Top 10 Things to do at Brisbane Festival 2019
Running September 6-28, the Brisbane Festival 2019 is regarded as one of the city's headline annual events, with a massive showcase that features arts, music, performance, comedy, cabaret, creative installations and some incredible theatre productions. For the 2019 edition, which also happens to be the festival's 30th birthday celebration, there are 454 otherworldly performances jam-packed into 23 days so you can be certain that there's an event that you'll love. Led by world-renowned artistic director David Berthold, the Brisbane Festival 2019 is set to be another spectacular affair, which only further cements the city's reputation as one of the country's most happening destinations. With many of the events held within close proximity to your luxury accommodation at Capri by Fraser, Brisbane, we've picked out our top ten events that you simply can't miss.
Before we do so, however, we couldn’t help but spark some interest in the festival’s main highlight - the Sunsuper Riverfire!
A highly anticipated segment every year, Sunsuper Riverfire will see the Brisbane skies light up in an eclectic mix of colours throughout a pyrotechnic display - as they have been for the past 21 years. This event unites more than half a million living all over the southeastern part of Queensland, who will come together to celebrate the joyous end of a three-week cultural bonanza. Immerse yourself in a colourful extravagance on the night of the 28th at several vantage points in and on the outskirts of the city. They include the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, River Terrace at Kangaroo Point, South Bank, Victoria Bridge as well as the Howard Smith Wharves.
Before the showcase, be sure to catch the Australian Defence Force make a low flypast before disappearing into their playground of clouds. Two tug boats will also perform a synchronised romantic ballet display on the South Brisbane Reach. A well-known highlight from Sydney’s New Year’s celebrations, you can watch the act from any location along the South Bank.
Read on to find out what events you can explore at the Brisbane Festival!
Described as perhaps the most ambitious event ever presented by the Brisbane Festival, Invisible Cities brings together an incredible collection of world-class artists led by director Leo Warner. Taking place in an enormous warehouse in the Brisbane suburb of Yeerongpilly, artists featured throughout the event include leading projectionists 59 Productions, celebrated actress and writer Lolita Chakrabarti, ambient music duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen, plus acclaimed Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Also in attendance will be the entire company of Rambert, a dance collective that's considered one of the world's best.
Held September 24-28, Invisible Cities is inspired by the namesake novel, which delves into the real-life relationship between Mongol Empire leader Kublai Khan and historic explorer Marco Polo. Across a thrilling performance that combines dance, music, architectural design and breath-taking projections, Invisible Cities will redefine what you think you know about theatre performances.
Yang Liping's Rite of Spring
Having previously performed at the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the 2017 Brisbane Festival, beloved Chinese choreographer and dancer Yang Liping returns in 2019 with a new performance that will undoubtedly bewitch audiences. Offering her take on Igor Stravinsky's widely popular ballet, Rite of Spring, Liping elegantly unites traditional Chinese performance with a contemporary guise resulting in an event that's rich in profound beauty.
Featuring a score composed by celebrated Chinese artist He Xuntian, the performance sees classic Tibetan music set against Stravinsky’s lasting compositions. Joined by a collection of 15 masterful dancers, Liping has also collaborated with Oscar-winning designer Tim Yip, who was a key creative force behind the blockbuster film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Held September 25-28, Rite of Spring made its international debut in London back in May, receiving largely stellar reviews.
Symphony For Me
Taking place at the Riverstage inside the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens on Sunday September 21, Symphony For Me is a regular event at the Brisbane Festival that audiences continue to turn out in their droves for. Free to attend, this year's performance will be led by journalist and ABC TV weather presenter Jenny Woodward, who will help pluck audience members from the crowd to tell a story that involves a classical piece of music. Those lucky people will then get to stay on stage as the world-class Queensland Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Guy Noble, serenades the huge outdoor audience with their chosen piece of music. Listen to some great music, and hear some fascinating stories, as you lay out your picnic blanket underneath the starry sky. Be sure to get your tickets early as Symphony For Me often sells out quick.
At last year's Brisbane Festival, the House of Mirrors was one of the most popular events, with visitors having to find their way through 15 tonnes of mirrors and optical illusions. For the Brisbane Festival 2019, the same crew behind that puzzling installation have returned with a new perplexing labyrinth called 1000 Doors, which attendees are bound to find just as difficult to navigate.
Combining an eerie soundtrack with an array of decaying doorways, this creepy maze will be something that you've never experienced before. As you move through each space of 1000 Doors, you'll go from peeling hallways to rooms that are reminiscent of an abandoned hospital. With hidden portals found throughout the installation, 1000 Doors makes for a fascinating experience where people will be queuing up to get inside.
