundreds of objects he pulls from (I swear) an empty box. Just astounding … 5 stars. The West Australian

When the lights go off, it’s like a good movie that you never want to finish; somehow 90 minutes have flown by and everyone in the room is left grinning. Perth Now

Guide Gods:

Guide Gods is thought provoking, opening up discussion about disability and the nature of religion … there is something here for every human, able-bodied or disabled, religious or not. I walked away, my heart light ... 5 stars. The West Australian

Her intellectual curiosity and ready wit inform her award-winning dance performances. The Australian

 

Give Me A Reason To Live:

Unflinching, brave and confronting … simultaneous discomfort and unrepentant courage. The West Australian

 

The Wild Duck:

The Wild Duck concludes a deeply impressive first theatre program for PIAF director Wendy Martin. I'm counting the sleeps until her next … five stars. The West Australian

 

The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet:

The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet is a visual and musical accomplishment. As a piece of theatre it’s a delight to watch. Perth Now

This Hamlet is a radical and particular adaptation … They take it to some great heights. The West Australian

 

Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid:

When she really bores in on a song, Meow Meow is as good, and as irresistible, as it gets. The West Australian

By golly, am I glad I caught her amazing performance at this year’s Perth International Arts Festival. Disregard burlesque – this girl delivers titillating antics in an altogether fresh, innovative and subtle manner. Cream Magazine

 

I Know You’re There:

No one left in a hurry after the show and conversations about it continued around the Festival precinct through the night. That’s the best endorsement this unusual, unruffled piece can have. The West Australian

The work comes most to life when we are invited to participate, ripping up paper into ribbons to create a sky above our heads. The Guardian

 

Blackmarket:

The psychological friction of this role-playing world rubbing up against reality made Blackmarket an initially daunting and ultimately quite thrilling experience. The West Australian

 

No Guts, No Heart, No Glory:

The action is energetic and committed – and, incidentally, demonstrates again that boxing is the sport that translates most effectively to stage and screen. The West Australian

 

Pindorama:

Pindorama is dance but possibly not as you know it. A multi-sensory experience.  The West Australian

 

Chevron Festival Gardens:

The real winner here was PIAF and the people of Perth — and we’ve got another 25 nights to go. The West Australian

Chevron Festival Gardens is a magical space … Organisers have put a lot of thought into the expansive outdoor bar area, with multiple food stalls and a huge bar. The West Australian

[José] Gonzalez has a way of making you forget about your surroundings and letting your mind wander, guided by the soulful, often sorrowful, sounds of his crooning voice, synced perfectly with unobtrusive backing vocals and four-piece band. Sydney Morning Herald

[Tim] Rogers’ charisma and showmanship, combined with the technical brilliance of The Bamboos, created a sound that was impossible not to love. Perth Now

Marlon Williams: You could almost hear the crowd’s collective jaws hitting the ground as his voice soared. The West Australian

Sleater-Kinney played the best gig of PIAF 2016. The West Australian

Goran Bregovic: If you were in the crowd and didn’t crack a smile at some point during the set, or at least tap your feet, you were indeed very, very weird. It was utterly impossible not to enjoy Bregovic’s gypsy, Balkan party folk. The West Australian

We’re incredibly fortunate to have 69-year-old singer-songwriter Kev Carmody – a true living legend – still around to perform his unique songs that stem from the ancient Aboriginal tradition of storytelling. The West Australian

The Necks & Hauschka: They created 70 minutes of a subtly changing sonic landscape dense in texture, timbre and atmosphere. The West Australian

 

Chamber Music Weekend:

Perth Festival’s chamber music weekend created a palpable sense of shared journey. The Australian

PIAF’s first Chamber Music Weekend was a cleverly thought-out series of 18 events, programmed by Chris Van Tuinen, in which the all-time favourites were packaged with lesser-known pieces. May this most civilised of entertainments become a regular feature of PIAF. The West Australian

 

Wynton Marsalis Swing Symphony:

