Full program unveiled one month out from inaugural New Annual festival

11 Jan 2021

An intimate art gallery performance by a renowned Australian musician, an augmented reality experience celebrating indigenous culture and a discussion on women in leadership with Australia’s first female Prime Minister feature in the second program announcement for City of Newcastle’s inaugural arts festival, New Annual.

With one month until the 10-day event kicks off on February 12, tickets have gone on sale and the full program has been revealed, with more than 50 events set to showcase over 100 visual and performing artists.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said New Annual provided an opportunity for locals and visitors to discover new work, new perspectives and new performance spaces across the city.

“New Annual represents Newcastle’s time to shine – through our local artists, through our city’s creative spaces and most importantly, through rich and engaging stories,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Supporting and delivering cultural and community programs, events and live music is key to progressing our vision of Newcastle as a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.

“The festival will feature local and visiting artists sharing music, dance, contemporary performance and visual art, showcasing our community’s journey of self-expression, resilience and recovery, and highlighting Newcastle’s identity as a creative hub with a vibrant cultural heritage.”

Highlights of the program include an event presented by Newcastle Writers Festival, which will see former Prime Minister Julia Gillard discuss her latest book and the lessons that can be learned from women leaders.

Fans of iconic Australian singer songwriter and lead singer of much-loved band Something For Kate, Paul Dempsey, will get to see him like never before during an up-close-and-personal performance at Newcastle Art Gallery, while a range of Indigenous cultural items at Newcastle Museum will be enhanced via an augmented reality experience incorporating music, narration, animation and storytelling.

Newcastle’s iconic Hazy Cosmic Jive recording studio will provide a musical showcase of homegrown talent, while various street art activations will bring key outdoor locations to life. An open artist studio trail featuring some of Newcastle’s most dynamic independent art spaces will also offer a hands-on insight into the creative processes of a visual artist.

These events complement major commissions from local artists and companies revealed during the first program announcement in October last year. Feature performances from Curious Legends and Catapult Choreographic Hub and pop-up venues and installations in Civic Park and Wheeler Place will showcase the best of Newcastle’s creative arts, while visiting artists like Feras Shaheen and Omega Ensemble will deliver a range of compelling works.

Cr Nelmes said New Annual has an eclectic and ambitious program designed to inspire, delight and encourage contemplation as it explores both light-hearted and more serious themes.

“New Annual is the catalyst for Newcastle’s cultural events sector to take centre stage alongside leading national events,” Cr Nelmes said.

“It will shine a spotlight on Newcastle’s reputation as a creative city where ambitious and accessible contemporary art and culture grow and thrive within a prosperous, diverse and resilient community.

“Over time the festival will grow to become a significant generator of cultural tourism, using arts and culture to share the city’s stories with the world.”

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 www.newannual.com.