New Annual delivering peak platform for arts and culture investment

01 Nov 2023

City of Newcastle's flagship arts and culture festival New Annual has cemented its place in the events calendar, attracting 95,000 visitors across its first three years.

The success of the festival was recognised during last night's Council meeting, with a Lord Mayoral Minute acknowledging New Annual's strong support for local artists and performers as part of the City's ongoing investment in the sector.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said New Annual marks a significant milestone in Newcastle’s growth and identity, demonstrating City of Newcastle’s commitment to the arts and ability to deliver large-scale, multi event festivals.

“During the past three years we've invested more than $3 million into developing and delivering our flagship festival as part of our wider commitment to arts and culture in our city, which we continue to proudly support through our range of grants and sponsorship programs," Cr Nelmes said.

"New Annual has become a catalyst for Newcastle’s cultural events sector to take centre stage alongside leading national events, cementing Newcastle as a creative city where exciting, ambitious and accessible contemporary art and culture grows and thrives.

"With local artists and performers accounting for more than 60 per cent of this year's programming, New Annual also provides a high-profile platform for Novocastrians to showcase their talents alongside leading national and internationally-renowned practitioners.

"We are thrilled that locals and visitors have firmly embraced New Annual, which continues to provide an important boost for Newcastle’s recovering creative arts and live music sectors."

Up to 1,500 visiting and local artists and performers have been involved in New Annual throughout its first three years, delivering a diverse program of dance, circus, visual art, music, and theatre that has proven incredibly popular with audiences across each festival.

This year's event included eight sold-out shows and seasons, including two captivating performances by world-renowned Circa Contemporary Circus within the iconic Christ Church Cathedral.

The program celebrated the depth of talent in Newcastle’s thriving cultural and arts sector, with City of Newcastle's 'Made New' expression of interest process delivering innovative productions and unexpected performance spaces.

This included the stunning new dance production Rhapsody, which was performed by Catapult Dance Choreographic Hub on the fifth floor of an inner-city car park, as well as a ground-breaking AI-driven interactive theatre experience by The Parallel Effect and the debut of hilarious Newcastle-based play, Spewy, by Novocastrian-born playwright Ang Collins at Earp Distilling Co.

"Thanks to New Annual's Made New initiative, I was finally given the opportunity to write this story for a professional festival platform, and to bring it to life with some of my favourite regional artists," Ms Collins said.

"I am so excited to see New Annual continue to invigorate my favourite harbour city and show the rest of the country the calibre of new work that we Novocastrians create."