We are so lucky to have brilliant programmers drawing on experience from all over Australia and the world. Meet the people bringing Perth Festival 2022 to life!
Iain Grandage – Artistic Director
Iain has been our Artistic Director since 2020 and will see us through to 2024. He is one of Australia’s most highly regarded and acclaimed collaborative artists and programmers. Born in Brisbane and raised in Perth, Iain is a University of Western Australia graduate and the proud recipient of an honorary Doctorate from the institution.
Iain has won seven Helpmann Awards and his long history with Perth Festival began with Black Swan Theatre productions of Merry-Go-Round in the Sea (1997), the theatrical adaptation of Tim Winton’s famous novel Cloudstreet (1998), The Year of Living Dangerously (1999) and Plainsong (2000).
He was musical co-director and composer for the 2016 opening event spectacular, Home; arranged and directed music for The Rabbits (2015); won Helpmanns for his music direction and composition for the Festival’s co-commission Secret River (2013); and wrote and conducted the opening of the 2012 Festival Dawn:Dusk (2012).
Iain has received Victorian Green Room Awards, the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for an Individual, and the APRA/AMC award for Vocal Work of the Year for his opera based on Tim Winton’s novel The Riders.
As a programmer, he curated the chamber music program for the 2018 Adelaide Festival and was the Artistic Director of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival from 2016-2018. He has been composer-in-Residence with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and has an extensive track record of collaboration with indigenous artists across the country.
Rachael Whitworth – Head of Programming
Rachael joined Perth Festival as Head of Programming in 2021, after 10 years at Performing Lines WA as a producer and senior producer. Most recently, Rachael spearheaded Performing Lines WA’s Kolyang Creative Hub initiative in 2020 and 2021 to support independent and culturally diverse artists. She led her team to premiere four new Western Australian works in the 2021 Festival - Black Brass, Children of the Sea, Galup and Slow Burn, Together - all of which were central to the success of the home-grown 2021 Festival program.
Trained at Victorian College of the Arts, Rachael began her professional career in 1992 as a classical dancer with West Australian Ballet before performing for a decade with Buzz Dance Theatre and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Completing a Graduate Diploma in Arts and Entertainment Management at Deakin University in 2000 saw her become Associate Producer for the 20th UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival before joining Performing Lines WA in 2011. She has significant networks internationally after being a New York ISPA fellow for four years and working on cross-cultural collaborations with Sensorium Theatre in Singapore and leading tours in North America.
Kylie Bracknell (Kaarljilba Kaardn) – Associate Artist
Kylie has been with the festival since 2020, providing advice and support across all First Nations work in the Perth Festival Program. Kylie also is a practicing artist exploring the integration of Noongar culture and storytelling throughout the Program.
Kylie is an accomplished actress, voice-over artist, television presenter, public speaker, consultant, writer, director and producer from the Noongar region – the south west of Western Australia. She has coordinated and managed a variety of theatre, film, television, and radio industry programs.
As an actress, Kylie has appeared in television programs such as The Gods of Wheat Street (ABC) and Redfern Now (ABC), films including I Met a Girl, Ace of Spades and Stone Bros, and theatre productions Black is the New White, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and The Sapphires.
Kylie’s directing credits include Fist of Fury Noongar Daa for Perth Festival and Boomerang and Spear, Hecate for Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company in association with Bell Shakespeare, Don’t Ask What the Bird Look Like at Queensland Theatre for Queensland Premier’s Drama Award and Windmill Baby as ‘Associate Artist’ at Belvoir Street Theatre. She served as assistant director on The Business (Belvoir Street Theatre) and Beautiful One Day (Ilbijerri and Belvoir Street Theatre). She recently directed a series of videos for Perth Festival, two Noongar language versions of animated series Little J & Big Cuz, as well as the Mayakeniny Noongar language webisode series.
Passionate about language revival, Kylie integral in developing the aforementioned innovative works completely in Noongar language, including the reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth titled Hecate, two re-voiced episodes of the award-winning animation series Little J & Big Cuz, and most recently Fist of Fury Noongar Daa, the first feature film to be dubbed in an Australian language.
Ian Moopa Wilkes – Artistic Associate
‘I have been involved with many previous Festivals as a performer,’ Ian said. ‘I am now incredibly excited to share my experiences with everyone by being a part of the Festival team. Woolah!’
Ian 'Moopa' Wilkes joins the Festival as Artistic Associate and a proud Noongar man of the Wadjuk and Balladong people. A performer, writer and director, Ian is creating new work and giving advice and support to the Festival on First Nations programming together with Kylie Bracknell (Kaarljilba Kaardn).
Ian is a Noongar theatre-maker, dancer and performer. Current credits include co-writer and lead performer in Galup and artistic associate for WAYTCO’s Beside, both for Perth Festival 2021, and co-director of York for Black Swan Theatre. In 2021, Ian won the Perth NAIDOC award for Artist of the Year.
He has directed several plays including Yirra Yaakin’s Boodjar Kaatijin, Hobo and Songbird for the Blueroom Theatre, and has helped devise and create many others. He has performed numerous roles including in Yirra Yaakin's Hecate and Ochre’s Kwongan for Perth Festival, CO3’s The Line at State Theatre WA and Honey Spot at the Sydney Opera House. Ian is also a regular performer in the long running WA show Binjareb Pinjarra and a founding facilitator of Culture 2.0, Yirra Yaakin's regional youth engagement program. He was a facilitating artist on Community Arts Network’s Burdiya Mob project and a performer and Cultural Consultant on Beyond Empathy’s Excursions Project.
