Brisbane Festival 2019
Brisbane Festival 2019 is set to be the biggest international arts festival in Australia, reaching a larger audience than any other with a jam-packed program that is both boldly Brisbane and gloriously global.
Stories of Brisbane are threaded throughout the festival which runs from Sep 5-28, while some of the world’s most daring artists will blow audience's minds as they show what is possible through creative expression.
Here is an overview of the amazing and fabulous shows and events so you don't miss anything, including the following 34 awe-inspiring experiences that are Brisbane Festival must-do's:
Fire Gardens 11-14 SEPT, City Botanic Gardens
For more than 20 years, French alchemists Compagnie Carabosse (FRA) have been transforming landmarks around the world into fiery playgrounds, from Stonehenge to the Kremlin. Fire Gardens is an otherworldly experience to spark your imagination, touch your heart and fill up your senses. Four nights only.
Invisible Cities 24-28 SEPT, Yeerongpilly
Staged in a huge warehouse in Yeerongpilly, Invisible Cities is perhaps the most ambitious project ever presented by Brisbane Festival. The world’s leading innovators in digital and projection storytelling combine with acclaimed UK dance company Rambert to reinvent the theatre experience in this monumental, multi-artform event that combines dance, digital projection and phenomenal storytelling.
No Country for Old Men + Tropical F*ck Storm 26 SEPT, The Tivoli
Experience the Coen brothers’ Texas noir thriller No Country for Old Men paired with the riotous, mad, art-punk-psych-experimental-rock sounds from Tropical F*ck Storm (Gareth Liddiard, Fiona Kitschin, Lauren Hammel and Erica Dunn) as they perform their original score live on stage alongside the film screening.
1000 Doors 6-28 SEPT (Tues-Sun), Treasury Brisbane Arcadia
From the masterminds behind last year’s Brisbane Festival hit House of Mirrors comes a new invitation to lose yourself and find something else in the process. A seemingly endless series of doors, portals and gateways give way to passageways and parlours - each haunted by the lingering traces of past inhabitants. Every entrance into this house of possibility will begin at the same door, but no two visitors will leave the same as they entered.
Briefs: Brats Kids 14-15 SEPT, Playhouse, QPAC
Hula hoops at top speed, acrobatics at alarming heights and seriously cheeky clowning antics – put on your party outfit and join the Brat Kids Carnival! Brought to you by the circus artists and mischief makers behind international touring sensation Briefs, this show is for all ages – from tots to teenagers and their mums and dads.
Regurgitator’s Pogogo Show 14-15 SEPT, The Tivoli
Renowned Brisbane mashup rock/electro/punk/poppin’ funtime outfit Regurgitator have cooked up a sugar-soaked record written especially for kids and are bringing it live to The Tivoli! This new project sees long time Regurgitator trio Ben Ely, Quan Yeomans and Pete Kostic joined by the effervescent Koko direct from Planet Rainbow.
Dan Sultan – Nali and Friends – 27 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
ARIA Award-winning musician Dan Sultan performs songs from his recently released children’s album, Nali & Friends – a musical tale about unconventional, oddball animals from all around the world, from the jungles of Uganda to the highlands of Borneo and the deserts of Australia.
We Live Here 5-8 SEPT, Cremorne Theatre - QPAC
Created by a team of highly skilled young circus performers from Flipside Circus, We Live Here is an inspiring show that celebrates the memories and moments that make a life.
Trash Test Dummies 21-24 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
This award winning, side-splitting, slapstick comedy, circus routine takes the household wheelie bin to new heights, and delivers a dump-truck full of hilarity! Winners of Best Children’s Presentation at the Adelaide Fringe 2015 and 2016, the Trash Test Dummies are as full of laughs as their bins are full of surprises.
John Safran - Jew Detective: Sarcasm is not a Crime 11-14 SEPT, Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
Skinheads side by side with Jews; immigrants against immigrants; Shermon’s promise of a far-right hajj – this is a case for John Safran, Jew Detective. Join him as he spills the beans on his career as a writer, comedian and natural-born troublemaker.
