2022 opening event cancelled
Our large scale opening event 'Escape' has been cancelled
Perth Festival is set to return for 2022 but we are sorry to say that we won’t be proceeding with the large-scale opening event Escape due to uncertainty around the Omicron COVID-19 variant. We understand the cancellation of Escape will be immensely disappointing for our audiences and all the artists, staff, volunteers, partners and contractors who have worked on this event for many months.
The show will go on for our other incredible Perth Festival events and we stand ready to welcome audiences to our extraordinary celebration of culture and community in COVID-safe venues from 11 February to 6 March.
Throughout our other Perth Festival events, we will be implementing all COVID-safe requirements to protect our staff, artists and patrons. We remind everyone to get double-vaccinated (and a third dose when eligible), and to have their proof of vaccination and ID ready to present upon entry to applicable venues and events.
Escape was going to be a large-scale free community event across multiple sites at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach and Victoria Quay involving hundreds of artists, staff and volunteers. It was projected to attract tens of thousands of people across two nights to open Perth Festival on 11-12 February. Perth Festival has a WA Health-approved COVID-19 Safety Plan and has closely worked with State Government agencies in the planning for Escape for nearly a year.
The Festival has decided we cannot proceed with Escape because of the constantly changing risks around the spread of COVID-19, the large-scale nature of this event and its potential impact on our capacity to present Escape safely in such a large and open public space. These concerns include the challenge of checking vaccination status in the large footprint of the event area and the availability of staff, artists, volunteers and contractors due to potential illness or isolation.
Festival Executive Director Nathan Bennett said: ‘We have constantly adapted throughout this pandemic to maintain as many arts and events workers' jobs as possible and to be true to our notfor-profit purpose of improving life in Western Australia through art. ‘The Festival will be prioritising payment to our valued Escape artists, contractors and suppliers. We also are thankful for the leadership and support of the State Government, our Principal Partner Lotterywest, Founding Partner the University of Western Australia and all our valued partners and supporters who stand so firmly by our side as we continue to navigate the evolving challenges of this pandemic.’
Artistic Director Iain Grandage said: ‘So much has changed since Escape was programmed last year, and I’m heartbroken for all those who have put so much of themselves into what was going to be an extraordinary production. We are doing everything we can to support them while remaining hugely excited about the multitude of other chapters that make up our 2022 Festival.’
Perth Festival 2022 will celebrate the theme of Wardan (Ocean) this summer with an extensive program of brilliant world-premieres and stunningly reimagined venues across performance, visual arts, film and writing events.