Perth Festival: Must See

November 15, 2017
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By Zachary Sheridan & Holly Ferguson

Last week Perth Festival announced their 2018 season. Here are our top 10 picks of shows you MUST see.


A Nassim Soleimanpour and Bush Theatre production


20 Feb – 25 Feb, Studio Underground

‘No rehearsals. No preparation. Just a sealed envelope and a new actor reading a script for the first time every performance. Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour brings to Perth an audacious event that transcends borders and language.’

Unable to have his work performed in Iran, Nassim has carved his theatrical path with stories that travel around the world and are performed on his behalf. His play White Rabbit Red Rabbit is an international hit, and it seems that NASSIM follows a similar formula. A quick google reveals that reviews of NASSIM in Edinburgh give little away, as it seems surprise is absolutely key. An exploration of translation and transcultural communication, Soleimanpour’s work has been labelled brilliant, funny, and perceptive.


Presented in Association with Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts


3 Mar – 4 Mar, PICA Performance Space

‘Step inside a 24-hour live performance and cinema spectacle. Like bingeing on a box-set, you won’t be able to drag yourself away.’

Inspired by Opening Night, a 1977 film by John Cassavetes – as well as performance artists like Marina Abramović – The Second Woman is an incredible piece of experimental theatre where artist Nat Randall repeats a 10-minute scene over and over with 100 male participants over 24 hours. Perth Festival are also looking for people who are female-identifying to assist with this production – two vision switchers, three camera operators, two audio mixers, two stage managers, and one-man wrangler (for the male volunteers). Expressions of interest can be sent via email to


Byron J. Scullin/Supple Fox


9 Feb – 18 Feb [FREE], City of Perth

‘At dawn and dusk, the female voices of Siren Song descend from the sky signalling the arrival and departure of the light each day.’

A collaboration between Byron J. Scullin and Supple Fox, Siren Song is a sonic installation that cultivates shared experience between city dwellers, as female voices – ‘part keening, part opera, part dirge and part call to prayer’ – echo through skyscrapers. Expect the male-dominated area of St. George’s Terrace to be transformed as Perth is given its own cinematic soundtrack every sunrise and sunset.


Inua Ellams – A Fuel, National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production

[United Kingdom]

9 Feb – 18 Feb, Octagon Theatre

‘Newsroom, local hot spot, confessional and football stadium. For generations African men have gathered at the barber to talk shop, family, race, music and sport.’

Revolving on friendship, fatherhood, joy, videos online hint at a hilarious and heart-warming evening where there’s friends to be made. I’ve already bought my ticket.

Check out this dance:


Robert Lepage/Ex Machina


22 Feb – 24 Feb, Heath Ledger Theatre

‘To see a show from Canada’s visionary director Robert Lepage is to experience pure theatrical magic.’

Lepage, who believes that theatre is a place for communion, is world renowned and one of the most exciting things about the festival in 2018. His process of making shows is described on the Ex Machina website as a ‘like a tree that sees its branches grow in unexpected directions.’ The Far Side of the Moon is about two brothers grappling with the death of their mother, as well as the immensity of interplanetary space.


Michael Clark Company

[United Kingdom]

14 Feb – 17 Feb, His Majesty’s Theatre

‘Erik Satie, Patti Smith and David Bowie provide the soundtrack for a potent cocktail of dance and iconic music.’

As described by Perth Festival, Michael Clark is truly ‘Britain’s wild child of dance’. Clark’s choreography breaks and challenges dance norms; not only through his unique manipulation of the human body but in the gritty and challenging themes that run through his dances. This particular show will feature music by the likes of Erik Satie, Pattie Smith and David Bowie, all who have greatly inspired Clark. I predict tickets are going to go quick for this one, so snap them up while you can!


Damien Jalt & Kohei Nawa


1 Mar- 4 March, Heath Ledger Theatre

‘Out of the darkness, a white organic structure looms above a pool of water. Seven near-naked bodies move on this floating stage, becoming one with the gases, liquids and solids that form all around them.’

Damien Jalet is a freelance choreographer and dancer with a pretty extensive and impressive CV, which has seen him work across continents. Co-curator Kohei Nawa is a well know sculptor, from Japan, who creates transcendent and beautiful works. Together the two artists, from vastly different backgrounds, have united to create Vessel, a multi layered visual experience. Judging by the trailer you’ll be entering into a primitive, cold and isolated landscape, where muscular performers contort their bodies to create movements that glorify the human form (looks like some interesting fluids will be thrown into the mix too).


Maxine Doyle


22 Feb [FREE], King Street Art Centre

‘Steeped in local history and set in an iconic location in Perth city, the performance will speak with a unique West Australian voice to Western Australia.’

Based in WA, STRUT Dance productions wowed us earlier this year with their production, One Flat Thing, Reproduced. With the likes of multi-award winning Maxine Doyle choreographing their next endeavour, I have no doubt that we are going to see something just as amazing as One Flat Thing, Reproduced. Although there’s not much information on the performance available, it is a free event so it’s definitely worth the watch.


Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare


3 Mar [FREE], Subiaco Arts Centre

‘The creative team has been exploring how this over 400-year-old story and modern Noongar politics intersect in the contemporary political landscape of Western Australia.”

The story of Macbeth has undoubtedly been reimagined and reworked more times that one can physically count. But never have we seen an adaptation quite like this! This production is ‘Australia’s first large-scale Shakespeare production entirely in an Indigenous Australian language- Noongar.’ It sounds pretty incredible, right?  Again, this is a free event and since there’s only one showing, it’s definitely something you can’t miss.

*Like the STRUT Dance piece and others in Perth Festival’s program, this performance is part of Perth Works. Perth Works is a sneak preview of upcoming work from various Perth based artists and performers. You’ll have the opportunity to see the work in its current form, meet the artists and get to see their creative process. These events are free but you must reserve your place which can be done on the Perth Festival website.*


Compagnie XY


8Feb -17Feb, Regal Theatre

‘A circus collective renowned around the world for pushing the limits of physical ability and bringing poetry to the body in motion, the XY style is daring, gasp-inducing stunts.’

Compagnie XY are a collective of acrobats, making their way to Australia for the first time to present Il Nest Pas Encore Minute, (It’s not yet midnight). The circus is always a crowd pleaser (provided it doesn’t exploit animals) and by the looks of this show it will be no different. Just watching the trailer for this I couldn’t help but be in awe of the fluidity and ease these performers possess as they complete death defying stunts. If you want to see something that puts Bring It On to shame (sorry Kirsten Dunst), this is the show for you.

Get your tickets for Perth Festival here


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