Cal Wilson - Gifted Underachiever 18-21 SEPT, Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
Cal’s been at this whole life thing for a while now, but she still hasn’t quite nailed it. Join her for an evening of asking the big questions: Has she done enough with her life? Does anyone eat brussel sprouts by choice?
Anne Edmonds - What's Wrong With You? 18-21 SEPT, Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
Anne Edmonds (Have You Been Paying Attention?, The Project) is one of Australia’s most exciting stand-up, character and banjo-playing comedians. Hilarious, surprising and completely on point, her righteous grumpiness will have you giggling days later.
Sam Simmons 11-12 SEPT, The Tivoli
With one foot firmly planted in the soils of reality, and the other rooted deep in a determination to redefine silliness, Sam Simmons is one of the most daring and unconventional comics in Australia. Don’t miss this completely original and vastly absurd performance.
Blanc de Blanc Encore 5-28 SEPT (Tues-Sun) - The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
Join the party! The hedonistic world of Blanc de Blanc returns to Brisbane Festival off the back of a record-breaking Sydney Opera House summer season with a brand new show. Serving up an intoxicating blend of flirtation and acrobatic feats to transport you to a champagne nirvana, this is the encore you’ve been waiting for!
Briefs Close Encounters 11-15 SEPT, Playhouse - QPAC
They’ve come from the future to test the limits of masculinity and decency with their iconic brand of circus, drag, burlesque and comedy. Expect interstellar aerials, incredible artistry, sharp social commentary and warp-speed strippers from outer space.
Trevor Ashley in Double D's: Two Decades of Divadom 13 SEPT, Concert Hall - QPAC
This not-to-be-missed concert sees Trevor Ashley joined by a ten-piece band for a special, intimate show. Expect songs and stories from Les Misérables, Hairspray, and Priscilla, plus special appearances by several well-known divas as he recounts some of his favourite moments of his career.
Swing on This 7-11 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
Brisbane, get ready to swoon as four of Australia’s leading stage and screen stars unite in true ‘Rat Pack’ style. Michael Falzon (We Will Rock You, Evita), Brisbane’s own Luke Kennedy (runner up The Voice Australia 2013, The Ten Tenors), Matt Lee (So You think You Can Dance, Mary Poppins) and Ben Mingay (Wonderland, Hacksaw Ridge), will deliver a modern and audacious take on all-time swing classics from Sinatra and Bublé, to rock and pop hits from Farnham to INXS.
Sunsuper Riverfire (FREE) 28 SEPT, Treasury Brisbane Arcadia
Witness one of the most electrifying fireworks displays in Australia, launched from multiple bridges, barges and city rooftops, with aerobatics from the Australian Defence Force. Sunsuper Riverfire celebrates the end of three weeks of Queensland’s largest arts and cultural event with a pyrotechnic extravaganza set to an almighty soundtrack.
River of Light (FREE) 6-28 SEPT (Tues-Sun), Treasury Brisbane Arcadia
This spellbinding celebration of our city returns for the second year. Following the phenomenal success of the 2018 telling of a Dreamtime creation story of the river – seen by almost 500,000 people – this new local Indigenous story will be told by Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company working with Oracle Liquid. The art-meets-technology water fountain, light-and-laser spectacular will illuminate the night and our river several times per night, Tuesday-Sunday, throughout Brisbane Festival.
Symphony for Me (FREE) 21 SEPT, Riverstage
This free concert has been a huge success for Brisbane Festival, with all tickets previously gone in under 15 minutes. In 2019, for the first time, and due to overwhelming demand, it moves to Riverstage as part of the celebrations of that special venue’s 30th birthday. Performed by Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the evening will uncover extraordinary stories from the public, in an unforgettable evening of music.
SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill 5-7 SEPT, Playhouse - QPAC
This powerful and moving celebration of life at the moment of death retells the tragic story of the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917. Poignantly beautiful and darkly funny, this extraordinary work combines masterful song, dance and drama in a startling story of hope and courage.
Theatre Republic 6-28 SEPT, QUT Creative Industries Precinct, Kelvin Grove
Theatre Republic is Brisbane Festival’s home of rebellious and fiercely independent theatre from around Australia and the world. Under the springtime stars, grab a drink and be drawn into a warm and welcoming world of inspired installations, beautiful artworks and live music before and after checking out the 17-show program of great new works.
