Perth Festival

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Crowd at the Perth International Arts Festival Beck's Music Box, 2008

The Perth Festival (previously Perth International Arts Festival) is Australia's longest running cultural festival, held annually in Western Australia. The program features contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, opera, visual arts, large-scale public works, Lotterywest Film Festival and the Perth Writers Festival. The festival runs every year from February to March, the Lotterywest Film Festival runs from November to April, and the Perth Writers Festival occurs in February. The artistic director from 2016 to 2019 is Wendy Martin.[citation needed] The current executive director is Nathan Bennett.[citation needed]


Street performers, Quidams, waking through the crowd at the Perth International Arts Festival, South Perth Foreshore, March 2007

The festival was created in 1953 by the University of Western Australia, making it the oldest international arts festival in Australia,[1] and the oldest annual international multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphere.[2] Activities across the state include theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and literature.[3] Artists from around the world have participated in the festival.


The festival was founded by and has operated from the University of Western Australia Nedlands campus since 1953. The University of Western Australia further supports the festival through the provision of services and resources. Lotterywest has supported the festival financially since 1992.

The festival also relies on corporate sponsors and partnerships for funding, with new organisations becoming involved each year.[4]

Corporate partners

La Fura dels Baus display at the 2010 opening night
Driving into Walls dress-rehearsal, February 2012
Royal de Luxe: The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants to the Streets of Perth, 2015

The array of corporate partners changes each year, however some partners have committed to long term sponsorship of the festival. The partners are separated into six distinct groups:

  1. Partners
  2. Leadership partners
  3. Major Partners
  4. Public Funding Partners
  5. Trusts
  6. International Partners

Significant long term partners include Lotterywest and Wesfarmers.[5]

2012 festival

The 2012 festival was the 60th Perth International Arts Festival.[6] This year attracted 194,522 paid audience members and a total attendance figure of over 700,000.[7] The opening of the festival featured a 'DAWN:DUSK' opening, where hundreds of people gathered on Cottesloe Beach to watch vocalists and musicians.[8] The festival was held from 10 February to 4 March, and was the first year led by new artistic director, Jonathan Holloway.[9] A number of events sold out during this year's festival, including tickets to Bon Iver.[10]

2013 festival

The 2013 festival was held from 8 February to 2 March. With 750 artists, 820 events and 250 film screenings, it is the biggest yet.[11] This year marked the announcement of a new significant partner, Chevron Corporation. This partnership was recognised through the renaming of the Festival Gardens to Chevron Festival Gardens.[12]

At the 2012/2013 Lotterywest Film Festival, 26 films were screened, with the winner of the BHP Billiton audience award being The First Grader, directed by Justin Chadwick.[13] This year also featured sold out event, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who played at the Chevron City Gardens.

2014 festival

The 2014 festival was the 62nd Perth International Arts Festival held from 7 February until 1 March 2014.[14]

Writers' Festival

Earlier Perth Festivals had poetry and literature as a component of the larger festival. By the 1990s the Writers' Festival was titled and marketed separately.[15][16]

By the 2000s its status was raised to being well recognised by publishers from interstate and overseas.[17]

In the 2000s openers, keynote speakers and featured authors included notable writers from Australia and overseas, such as Germaine Greer and Hilary Mantel.[18][19]

Artistic directors

  • John Birman (1955–1974)
  • David Blenkinsop (1975–1999)
  • Sean Doran (2000–2003)
  • Lindy Hume (2004–2007)
  • Shelagh Magadza (2008–2011)
  • Jonathan Holloway (2012–2015)
  • Wendy Martin (2016–2019)

Festival venues

Venues for festival events have included:[20]


  1. ^ Hunter, Tim. "Perth Festival". Citysearch. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  2. ^ Wells, Kathryn. "Festivals in Australia". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  3. ^ Festival background Archived 25 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 22 March 2006.
  4. ^ "Corporate Partnerships". Perth International Arts Festival. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Corporate Partners". Perth International Arts Festival. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  6. ^ Holloway, Jonathan. "2012 Perth Festival". Perth International Arts Festival. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Events 2012 Western Australia" (PDF). Tourism WA. Retrieved 21 June 2014. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Lotterywest Festival Opening". Perth International Arts Festival. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  9. ^ "2012 Perth Arts Festival". Perth International Arts Festival. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Selling fast/ sold out". Perth International Arts Festival. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Perth Festival Wrap Release". Perth International Arts Festival. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Chevron International Partner Perth Festival 2013". Festivals Australia. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  13. ^ Brown, Miranda. "News". Perth International Arts Festival. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Perth Festival Launch Media Release" (PDF). Perth Festival. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  15. ^ Writers Festival (Perth, W.A.) (1990), Writers Festival programme, The Festival], retrieved 24 February 2019
  16. ^ Alcoa Perth Writers Festival (Perth, W.A.) (1990), Free programme, The Festival, retrieved 24 February 2019
  17. ^ "Perth Writers' Festival 2009", Bookseller + Publisher Magazine, 88 (5): 58, 2008, ISSN 1833-5403
  18. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Radio National (24 February 2012), Germaine Greer opens Perth Writers' Festival, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 24 February 2019
  19. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Radio National (25 February 2015), Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel at the 2015 Perth Writers Festival, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 24 February 2019
  20. ^ "Venues". Perth International Arts Festival. Retrieved 24 June 2014.

External links

  • Official website
  • Media related to Perth International Arts Festival at Wikimedia Commons

[[Category:Festivals in Western Australia

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