Five highlights of the Perth International Arts Festival

A mainstay in the Western Australian cultural calendar, discover more about the five highlights of the Perth International Arts Festival. Five highlights of the Perth International Arts Festival
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Five highlights of the Perth International Arts Festival 2017

"In 2017, we are delivering art without borders, inviting you to travel to extraordinary places with the world’s most brilliant artists as your guides. Welcome to the PIAF 2017 program." — Wendy Martin, Artistic Director

By Jessica Wilkinson

Evocative live music, inspiring literary works and dynamic theatre productions underscore the robust events calendar of Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF). Running from 10 February to 5 March, the festival will deliver a spate of exceptional artists set to take audiences on an extraordinary journey. 

With such a diverse and dexterous program, it's hard to know where to begin. We've rounded up five unmissable events on the PIAF calendar from Afro-Cuban jazz at The Chevron Festival Gardens to the politically topical and personally powerful trilogy of plays, The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family

Flit, Perth International Arts Festival, Western Australia

Martin green: FLIT

When: 18 — 19 February

In a small rehearsal space on the grounds of a castle near Edinburgh, Martin Green, Becky Unthank, Adrian Utley, Adam Holmes and Will Anderson created Flit – an album that tells the fragmented experiences of people forced into exile. Timeless, innovative and laced with emotion, the enchanting vocals and intricately layered sounds are warped and folded into an utterly captivating capsule of sound. Coming off a string of shows in the UK, post the Edinburgh international festival premier, Flit has been transformed into an intimate and visually rich production that is one to tick off the PIAF bucket list. 

The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family

When: 11 — 18 February

Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson presents his fiercely human and stirkingly relevant trilogy, The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family. The three plays, Hungry, What did you Expect?, and Women of a Certain Age immerse the audience into the lives (and kitchen) of the Gabriel family as they — with quelling humanity — try to make sense of their rapid changing reality to the rattling underscore of America’s identity crisis in the face of the recent presidential election. Best summed up by The New Yorker; “We’ve had to pluck sprigs of humanity where we can find them this year, and Nelson’s plays have offered them up, humbly." This is a must-see for theatre-goers. 

Archie Roach, Chevron Festival Gardens, Perth International Arts Festival, Western Australia


When: 10 February — 5 March
Free -$$

Warm, balmy nights on the foreshores of Perth city, punctuated with AfroCuban jazz, chillwave, Brooklyn indie and folk-pop — that’s Chevron Festival Gardens. This year, for 21 nights, international headliners, local heroes and guest DJs will be taking the stage. The festival kicks off with the brash, unapologetic sounds of Birmingham-born rapper Lady Leshurr, others to follow include the unique storytelling and gospel sounds of Archie Roach, Grammy Award-nominated Omar Sosa, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi and the kaleidoscopic landslide of blazing guitars and distorted drums of Explosions in the Sky

Perth Writers Festival

When: 23 — 26 February
Tickets: $

“Expect everything from the heart-stopping to the controversial to the beautiful as the Festival comes alive over four days this February.”  — Katherine Dorrington, Perth Writers Festival Program Manager.

Each year, Perth Writers Festival pushes to provoke, inspire and offer insight into the world we live in. To this end, writer and researcher Ben Rawlence (City of Thorns) will open the festival by delving into the daily lives of nine individuals in the world’s biggest refugee camp in Northern Kenya. Closing the festival will be Syrian architect and memoirist Marwa al-Sabouni (The Battle for Home) on how architecture can help reconstruct a war-torn civil society. With a program brimming with international and local authors, artists and thinkers, the conversation is only just the beginning. 

Boorna Waanginy, Perth International Arts Festival, Western Australia


When: 10 — 12 February
Tickets: Free

This beautiful light and sound installation will open PIAF with resounding power. Created in association with the Noongar community, scientists and botanists, Boorna Waanginy will see Kings Park transformed into a cathedral of light, sound and imagery. Running over three nights, the event explores inter-connectedness of all life, the fragile beauty of South West Australia’s landscape and the threats it now faces.


Unmissable arts events in 2017

Unmissable arts events in 2017

Australia's vibrant arts scene offers a full calendar of inspiring arts festivals all over the nation.

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