City transformed as Newcastle embraces New Annual festival

10 Feb 2021

Final preparations for the inaugural million-dollar New Annual festival are almost complete as City of Newcastle prepares to kick off its flagship cultural event this Friday.

With a massive pop-up installation known as The Hangar creating a theatrical-style carnival atmosphere in Civic Park and the Pavilion of Sand installation providing a base for indigenous cultural expression in Wheeler Place, Newcastle’s Civic precinct is putting on a new look for the 10-day event.

But it’s not just the city’s cultural heart undergoing a transformation for New Annual, with dozens of cultural shows to play their part throughout the city extending as far away as the Summerhill Waste Management Centre. Other locations include the Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle Museum, The Station, the Carriage Sheds at Foreshore Park, Miss Porter’s House, The Lock Up and Timeless Textiles.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said New Annual was a transformative, citywide event that would enhance Newcastle’s reputation as a hub of art and culture.

“After months of planning, it’s wonderful to see this amazing infrastructure taking shape,” Cr Nelmes said.

“By transforming well-known sites across Newcastle and using both traditional and non-traditional venues to deliver the artistic program, New Annual gives locals and visitors the opportunity to see the city in a new light as they discover new work, fresh perspectives and unexpected performance spaces.

“Over time the festival will grow to become a significant generator of cultural tourism, positioning Newcastle as an innovative and creative community with a vibrant cultural history, an amazing depth of talent within its performing and visual arts sector and a bright future as a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.”

New Annual provides a much-needed opportunity for local and touring artists to get back on stage and in front of audiences following COVID-19’s debilitating impact on the performing arts sector.

More than 100 visual and performing artists will take part in over 50 free and ticketed events during New Annual, which runs from 12 – 21 February. It will include dance, live music, art displays, exhibitions, presentations, talks, and activation events.

New Annual’s program has been designed with the flexibility to operate as a COVID-19 Safe event depending on Public Health Orders. To find out more visit