Sam Simmons: 26 Things You've Been Doing Wrong with San Simmons
Throughout his career as one of Australia's most loved comedians, Sam Simmons has long perfected the art of wielding his eccentricities in such a way that audiences can't help but laugh. Focusing on the inventive and the absurd, Simmons has continued to transform his act over the years, going from using props at the beginning of his career to becoming an expert storyteller. Now, in what he's described as possibly his last show ever, ’26 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong With San Simmons’ arrives in Brisbane after impressing audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe and around Australia.
With his latest show combining the unlikely elements of a therapy session with lively karaoke, Simmons is once again in fine form as he approaches a long list of everything you've been doing wrong. From how to eat chicken wings in public to dealing with lint-covered jeans, this show will have you laughing and questioning your sanity in equal measure. Plus, you might happen to learn a few nifty tricks.
Across Brisbane Festival 2019, there's a ridiculous wealth of local and international music acts to check out. But it's Kate Miller-Heidke's brand of indie-pop, folk and opera that makes her one of this year's most unmissable acts. Having graced many of the world's biggest stages, including Coachella, the New York Metropolitan Opera and the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, the latter event saw her stardom reach new levels as she finished in the event's prized top ten.
Joined by Brisbane-born guitarist and songwriter Keir Nuttall – who recently wrote the music and lyrics behind the smash-hit production, Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical – Miller-Heidke heads to the Queensland Performance Arts Centre on Friday, September 27. Performing an array of her most popular songs, she'll also take to the stage to showcase reworked versions of tracks such as ‘The Last Day on Earth’, 'Caught in the Crowd’ and ‘O Vertigo!' Meanwhile, audiences will also get a glimpse of new songs that are still yet to be released. With her career only reaching new heights, don’t miss your chance to see one of Australia's biggest stars.
Exploring society's most basic human desires through a combination of food, wine, conversation and dance, Townsville-based contemporary dance company Dancenorth presents a world-premiere of their newest show, Communal Table. Held across several sessions from September 18-21, this unique shared dining experience sees eight remarkable performers join 88 guests for what can only be described as an unconventional performance.
Created by Dancenorth’s Artistic Director Kyle Page, Associate Artistic Director Amber Haines and John Armstrong from The School of Life, Communal Table is held at The Joinery, a stunning venue in Brisbane's West End. With the event space transformed into a charming restaurant that features a delicious menu and a specially created soundscape, each of the eight tables serves as a mini stage for the performers. After you experience the performance close-up, diners will then enjoy dessert with the dancers as you engage in a conversation about the event. Not for the faint of heart, at the end of the night, diners will also be invited onto the stage to have a dance themselves.
Over the last two decades, renowned French artist collective Compagnie Carabosse has decorated destinations like Stonehenge and the Kremlin with fiery sculptures that light up the night. Across four special nights at the Brisbane Festival 2019, they'll head deep into the City Botanic Gardens to showcase their newest red-hot installation, Fire Gardens. Held September 11-14, massive spheres of leaping flames will dance across the sky as visitors take part in an exciting 60-minute session.
Highlighting the natural beauty of the botanic garden, this flickering performance of fire will be joined by an original soundtrack that'll take the event to new heights. With additional elements of air and water also making an appearance, Fire Gardens will engage just about every one of your senses as you become immersed by this spectacular night-time event.
Jazz on Sundays
Bring your weekend to a close in style as the Brisbane Festival 2019 hosts a series of chilled-out sessions that feature some of the city's most talented jazz performers. Held across three Sundays at the Courier-Mail Spiegeltent on South Bank, the first Jazz on Sundays' event takes place on September 8 and presents local favourites Yas Queen, which combines the outstanding musical talents of Paula Girvan, Mel Lathouras and Tenille West.
September 15 offers silky smooth vocalist and trumpeter Shannon Marshall, who'll be joined by his wonderful band known as The Souls Almighty before the final session sees the Leigh Carriage Quintet take to the stage on September 22. Led by one of Australia's best-known contemporary jazz vocalists, audiences will be blown away by Carriage's powerful set of pipes.
Evening Lights by Elisa Jane Carmichael
Just as daylight begins to fade and dusk takes over, the bustling pavement of King Street will come alive with a striking work of art by Ngugi artist Elisa Jane Carmichael. Inspired by the poetry of Indigenous writer and political activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Evening Lights depicts images of dusk and fire, while also exploring ideas around cultural identity and heritage.
Meanwhile, the striking installation will also be complemented by an exhibition that highlights the artistic process behind the work's creation. Plus, they'll be guided tours, spoken-word poetry sessions and workshops that kids will love. Working closely with materials significant to her cultural identity, Carmichael unites traditional techniques with thoughtful modern adaptations across painting, weaving, techniques and installation.
Head to the Brisbane Festival 2019 website for full program information and to purchase t