Coming full circle...Darwin Festival 2010

Darwin, 14 August Thirty one years since its inception, the Darwin Festival then entitled the Bougainvillea Festival has come full circle.

As can be expected, Darwin Festival 2010 will deliver a diverse program of events incorporating all genres for an August calendar culturally enriched by a multi-arts program that will appeal to a cross section of Darwin Festival’s ever supportive audience.  

However, the distinction this year according to Artistic Director Jo Duffy is that the Festival has returned to the people. “Thirty-one years ago this was a festival for the people of Darwin, and now thirty-one years on Darwin’s local artists and art makers have developed to such a high standard, nationally and internationally, that the festival has now returned to them”, says Jo Duffy.

GL Lead Female Dancer Tara Robertson with Geese

GL Lead Female Dancer Tara Robertson with Geese

Of the seventy-five different events appearing at this year’s festival forty-seven incorporate local artists and performers.  “In terms of programming the festival, we have on offer a plethora of quality performances in all art forms coming from within the NT cultural community. Coupled up with the fact there is a strong and enthusiastic audience who want to see stories from the NT on stage. I’m extremely pleased to be in the role of Artistic Director at this stage of the Festival’s life”, explains Jo, “The community spirit is remarkable”. 

Along side locals will be performances from Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Korea, France, India and of course from down south. Big names John Butler Trio, The Cat Empire, Tex Perkins and Tim Freedman to name a few will visit the Top End to strut their stuff.

The much loved [free] Santos Opening Concert held at The Amphitheatre will feature the 2008 sell-out sensation Liberty Songs, Emma Donovan and Dunganda Street Sounds who also can lay claim to this year’s Darwin Festival theme song.  AFL star Russell Robertson and guitarist Phil Cebrano make an appearance.

Igniting The Lighthouse, Tim Freedman will perform with Redfern rocker Perry Keyes, and later in the night local funksters Barry Brown and the GetDown will undoubtedly bring the house down.

Brown’s Mart Theatre will be delivering an even greater number of theatrical performances.   As usual Artistic Director Jo Duffy is committed to providing an intelligent level of engaging performance for children as much as for adults. One of the theatrical highlights for children [and adults] is The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik - Winner “Outstanding Solo Show” – 2009 New York Int’l Fringe [pg 12] and from Korea an emotionally compelling piece entitled When His Watch Stopped [pg 22].  After Hours at the Dinosaurs’ Museum [pg 24] is a must for all families, the mystery of behind the scenes after dark will be revealed to kids and the show will capture old and young alike.

Those seeking a good dose of immune boosting laughter will be pleased to know that former ROVE and The Glass House favourite Corinne Grant will perform early on in the Festival whilst  Peter Helliar the veteran of live comedy will visit and perform his laidback, outrageously effortless comedy in the final festival week. 

Wrong skin

Wrong skin

The stellar highlights this year are too many to write here. However, for the growing base of opera lovers is one performance only of the La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini (sung in English). For those with a penchant for dance is the highly anticipated Goose Lagoon, Wrong Skin and from Indonesia a stunning and highly acclaimed piece from contemporary dance company Nan Jombang [pg 36]. We urge you to take the program to the hammock and get to know it intimately. From David Helfgott, Belle du Berry and David Lewis [FR], Christa & Dick Hughes the father and daughter honky tonk cabaret team are sure to set tongues wagging as Christa a former lead in Machine Gun Fellatio verges on vulgar as her charming father elegantly tinkers on the piano, Five Elements incorporates traditional musicians from India with Australian Jazz greats. From quirky, intriguing shows such as Sideshow Superstars, The Tent, Head Full of Love and a live radio play performed by Mr Delvin Pinkus and the New Time Radio Orchestra, the program keeps on keeping on for all 18 days and nights. Darwin based photographer Glenn Campbell presents his second photographic exhibition entitled SHRINE, and all this along the visual arts component of the program and a collection of play-readings will keep everyone busy day and night. 

With a firm eye on providing a high level of cultural entertainment for all ages in the community Jo Duffy has put together a number of performances to capture youth attention. Silent Disco is back and a new concept pitched as a pedestrian-based event using iPods, mobile phones and the Darwin CBD / Waterfront En Route [pg 23] is presented by Melbourne and Darwin artists and is sure to provide you with an intriguing and unpredictable encounter with your city.

The Festival opens with a Welcome to Country by the Larrakia people and so it closes. But this time, [and for the first time] the highly regarded director Rhoda Roberts presents a new dance work entitled BodymARKS thanks to corporate citizens ConocoPhillips who present the [free] closing night event titled Wanga Mirak. This year the event is held on Mindil Beach. With the setting sun as the backdrop this ceremonial dance performance on a natural sandy dance ground is the perfect way to conclude this year’s Darwin Festival. 

Darwin Festival will be held between August 12 – 29th 2010. For further information please visit



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