Vibrant program sets the scene for New Annual's return 

01 Aug 2022

With an exciting new program and the blockbuster Van Gogh Alive exhibition at Foreshore Park, City of Newcastle's flagship arts festival will return this September with a vibrant showcase of art, culture and creativity.

City of Newcastle has announced the program for its New Annual 2022, which will kick off with the opening of Van Gogh Alive on 22 September followed by an immersive festival of dance, music, theatre, visual arts and Indigenous workshops, with installations in the city’s cultural precinct until 2 October. As a major installation, Van Gogh Alive will extend beyond the New Annual festival, running to 23 October 2022.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said this year’s New Annual program is eclectic and ambitious and will be a drawcard to the city.

"We are thrilled to once again deliver this amazing arts and cultural event in September, which will allow locals and visitors to discover a new side of Newcastle as they witness the spirit and energy of our city and its creative community during the festival," Cr Nelmes said.

The New Annual 2022 program features local and nationally renowned artists delivering a mix of free, ticketed and family-friendly events. The breadth of the program is highlighted by its 14 headline acts including 'COLOSSUS', a contemporary dance performance created by internationally renowned Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake, 'This Land', a musical showcase of award-winning and acclaimed First Nations performers, and 'Radial', a fusion of film-making and improvised community performance presented by Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation.

City of Newcastle recently announced that the New Annual festival is bringing the immersive, multi-sensory experience of Van Gogh Alive to Newcastle's premier major events space, Foreshore Park. It will be presented in association with Andrew Kay Management in a specially designed 2,300-square-metre gallery known as The Grand Pavilion and run from the start of New Annual to 23 October.

Other areas of the city will also be transformed with installations as part of New Annual such as a purpose-built stage in Civic Park and the architecturally-designed 'Pavilion of Sand' in Wheeler Place.

Cr Nelmes said City of Newcastle is proud of the success of the inaugural festival in February 2021 and the second event will be a major drawcard for the city

"The inaugural New Annual held in early 2021, was embraced by the Newcastle community. Our flagship cultural event provided an important economic boost across the arts, hospitality, and tourism sectors, while also celebrating and showcasing our creative city," Cr Nelmes said.

The 2021 New Annual attracted over 30,000 people, supporting more than 500 artists and 250 event staff, crew, and volunteers, as well as a strong increase in occupancy rates and revenue among local accommodation providers.

The full New Annual program and ticket sales are available online now at

New Annual Program Preview


The immersive, multi-sensory experience of Van Gogh Alive will held at Newcastle's premier major events space, Foreshore Park. It will be presented in a specially designed 2,300-square-metre gallery known as The Grand Pavilion. Van Gogh will remain in Newcastle for six weeks, extending beyond the New Annual Festival to 23 October 2022. General public tickets for Van Gogh Alive will go on sale from 4 August.


Unite with friends and family to celebrate the return of 'This Land', a First Nations celebration of the sound, soul, and spirit of the many nations in this country. The musical showcase will highlight a handful of award-winning and acclaimed First Nations music artists who are shaping the voices of the next generation.


A fusion of film-making and improvised community performance, ‘Radial’ is a collaborative process designed to capture a portrait of a community in motion. A partnership between City of Newcastle, Tantrum Youth Arts and Back to Back Theatre, 'Radial' will be filmed at several Newcastle locations during New Annual using a special circular camera track, culminating in a public screening on the final day of the festival at the Civic Theatre.


'CREATION' is a major exhibition of artist Deborah Kelly’s work at The Lock Up accompanied by a series of free public workshops in costume-making, song, and dance. Working with local artists, choirs, and dancers, the workshops lead to a spectacular procession and concert at the City Hall showcasing the songs of CREATION.


A contemporary dance performance created by internationally renowned Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake. The exhilarating performance features riveting, and hypnotic dance work performed by Sydney Dance Company's pre-professional and local dance artists, which explores relationships between the individual and the collective, with a cast of 50 performing as one on the Civic Theatre stage


'Pavilion of Sand' will return with an architecturally designed, modern art installation reflecting Newcastle's historic sand dune topography. The Pavilion of Sand will transform Wheeler Place into a visually spectacular space that will connect the city to the Awabakal and Worimi cultures with a range of First Nations-led programming including live music, weaving, workshops, conversation, dance, and reflection.


Justin Shoulder’s TITAN ARUM ignites your imagination with this exotic performance in a landscape both familiar and alien. A sensory ceremony of dance, light and sound in a communal garden with hanging fruits and carnivorous plants, the immersive installation work will be activated with live performances throughout the festival at 164 Hunter St.


Hailed as one of Australia’s most exciting and forward-thinking ensembles, Omega Ensemble performs a thrilling program of complex and driving music from important contemporary voices including Bryce Dessner, Missy Mazzoli, Alex Turley, and with two exciting world premieres from Nico Muhly and Christopher Cerrone. This special presentation departs from the traditional concert hall and arrives at Newcastle Museum for a stellar performance in front of the prized 150-year-old steam locomotive.


'Menagerie' is a new, interactive community performance from Curious Legends. Across four workshops, festival-goers of all ages will help create a large-scale giant illuminated puppet, culminating in a community celebration on the last day of the festival. Participants of 'Well', a separate event on the program aimed at children aged 6-11, will also work on a cumulative artwork that will form part of Menagerie's Gentle Giant.