We acknowledge the Noongar people who remain the spiritual and cultural birdiyangara of this kwobidak boodjar. We honour and respect the significant role they play for our community and our Festival to flourish.
Perth Festival is a not-for-profit multi-arts festival that brings world class performance, music, film, visual arts and literary events to Perth, Western Australia, every summer.
The Festival has been celebrating Perth, its people and its culture on the shores of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) for 70 years as Australia’s longest-running arts festival. Grounded on Noongar Boodjar, it is uniquely placed to celebrate the oldest living cultures in the world by championing rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions and contemporary arts practice.
Founded in 1953 from the University of Western Australia’s annual summer school entertainment nights as a ‘festival for the people’, the Festival has seeded and cultivated decades of cultural growth through commissioning major new works and engaging diverse audiences.
Festival time in Perth is when the best artists from Western Australia and the world stand shoulder to shoulder in creative unity within the community.
Iain Grandage leads our Festival from 2020 until 2024. He’s been celebrated for bringing a sweeping sense of place to the Festivals he has curated, with a strong commitment to Noongar artists and stories standing alongside events of scale like Highway to Hell.
Iain’s one of Australia’s most highly regarded collaborative artists, having won Helpmann Awards for his compositions for Theatre (Cloudstreet, Secret River), for Dance (When Time Stops), for Opera - with Kate Miller-Heidke (The Rabbits), for silent film – with Rahayu Suppangah (Satan Jawa) and as a music director for Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl and Secret River.
Iain has been music director for large scale events for Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Festivals over the last two decades, has an extensive track record of collaboration with indigenous artists across the country, and has an honorary Doctorate from UWA.
Our Time. Our Place. This is what our art should speak of. This is where our heart resides.
The 2020 — 23 Perth Festivals will be celebrations of place – our city, our river, our State and our state-of-mind. They will be inclusive and immersive – euphoric affirmations of who we are and where we stand.
We affirm the primacy of Indigenous culture, a culture that sings the songs of our very geography – Noongar Boodjar.
Over the next four years, we will capture an ever‐expanding orbit of stories from the local to the global. Our Festivals will be irreverent, playful, compelling and honest. They will speak to everyone. They will reflect the vast array of cultures and circumstances in contemporary Australia and be the glue that binds people together in the face of divisive nationalism and individualism.
We will broaden the Festival footprint across metropolitan Perth to present events and re-imagine traditional venues in unexpected ways.
The Festival will expand its year-round contribution to Perth’s cultural life and be central to supporting the next generation of creative thinkers. We will commission and present works that give voice to this generation and we will commission acclaimed national and international artists to collaborate with our local artists.
We will commission and present works at the cutting edge of technology, namely in the virtual realm. But also to honour and develop the deep traditions of Festival’s presentations – free large-scale opening events, its fine music program, its films.
Our aspiration is to create a Festival for all – to present art that speaks to many, which balances popularity with integrity and creates an inescapable sense of celebration for everyone.
It’ll be ours.
Iain Grandage Artistic Director
Nathan Bennett was appointed Executive Director of Perth Festival in February 2017. Nathan has worked in senior leadership roles with leading arts companies in Australia and overseas for over 20 years. Prior to joining the Festival, he was Head of Development and Deputy Executive Director at Sydney’s famed Belvoir St Theatre.
Nathan's previous roles include General Manager of Sydney's Griffin Theatre Company and Company Manager at Bell Shakespeare, Australia's National Touring Company. He has also spent time in the United States with Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company as Director of Development. He is a board member of Australian Dance Theatre and a former board member of PACT Centre for Emerging Artists.
Noongar Advisory Circle
Our Noongar Advisory Circle exists to ensure our respectful connection to this place, to its people and to the cultural bedrock of Noongar Boodjar remains strong.
We take seriously the impact we have on our community and place, and acknowledge that Festivals have not always been as accessible, inclusive and sustainable as they could be.
Perth Festival takes a holistic view of sustainability with a focus on caring for our planet, caring for our people, and caring for our community. We do this to ensure we remain relevant, accountable and resilient for generations to come.
Perth Festival Special Projects (PFSP) is an exciting new venture from Perth Festival that was created to further our purpose – to enrich life through art. This new division of Perth Festival drives our ambition to become a year-round cultural organisation that delivers, always for our community, audiences and supporters.