Now in its fourth year under Artistic Director Iain Grandage, Perth Festival has faced many challenges from the pandemic. With Grandage at the helm the festival has come through it all thriving and will be unbound by restrictions in 2023.
The festival’s contemporary music program has always been compelling, and this year is no exception. They’re taking over the beloved Yandilup/Northbridge venue, The Rechabite, for 25 amazing nights and the opening week looks set to kick things off in style.
Opening proceedings from February 9th-11th, is Tabby Lamb’s joyful queer rom-com, Happy Meal. Presented by Theatre Royal Plymouth and Roots, Happy Meal is a story about two young people transitioning from teen to adult; from MySpace to TikTok; from cis to trans.
“Whether you’re cis or trans, you want a happy ending, you want a smile,” Lamb recently said of the show to Aussietheatre.com.au. “All of those lockdowns were so horrific that we just want something fun and light and fluffy. And that’s what Happy Meal disguises itself as. It feels fun and light and fluffy and silly and stupid, but then it sort of has this little undercurrent of ‘maybe treat people nicely and you won’t be a dickhead.’”
On February 14th Australian avant-garde composer Anthony Pateras brings A Dread Of Voids to The Rechabite. Expect a night of electro-acoustic works including a world premiere by Pateras, who will be accompanied by acclaimed musicians Jessica Aszodi, Rebecca Lane, Karen Heath and Jonathan Heilbron.
“For me it’s all about trying to create something I’ve personally not heard before,” Pateras – who with Faith No More’s Mike Patton also releases music as tētēma – told The Quietus in 2022 of his creative and collaborative process.
“Whether people like it or not is secondary, and of course it’s very nice when they do! But the trick for me is to keep pushing and stay slippery, for myself.”
February 15th will feature poet, author and recording artist Kae Tempest. The Mercury Prize-nominated storyteller has released three albums, written three plays, a novel, six poetry books and a non-fiction work, On Connection. Tempest’s latest album, The Line Is a Curve, was released in 2022.
“It’s starting to hit me how different this album is from everything else,” they told The Guardian upon the LP’s release, “how far it could potentially go. It’s reaching for something beyond what the others have been.”
In the coming weeks The Rechabite will also host shows from Nakhane, Bikini Kill, Mdou Moctar, Julia Jacklin, Angel Olsen and more including an epic hip-hop block party hosted by MC Flewnt.
The Perth Festival’s Contemporary Music program also features three Australian-exclusive performances of Björk’s epic Cornucopia (Langley Park, March 3,6,9 and 12) and Bon Iver’s return to Red Hill Auditorium on February 26.
For full details head to www.perthfestival.com.au