The curator's guide to New Annual : weekend one
Welcome to the 2022 New Annual arts festival!
I’m incredibly excited about this year's festival. It doesn’t matter how you dive in, just as long as you do.
We have carefully selected some of the best local and national works for you to experience in Newcastle this September, but it’s really about participation. We want people to feel relaxed, be curious and enjoy themselves.
Here are some of the experiences I’ve been especially drawn to. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Adrian Burnett: Festival Director
Mountain : Stalker Theatre & Box of Birds
The connection to country and the beauty of Australiana is captivating in Mountain, and is the perfect way to open this year's festival. It takes you into nature and reminds us of the things in our environment that we want children and their adults to be aware of.
Stalker Theatre are well known for their aerial skills and this performance includes breath-taking abseiling work combined with stunning digital visuals and choreography. Plus it’s outdoors in Civic Park which is the festival hub, so a great place to start your New Annual adventure.
COLOSSUS : Stephanie Lake Company
Stephanie Lake is one of the most in demand choreographers in Australia, and since it first premiered, COLOSSUS has been a runaway hit.
What’s great is the scale and energy of the 50 amazing young dancers all working in unison - it's incredible. You don’t have to be a dance enthusiast to enjoy this, it’s very accessible and just a beautiful show to experience.
Pavilion of Sand
Entirely driven by the First Nations community, all workshops are free, and everybody’s invited to take part. There will be workshops on everything from First Nations' Language, Art, Dance, Bush Medicine/Tucker, Tools / Spears, and Canoe making.
I love that it's so 'hands on', it's about getting in there and having some fun, and learning something new about First Nations culture.
The pavilion is an architecturally designed space filled with sand, and the sail cloth design is a New Annual commission by First Nation's artist Jasmine Craciun. It represents the connection between the past and present in one place, inspired by the middens that are present beneath the ground we walk on here in the city.
CREATION the Exhibition & Performance : Deborah Kelly & Collaborators
22 Aug—02 Oct
Deborah Kelly's work CREATION is the extraordinary companion piece to the performance on the closing weekend at City Hall.
The creative team are working with community choirs in a series of workshops, which lead to a final procession through the city finishing in a triumphant finale at Newcastle City Hall. It’s multi-disciplinary and seamlessly blends different kinds of expressions using costume, dance, and song. This is a great one for whole the community.
TITAN ARUM : Justin Shoulder
23 Sept—02 Oct
You can experience TITAN ARUM in a pop-up exhibition space at 164 Hunter Street. It’s family friendly, and will really appeal to people who love experimental and boundary pushing work. Justin Shoulder is a unique artist, he has a really fine aesthetic, and he helps us to think in an expanded, imaginative, creative way by conjuring up futuristic worlds.
TITAN ARUM is much more than an art installation, it’s a journey of sound, light and texture that invites you to imagine. It's been a true collaboration with the Newcastle Art Gallery and will be one of the festival highlights. I hope to see you there!
East Feast Long Lunch : Underground Epicureans
24 Sept + 01 Oct
New Annual is designed so you can organise your day around the city and beaches whilst enjoying a long lunch with friends, old and new, in the historic East End. Over three relaxing hours you will experience four outstanding restaurants.
It will introduce you to some of our favourite lunch locations with dishes from those who make Newcastle's food scene so great. We recommend visiting Justin Shoulder's exhibition TITAN ARUM afterward with plenty of time to see a few more shows in the evening.
I liked it...But : Joel Bray
23 Sept—02 Oct
Joel is a dance artist, and a lot of people scratch their heads when it comes to contemporary dance and think they just don’t get it. What Joel has done is unpick that, and created a show with himself and a musician that transforms the theatre into a wild pub trivia night exploring what is really going on in the art world.
He’s a wonderful storyteller, so expect very silly stories about very serious people, as he pokes fun at the art world and himself with tongue firmly in cheek.
It's on at the Newcastle Comedy Club and there’s only two shows so be quick!
Nihilartikel – Exhibition & Book Launch by Izabella Pluta
23 Sept—02 Oct
Izabela Pluta is an immensely talented visual artist who is based in Newcastle. She is working with Perimeter editions, Australia’s leading publisher of photo and artist books, to realise her book project which will enable her exhibition to expand beyond a gallery context and operate independently as an important artist book.
You can attend Izabela's book launch on the first weekend as well as visit the exhibition throughout the festival. It’s free and this is an opportunity to get up close and meet the artist and the exhibition curator.