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Brisbane Festival

By Addy Whitburn

Each September the Brisbane Festival takes over the town with a phenomenal program brimming with big-name acts, world premieres, and spectacular new light-and-laser shows on the river that will see Brisbane illuminated for 23 days of celebration in September.

Brisbane Festival has shone its spotlight on a packed program of spellbinding shows, provocative performances and illuminating installations that will set the city alight fromSeptember 6–28.

Pop the cork on a riotous champagne-soaked party, open the door on a tantalizing glimpse into the unknown, or experience the force and fury of passionate love in a diverse and delightful program arranged into three themes: REVELS, REVELATIONS and ROMANCES.

This year, Queensland’s largest arts and cultural event will be both boldly Brisbane and gloriously global. It will host 454 performances of 83 shows, involving over 908 artists from around the world, including headliners 59 Productions, the global leaders in digital and projection storytelling; Chinese superstar dancemaker Yang Liping, South African music theater ensemble Isango; and France’s Compagnie Carabosse. Four big concerts at the much-loved River-stage will mark that venue’s 30th birthday.

Brisbane Festival has co-commissioned what its Artistic Director David Berthold describes as its “most ambitious project” to date: the multi-art form Invisible Cities, which will occupy a massive Yeerongpilly warehouse in an exclusive Australian season immediately following its world premiere in the UK.

Invisible Cities brings together international artists at the top of their fields, directed by Leo Warner and involving art and technology wizards 59 Productions, Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and the full company of Rambert, one of the world’s great dance companies.

Other major productions include Rite of Spring by Chinese choreographer and dancer Yang Liping (Under Siege); two productions from South Africa’s lauded Isango Ensemble: SS Mendi and St Matthew Passion; the incandescent Fire Gardens in City Botanic Gardens; the water, light and laser spectacle River of Light, revealing hidden aspects of local Indigenous culture; the sizzling new BLANC De BLANC ENCORE by Strut & Fret Production House; four Riverstage – 30 Years of Music concerts including a Brisbane-only appearance by Canadian singer-songwriter City and Colour; and world premieres from Dancenorth, La Boite and Queensland Theater.

For the full program of theater, dance, music, circus, comedy, cabaret and family entertainment, visit

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