Five-year investment secures long-term future for flagship New Annual festival

29 Nov 2023

City of Newcastle (CN) has reaffirmed its support for the region's creative arts industry, locking in a five-year commitment for the New Annual festival and opening expressions of interest for local artists.

Councillors voted at last night's Council meeting to expand the festival from a year-by-year event to one guaranteed to continue as the city's flagship art and culture event until at least 2028.

This will enable strategic long-term planning for the ongoing growth of New Annual, which attracted around 95,000 visitors and involved more than 1,500 visiting and local artists and performers during its first three years.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said New Annual will continue to develop as a significant cultural tourism attraction for Newcastle.

"Our vision is to see New Annual elevate Newcastle's reputation as a creative hub on the national and international stage," Cr Nelmes said.

"A five-year commitment provides the platform for securing high-profile collaborations, attracting renowned artists, and achieving national recognition.

"New Annual's significance extends beyond its support for the arts by strengthening our position as a cultural tourism destination, which in turn generates an economic boost for local businesses through longer stays and increased visitor spending."

CN is also calling for applications for New Annual's 'Made New' program, which provides an opportunity for local artists and those with a connection to Newcastle to become part of future festival programs.

Chair of CN's Community and Culture Advisory Committee Cr Carol Duncan said New Annual would continue to play an important role in celebrating the depth of talent in Newcastle’s cultural and arts sector.

"City of Newcastle is committed to supporting local artists and organisations through flagship events such as New Annual, which provide a high-profile platform to showcase their talents alongside leading national and internationally-renowned practitioners," Cr Duncan said.

"Local artists and performers accounted for more than 60 per cent of this year's programming, including the recipients of our 'Made New' program, who were supported by City of Newcastle to deliver sold-out productions across the 10-day festival.

"This included a stunning new dance production performed by Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub, an AI-driven interactive theatre experience by The Parallel Effect and the hilarious debut of Newcastle-based play, Spewy, by Novocastrian-born playwright Ang Collins.

"I look forward to seeing the performances produced under the next round of Made New funding, which will form part of the wider programming of local performers at New Annual."

Local artists working across interdisciplinary art forms, visual arts, dance, theatre, music, and multimedia are encouraged to submit an expression of interest before 5pm on 14 January, 2024.

The selected projects or works will be presented as part of New Annual 2024, which will be held from 27 September - 6 October, 2024, or New Annual 2025, which is scheduled for 26 September - 5 October, 2025. This flexibility is designed to support those with large-scale projects that may benefit from an extended development period.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news or submit an expression of interest for Made New, visit