He also teaches traditional and contemporary dance to the younger generation by combining his knowledge of culture, theatre and performance.
Gillian O’Shaughnessy – Program Associate: Writers Weekend
Journalist, broadcaster, author and regular Perth Festival guest facilitator Gillian O'Shaughnessy has come aboard as our special Writers Weekend programmer. Gillian is working together with Sisonke Msimang as we begin an exciting new chapter for our much-loved Literature & Ideas Program. For 2022, Gillian is programming the Writers Weekend.
Gillian trained as a journalist at the ABC in Perth and spent 25 years with the National Broadcaster as a presenter, reporter, broadcaster and editor, working across television, radio and digital news. She hosted the Afternoon Show on ABC Local Radio Perth and WA between 2010 and 2020.
Gillian has been facilitating conversations with a huge range of authors, storytellers and public figures for many years. She is an obsessive reader, and an award-winning author of short fiction, with work published in anthologies internationally. Gillian is a submissions editor for the US short fiction journal, SmokeLong Quarterly and a board member of the Western Australian independent publisher, Night Parrot Press. She lives in Fremantle with her husband, their aging Labrador and a house full of books.
‘I am thrilled to be joining Iain Grandage and the team at Perth Festival, and particularly excited to be working alongside the brilliant Sisonke Msimang,’ Gillian said. ‘Western Australia has such a vibrant and engaged literary community, and it’s a huge honour for me to curate a program to reflect and celebrate our love of words and the many connections they create and inspire.’
Sisonke Msimang – Curator, Ideas
Sisonke joined Perth Festival as Curator of the 2020 Literature & Ideas Program. For 2022, Sisonke is focusing on a special Day of Ideas program while researching and writing her latest book.
Known for her works on race, gender and democracy, she has authored two books - Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home (Text Publishing, 2018) and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela (Text Publishing, 2019). In 2021, she won the $60,000 Western Australian Writer's Fellowship as part of the Premier's Book Awards. Using the Fellowship, she is writing a novel tracing the stories of three African and Indian-heritage families who settle in Perth in the 1970s, exploring 50 years of change in Australian multiculturalism.
Sisonke makes regular appearances on news program like The Drum, Q&A and SBS’ Insight, and has written for The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Bloomberg, and Al Jazeera. Since moving to Perth in 2014, she has worked with dozens of Western Australian storytellers through her on-going work as the head of Storytelling at the Centre for Stories in Northbridge.
Gemma Weston – Program Associate: Visual Arts
Gemma joined Perth Festival in 2019 after six years as the Curator of the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art (CCWA) at the University of Western Australia's Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery where she contributed to an annual program of exhibitions. Gemma also maintains an independent curatorial practice, co-founding the experimental art spaces Pet Projects (Bayswater, WA, 2015 - 2017) and OK Gallery (Northbridge, WA, 2011 -13), and was invited to participate in the Australia Council's Professional Development Program at the 2013 Venice Biennale.
She publishes regularly on contemporary art, contributing essays and reviews to publications including Artlink, Frieze, un Magazine and Garland Magazine, and catalogue essays for local, national and international exhibitions, including projects at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Maison Louis Carré, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, France. Gemma occasionally exhibits and publishes creative work as Gemma Watson.
Tom Supple – Program Associate: Contemporary Music
‘It’s an honour to join such a talented and vibrant festival team,’ Tom said. ‘Western Australian artists contribute such an important perspective to the national conversation. I’m incredibly excited about working with a broad spectrum of local voices and creating connections with International artists once borders reopen.’
Leading Australian music curator and artistThomas Supple joins the Festival as our contemporary music programmer. Currently also Music Curator for Vivid at Carriageworks, Tom has an exhilarating line-up of musical talent in store for us.
Tom is an artist and curator working across contemporary music, installation and sound. Tom has curated programs for Mona Foma, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne International Jazz Festival. He has been Senior Music Curator for Dark Mofo since the Tasmanian festival’s inception in 2013. His programming highlights there include world-premiere performances from Nicolas Jaar (Against All Logic) and Antony & The Johnsons and Australian premieres from FKA Twigs, Jonsi & Alex, Einstürzende Neubauten, St Vincent and Tanya Tagaq. Tom has also contributed to the Dark Mofo visual arts program with Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang’s Chalkroom and American artist Matthew Schreiber’s monumental commission Leviathan.
As an artist, Thomas has collaborated regularly with fellow Melbourne-based artists Hannah Fox and Byron Scullin. At the 2018 Perth Festival, the group presented Siren Song, a large-scale, outdoor sonic artwork that fills the skies of a city.
Tom Vincent – Program Associate: Film
Tom is a curator and creative producer who specialises in cinema. Formerly a club promoter and school and university tutor, Tom has been working with film, media and art institutions in the UK and Australia since 2006.
He is motivated by ideas in art and for audiences, and most enjoy the chance to influence the places he works through art and new collaborations. He has lived in Dorset, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Liverpool, Nottingham and Tokyo, and since 2014 in Perth.
Keen to see the program?
Key announcement dates below...
4 November 2021 Lotterywest Films program live! Tickets on sale
15 November 2021 Perth Festival 2022 program live! Tickets on sale to Friends members
22 November 2021 General tickets on sale for all Lotterywest Films opening night