ABR Arts Festivals

Light and The Dark Master

Ben Brooker
Wednesday, 06 November 2019

At a time of increasingly bellicose nationalism and ever-proliferating flashpoints of contested history, it’s no surprise to find multiple works at this year’s OzAsia Festival exploring, and in some cases provoking, these global fault-lines. Light (★★☆), a collaboration between writer Thomas Henning of Melbourne’s Black Lung Theatre and Malaysian producer–designer collective TerryandTheCuz, takes as its point of departure the lives of Francis Light and his son William, the first surveyor-general of South Australia. The history books tell us that in 1786 Francis laid claim to the island of Penang on the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and that, fifty years later, William set out his plan for the city of Adelaide: a grid of wide streets and large public squares ringed by parklands. Less than three years later, William was dead from tuberculosis, the bulk of his papers and possessions having been destroyed in a fire at his North Terrace office.  

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2019 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 12 June 2019

In 1959, Miles Davis entered Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York, with his sextet, and recorded what many consider to be the greatest jazz album of all time: Kind of Blue. It was an inspired idea to program a performance of this music, in celebration of the album’s sixtieth anniversary, at the twenty-second Melbourne International Jazz Festival ...

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The Stonnington Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 21 May 2019

It was a bold move by Stonnington Jazz to program an all-female/non-binary performance for the Festival’s opening concert: War Cry. Jazz, like much else, has come in for its fair share of criticism in the #MeToo era, its historical icons – bar a few exceptions – made up mostly of male musicians ...

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2018 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

Des Cowley
Monday, 12 November 2018

Now in its twenty-ninth year, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues continues to deliver programming that is innovative, ambitious, and far-reaching. That a long-running Festival of this scale and significance takes place annually in a regional Victorian city says much about the tenacity and dedication of the Festival’s artistic team ...

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2018 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Thursday, 14 June 2018

One of the key issues addressed by the twenty-first Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) is the role of women in jazz. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there has been much debate around gender equality in jazz, including inevitable references to jazz as a ‘boys’ club’. While there has never been a shortage ...

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2017 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues

Des Cowley
Wednesday, 08 November 2017

It was always going to be a risky decision. Earlier this year, the Board of the Wangaratta Festival dispensed with the services of Adrian Jackson, the artistic director who shaped the style and content of the Festival since its inception in 1990. In recent years, a combination of reduced funding and unfortunate weather conditions led to ...

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2017 Melbourne Festival

Dilan Gunawardana
Monday, 23 October 2017

In his introduction to this year’s Melbourne Festival, Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway emphasised the need for people to step away from the hateful invective festering in public discourse and to note the bigger picture of humanity’s journey. ‘The last couple of years – globally – have not been our best’, he says in ...

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Dark Mofo 2017 (MONA)

Dilan Gunawardana
Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Every winter for the last few years, Hobart has soaked itself in a shade of deep red and invited a mass of bodies to cavort and feast on its flesh for MONA’s annual winter arts festival of ‘darkness, light, birth, death, and renewal’, Dark Mofo. Therefore, the performance by ...

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2017 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

Des Cowley
Monday, 19 June 2017

Marking its twentieth anniversary, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) had much to celebrate in 2017. I can vividly recall the first Festival in 1998, a weekend-long event attended by what seemed like a handful of us, moving in unison between city venues ...

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2016 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 08 November 2016

Ahead of this year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, Artistic Director Adrian Jackson acknowledged that while he had not intended to develop any specific theme for this year’s program, one had unwittingly emerged: the significant contribution of female musicians to jazz in this country ...

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