Curtains up on inaugural New Annual program.
Councillor Carol Duncan with Zackari Watt and performers of Fingers Crossed Creative inside Civic Theatre.
The first details of the New Annual program were unveiled at Civic Theatre, showcasing the diverse line-up of visual and performing artists in the 10-day festival.
With a theme of illumination and a tantalising “We Are New” tagline, the festival will be held from 12-21 February 2021. It’s inaugural event aims to celebrate the depth of talent in Newcastle’s thriving cultural and arts sector, with more than 100 artists and 50 events.
Councillor Carol Duncan said New Annual would enhance Newcastle’s reputation as a rich hub for visual and performing arts, while also providing a flagship cultural event with wide appeal.
Newcastle has a thriving arts scene, with more artists per capita than any other city in Australia. We also have some of the most fantastic cultural venues, from the heritage-listed Civic Theatre and the iconic City Hall to the wonderful Newcastle Art Gallery, which houses one of Australia’s finest collections of public art,” Cr Duncan said.
New Annual will provide Newcastle’s thriving independent arts sector with an opportunity to present work on a larger scale while attracting leading artists and audiences to share in this landmark arts event.”
The program features five festival-specific works commissioned from local artists and companies as part of a $86,096 grant from the NSW Government’s Arts and Cultural Funding Program. These include a new contemporary dance piece by Catapult Choreographic Hub inspired by and performed in the iconic Civic Park fountain and a shipping container turned cabaret theatre, bar and festival hub for local performances, including an anchor show by Fingers Crossed Creative.
The invited artist program will include the world premiere of two new compositions performed by Omega Ensemble and a football-inspired new urban movement form founded by Feras the Shield and Maestro Ahil. The Civic Theatre, Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle Libraries, and Newcastle Museum will present a range of performances, exhibitions and podcasts.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the event represented a $750,000 City investment in the arts and cultural sector at a difficult time for the industry.
City of Newcastle is proud to invest in the arts, with the New Annual celebrating the depth of talent in our thriving cultural sector and providing a platform for national artists to showcase their work in our city,” Cr Nelmes said.
Our long-term goal is to position New Annual as a leading arts festival on the national events calendar, sitting alongside Sydney Festival, Vivid Sydney and Adelaide Fringe.
Over time the festival will grow to become a significant generator of cultural tourism, using arts and culture to share the city’s stories with the world, and position Newcastle as an innovative and creative region with a vibrant cultural history and bright future.”
New Annual’s program has been designed with the flexibility to operate as a COVID Safe event depending on Public Health Orders. To find out more visit www.newannual.com. The full program and tickets will be released in early January 2021.
New Annual Program Preview
Examples of festival-specific local commissions, invited artists and City of Newcastle events:
Massive Band – Bree Van Reyk
Massive Band is a community-engaged project that invites girls and women to join a massive rock band. A series of workshops conducted over several months teach participants to play three iconic rock songs by legendary women artists, which are then performed on mass at the performance event, led by Bree Van Reyk.
Acquist – Catapult Choreographic Hub
Newcastle’s renowned professional contemporary dance company Catapult Choreographic Hub are working on a new site-specific commission to be performed in the iconic Civic Park Fountain. It will make use of its striking architecture and explore the same themes as the fountain itself – Newcastle’s unique balance of beautiful natural environment and history as an industrial city.
Taylor’s Run – Curious Legends
Curious Legends are a local visual theatre company best known for their large-scale illuminated puppet performances for children and families. They have been commissioned by City of Newcastle to create a new site-specific performance at Summerhill Waste Management Centre that will explore themes of sustainability, waste reduction and environmental care.
Passenger – Jessica Wilson & Ian Pidd
Passenger is a theatre work, which places its audience inside a moving suburban bus. Passenger references Western films where the cowboy seeks to ‘right’ a ‘wrong’ that the law neglects or cannot rectify. Two strangers discuss the ethics of contemporary life before the female reveals her true identity and her mission of retribution. Written by Nicola Gunn and directed by Jessica Wilson and Ian Pidd, Passenger is a sweeping and cinematic theatrical experience.
Civic Theatre Presents: Civic Bar
The Civic Theatre will come alive throughout the festival, with Civic Bar a hub of nightly programming, including the return of crowd favourite: Civic Bar Beats.
Newcastle Art Gallery Presents: Void
Void brings together contemporary Aboriginal artistic practice from across the country. Curated by Emily McDaniel, the exhibition features existing works across the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, video and photography by artists including Pepai Jangala Carroll, Jonathan Jones, Mabel Juli, John Mawurndjul AM, Hayley Millar-Baker, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Rusty Peters, Doreen Reid Nakamarra, Andy Snelgar, Dr. Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher AO, Freddie Timms, James Tylor, Jennifer Wurrkidj, and Josephine Wurrkidj.
Link to download New Annual showreel: https://we.tl/t-XYtYXeoOBJ