Huge Bubbles, Light Tidal Waves and Rollerskating Parties: Brisbane Festival's 2022 Program Is Here

Brisbane's citywide arts fest will unleash 580 performances — 230 of which won't cost a cent to attend — over three massive September weeks.
Sarah Ward
Published on July 05, 2022

Thanks to a lengthy stream of announcements dating back to autumn, Brisbanites can be forgiven for feeling like they already know what's on Brisbane Festival's lineup for 2022. We've already heard about the return of Riverfire, this time kicking off the huge citywide fest rather than ending it. Bob Dylan musical Girl From the North Country has been locked in for a few months as well. We also know that Brisbane Powerhouse is welcoming a huge kaleidoscope you can walk through, while Northshore Hamilton will score a riverside pop-up with a saucy cabaret show and Japanese magic bar.

That's just the beginning of the Brisbane Festival events we've already been told about for this year, too. The list of previously revealed shows also covers installations Museum of the Moon, Gaia and Mars, which'll light up a seven-metre floating orb in West End; Brisbane's Art Boat making a comeback for cruises down the old brown snake, this time while looking at Lindy Lee's creative pieces; and sky-high event Raise the Roof, which'll throw six parties on six rooftops on one night. Plus, it spans openair gig Disco Wonderland, complete with orchestra-played 70s tunes at the Riverstage — and the stage adaptation of Shannon Molloy's coming-of-age memoir Fourteen.

Excited already? That's perfectly understandable. Prepare to add a heap more shows, installations and events to your Brisbane Festival schedule right now, though. Today, Tuesday, July 6, the event has unveiled its complete lineup — and yes, all of the aforementioned gigs, art, parties and more has plenty of company.

The Pool, Marcus Carter.

Marking Artistic Director Louise Bezzina's third program, Brisbane Festival's 2022 lineup covers more than 580 performances, 230 of which won't cost you a cent to attend. Within that hefty overall figure, there's also 22 new works, 12 Queensland premieres and six international presentations. That's what'll fill Brissie from Friday, September 2–Saturday, September 24 — and the highlights keep on coming.

This year's Bris Fest is going big on art, featuring the event's largest-ever visual arts program. Among the new standouts, Ephemeral will see huge bubbles made using dichroic film take over the Festival Garden at South Bank — and, at the same spot, The Pool by New York artist Jen Lewin will bring its 100-plus light pads our way. The latter is inspired by Australia's tidal pools, in fact, and asks its audience to step, jump and dance across its floating circles.

Also new to the bill: The Purple Rabbit, the latest show from Blanc de Blanc, Fear and Delight, and LIMBO's Strut and Fret; Nightwalks with Teenagers, evening strolls that are exactly what they sound like; Jessica Mauboy taking to the stage for an opening-night gig at South Bank Piazza; and The Last Drop, a hip hop and electronic music fest within the fest that'll bookend the fun at the other end.

Atmosphere Photography

There's also play Super Sunshine Girl, about tennis star Evonne Goolagong; Queen City, a world-premiere video-game-inspired stage production from Blak Social that's set in the 80s; Slow Boat, which follows six Chinese workers staging a theatre show at the Bulimba Dockyard to celebrate victory in the Pacific at the end of World War II; and Dancenorth's Wayfinder, which features stage design and costumes by Japanese Australian visual artist Hiromi Tango.

Comedic cabaret Considerable Sexual License will feature Wiradjuri man Joel Bray and his collaborators explore the history of sensuality Down Under, too — and Guttered is a dance theatre piece dance that's been crafted to be inclusive and informed by disability, and will play in Chermside's Kingpin bowling alley.

Elsewhere on the program, The Whitlams will bust out their Eternal Nightcap album live to celebrate its 25th anniversary, 80s mixtape musical All Fired Up will jump back several decades and Common People Dance Project will host an eisteddfod. Also, a queer dance party will take over The Tivoli, and The House of Alexander will celebrate ballroom — and take cues from Harlem's ballroom scene — at the same venue.

Bowerytopia, Nikita Oliver

Brisbane Serenades might sound familiar, but it's an evolution of the past Street Serenades event. Instead of hitting up all 190 of Brissie's suburbs, there'll be seven mini fests around town this time around — including a Moorooka block party headlined by  L-FRESH the LION, opera in Victoria Park, the return of Mosaic Multicultural Festival to Roma Street Parklands and a big rollerskating party in Milton.

Yes, the entire lineup just keeps going on. Yes, it's that massive. And yes, your calendar is going to be jam-packed for the first three weeks of September.

Brisbane Festival runs from Friday, September 2–Saturday, September 24, with tickets for the entire lineup on sale on Wednesday, July 8.

Top image: Ephemeral, Markus Ravik.

Published on July 05, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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