Fangirls 7 SEPT-5 OCT, Billie Brown Theatre - Queensland Theatre
This world premiere by gifted young comedian, singer and playwright Yve Blake is stacked with insanely catchy numbers that will take you straight back to your first crush and make you feel ALL THE FEELS.
From Darkness 7-28 SEPT, La Boite Roundhouse Theatre
Steven Oliver’s (Black Comedy, Black Queen Black King) deeply moving new play deep-dives into contemporary family politics and the connection between culture, grief and our humanity. Isaac Drandic directs this gripping and darkly funny new Australian work with a stellar Indigenous cast.
Riverstage Birthday Bash 7 SEPT, Riverstage
There's a smashing line-up for Riverstage’s official 30th Birthday bash! The best party ever includes Hot Dub Time Machine’s ‘dance-thorough-the-decades’ audiovisual party and live sets from Brisbane’s best and brightest including Cub Sport, Confidence Man, Last Dinosaurs and Clea.
City and Colour 28 SEPT, Riverstage
City and Colour performs his only Australian show to help wrap up Riverstage’s 30th birthday and Brisbane Festival celebrations, coinciding with the dazzling fireworks display that is Sunsuper Riverfire. He’ll be playing tested crowd favourites alongside new tunes from his forthcoming sixth studio album, his first original music in almost four years. Special guests to be announced.
Tivoli in the Round 17-20 SEPT, The Tivoli
Tivoli in the Round is back for a second season. Get up close and personal with four of Australia’s best artists in this unique in the round experience. Over four consecutive evenings enjoy Emma Louise, No Mono, Paul Dempsey and Husky in rare immersive performances allowing for an intimate connection between artist and the audience.
The Church of House: Groove Terminator Live with Gospel Choir
Paul Mac, Josh Abrahams 6 SEPT, The Tivoli
90s dance music fans, rejoice. Multi-ARIA Award nominee and dance music royalty Groove Terminator will reimagine his cult HOUSE 5 DJ mix live on stage, accompanied by the Gospo Collective choir with support from Paul Mac and Josh Abrahams. This memorable show enjoyed sell-out performances in Adelaide.
Bruno Major 19 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
The debut Australian tour of British R&B singer-songwriter Bruno Major comes hot on the heels of a breakthrough year amassing more than 250 million streams, multiple sold out North American tours, a UK arena tour with Sam Smith, and the release of his debut album ‘A Song For Every Moon’.
I Left My Heart In Highgate Hill 14 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
The ultimate romantic ode to Brisbane, performed by 10 of our best home-grown female singers. Conceived and written by singer-songwriter Sean Sennett, I Left My Heart In Highgate Hill revolves around the key theme of love, with the backdrop that is Brisbane. The all-star line-up singers includes: Lucinda Shaw, Roz Pappalardo, Deb Suckling, Sue Ray and Jackie Marshall.
MZAZA 22 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
Lead by enchanting French-Sephardic vocalist Pauline Maudy, these two-time Queensland Music Award winners play rhythms and melodies that tap into the beating heart of humankind.
Jazz on Sundays 8, 15 & 22 SEPT, The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
Discover a superb line-up of Brisbane's finest jazz singers and musicians every Sunday afternoon throughout the festival in the Courier-Mail Spiegeltent.
YANG LIPING’s Rite of Spring 25-28 SEPT, Playhouse - QPAC
From China’s superstar choreographer and dancer Yang Liping comes a new interpretation of Stravinsky’s revolutionary ballet of sacrifice and renewal. Rite of Spring follows the success of Yang Liping’s previous work, Under Siege, which was a spectacular hit at Brisbane Festival 2017.
Sense of Sharing 18-21 SEPT, The Joinery
(Ticket includes show, dinner and drinks package.)
Arrive as strangers, leave as friends. Join eight extraordinary performers and 88 guests in this immersive dance experience. This world premiere from Dancenorth, Australia’s powerhouse dance company that gave us the multi-award-winning Attractor (2017) and last year’s exquisite Dust, sets out to illuminate the most basic of human desires through the sharing of four fundamental ingredients – food, wine, conversation and dancing.
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Brisbane Festival 2019