Marsalis' creative integration of the two bands, use of recurring motives and sprinkling of stunning solos created a weighty and fascinating orchestral journey through jazz. The West Australian 

 

Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610:

Leave it to the Italians to teach us about beauty. Concerto Italiano’s performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin was all about effortlessly flowing beautiful singing … 4 stars. The West Australian

 

A Filetta:

The six male singers of the Corsican vocal ensemble A Filetta entranced the full house at this performance. The magically illuminated Cathedral shimmered to create a sublime atmosphere. Australian Stage

 

Perth Writers Festival:

Surely one of the most beautiful settings for a writers’ festival in the world. The West Australian

There was no shortage of celebrities, from empathy guru Roman Krznaric and neuroscientist Lisa Genova, to comedian Magda Szubanski and bestselling author Simon Winchester. ArtsHub

Perth’s eateries were robbed of their snap-happiest patrons when food bloggers assembled at the University of WA’s Ivy Grove for the Food Trendsetters of Perth Breakfast. The West Australian

The world’s desire for all things food-related seems to have become insatiable. So what have the clever cookies at Perth Writers Festival done? Well they’ve created line up of food authors and events. The Urban List Perth

 

Lotterywest Festival Films:

We have a new PIAF film programmer bright young Brit Tom Vincent, but this year’s line-up has a reassuringly familiar feel. The West Australian

The rest of Vincent’s program is dazzling in its diversity, with films that take us far from our Western comfort zones. The West Australian

A Perfect Day: Wonderfully poignant and ironic. The Sunday Times

Queen and Country: Nobody does nostalgia better than Boorman. The West Australian

Sherpa: Trouble on Everest: It’s a fascinating insight into the lives of the community, what is at stake for them, and the simmering, complex tensions of such a lucrative, high-risk industry. It’s also a spectacularly beautiful film to look at. The West Australian

The Brand New Testament: Highly inventive and unique parable that boasts several surreal sequences and kooky characters played by such noted actors as Catherine Deneuve. The Sunday Times

La Belle Saison: Strong performances and an excellent sense of place and time … always worth your time and attention. The West Australian

Mia Madre: A rich and funny examination of a midlife crisis. The West Australian

The End of the Tour: Jason Segel defies all expectations that come from a career playing lovable knuckleheads to deliver a sensitive, complex performance as the revered author-essayist who shirked any form of celebrity. The West Australian

 

Screenkids:

Perfect for a classroom excursion or a family day out, Screenkids at the Subiaco Arts Centre offers a wonderful world of digital innovation. The West Australian

At Screenkids, there’s something amazing to hear, see and play around every corner. The West Australian

 

Visual Arts Program:

Artists delve deep into the psyche of the world around us in this year’s visual arts program, with an understated thread of empathy. The West Australian

 

Face To Face:

It is a thrusting masculine exhibition, from the cold, hard edges of Tarry, to the hipster; adrenaline cool of Gladwell, to Holler’s video of the writhing sweaty-bodied intensity of the Congolese contemporary music scene. The West Australian

 

Dani Marti – Black Sun

Marti’s works are both seductively enchanting and deeply repulsive. He embraces such dualities by making art that is unashamedly visceral, highly tactile and grounded in themes of intimacy, the search for the self, sexuality and human relationships.  The West Australian

 

Great Southern Festival:

There is a vibe here in Albany that this has been the most wonderful Festival.  Bringing Wynton Marsalis to the Great Southern has been a masterstroke that has recaptured the spirit of our audience. Rod Vervest, Program Manager: Great Southern

Congratulations on a fabulous opening Meet and Greet Session to Playmakers. I loved the blend of guest and local artists and the way musicians had so much fun performing together. I went home smiling. Dianne Wolfer, Albany-based Children’s Author

 

ARTISTS

We couldn’t have hoped for a warmer, more supportive and more receptive welcome and we loved every second. George Perrin, Joint Artistic Director, Every Brilliant Thing

Absolute congratulations for Home. This is the sort of benchmark that all future Festivals should base themselves on. Tos Mahoney, Artistic Director, Tura New Music

This has been the ‘complete’ festival for me. The extraordinary chance to bring together artists, skateboarders and community to celebrate The Snake Run skate park in Albany AND then a week of professional development with PIAF artist in residence Claire Cunningham.  It’s made me a better artist. Annette Carmichael, Snake Run Project Director and Claire Cunningham Lab Participant

I loved coming out west for PIAF – both screenings of Spear were sold out weeks in advance which is testament to the appreciation for the arts that the Festival has helped cultivate in Perth. Stephen Page, Artistic Director, Bangarra Dance Theatre

Thank you for what has been an incredible ride. Albany remains the most significant community event I’ve attended – period! A truly transformative experience. Shaun Gladwell, Australian contemporary artist

It was such a great pleasure to be in PIAF, with you [Wendy Martin] and all your wonderful team. Compagnie 111, Plexus team

The show [Home] really knocked us both out – very proud to have been a small part of it. It was a pleasure working with you and all your excellent colleagues at PIAF. Michael Lynch, Manager to Tim Minchin 

Thank you for allowing me to participate in the PIAF Snake Run Celebration and for all your efforts and kindness during our brief stay in Australia … Adrenaline continues to flow through my veins from the experience. Russ Howell, American skating legend

 

COMMUNITY

A massive congratulations to you all for having the concept, driving the vision and creating and performing a masterpiece that Home was and will always be remembered as. It made me proud to call Perth HOME, and helped my own sense of belonging here. Philip Stevens, Owner, Jarrah Records

I’ve really loved PIAF this year (Plexus has been a highlight for me) and am excited for the next three years. Jenna Mathie, Associate Producer, The Blue Room Theatre

The shoes and stories were magical, amazing to think a few steps in some else's shoes could be such a journey. Thanks for the opportunity [to volunteer at A Mile in My Shoes], I really enjoyed it. Kathy Bel-Bachir, 2016 PIAF Volunteer

The Plexus Awakening Moments masterclass was incredible. Thanks for signing me up, one of the best experiences I've ever had. Ariane Beyer, 2016 PIAF Young Creative

 

AUDIENCE

This year's program has been outstanding for me, having enjoyed such a variety of shows ranging from comedy to tragedy, dance, cabaret and simply intriguing pieces, and I still have more to come! Janet Kirby, Medici supporter

It is fantastic to see this caliber of performance right here in Perth, and what makes it even more special is it was about our Home here in Western Australia. I would like to congratulate the PIAF team on its effort and achievement, and the very high bar it has set itself. Rebecca White, Audience member

Unbelievable, awesome, fantastic are the first 3 words that come to mind after attending the Home event last night. Janet Potsch, Audience member

[Home] was absolutely fantastic, loved the seamless movement of one artist to another. Keep up the great work, so look forward to what you have in stall for us next year. Peter, Carolyn and Jack Cleays, Audience members

The incorporation of the WA Symphony & Youth Orchestras was exquisite, the respect for the traditional owners & their stories profoundly appropriate and the songs from our past, present rekindling memories of days gone by. Bernard Roberts, Audience member

[Plexus] definitely lived up and surpassed expectations as a "sheer spectacle." Thanks for a spectacular evening! Amy Tran, Audience member

If you're in Perth do yourself a favour and go see Perth International Arts Festival's spectacular Pindorama. A. It's beautiful, wild and unusual. I was totally enthralled with intensity and surprise. JJ Fowler, Audience member

Have just heard the amazing Tinalley Quartet in Albany. Beautiful, dynamic playing. Exquisite! What a treat! Mike Hyder, Audience member

Thanks so much for bringing over Dub Pistols, was amazing to bring these guys to Australia, what a treat and killer show! Nicholas Owen, Audience member

Absolutely brilliant! Leftfield – you totally blew my mind! Well worth waiting over two decades to see this live – I loved every single second! Karen Drummond, Audience member