Get your calendar ready for 2019 – these shows are going to add colour to it! From annual festivals to major new exhibitions and thought-provoking theatre, this is your guide to creative events in Brisbane as they're announced.
-- THEATRE + MUSICALS --
Single Asian Female
Michelle Law’s comedy returns for a second season. After premiering at La Boite in 2017, Single Asian Female picked up a sell-out season in Sydney last year, and now it’s back to continue tackling race and gender stereotypes in modern Australia.
16 February to 9 March at La Boite
Two opens QUT Garden Theatre’s 2019 season. The dramatic comedy by Jim Cartwright stars real-life married couple Kate Raison (A Country Practice) and Brian Meegan, proving that you never know what goes on behind closed doors.
1–2 March at QUT Gardens Theatre
The Book of Mormon
Get ready to cry-laugh. The news of The Book of Mormon’s arrival has been long awaited in Brisbane, and now it is finally here. The irreverent Broadway show will land at QPAC in March, after its year-long runs in Sydney and Melbourne.
16 March to 12 May to At QPAC
Can you see Les Misérables too many times? Given its monumental status in the realm of classics – and not to mention it is the world’s longest-running musical – it seems there really is no such thing as too much Les Misérables. So relive this epic tale again when Queensland Conservatorium presents its major production for 2019.
8–17 August at Conservatorium Theatre
-- FESTIVALS --
Lunar New Year
Welcome the Year of the Pig at the city’s Lunar New Year festivities. There will be Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese dances, cultural performances, firecrackers and workshops. This lively cultural celebration falls at the start of the month-long BrisAsia Festival.
9–10 February at Chinatown Mall
Brisbane Comedy Festival
Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” So seize the day at the 2019 Brisbane Comedy Festival, with acts ranging from Charlie Pickering to Felicity Ward, Ronny Chieng and local favourite Mel Buttle.
22 February to 24 March at Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane City Hall and SunPAC
World Science Festival
The World Science Festival will transform the cultural precinct in South Bank into an epicentre of wonder. Marvel at incredible demonstrations and workshops, and make breakthroughs of the mind at in-conversation events. World Science Festival is held annually in New York, and Queensland Museum Network has secured the rights to the Festival in the Asia Pacific until 2021.
20–24 March at South Bank
Love is … MELT Festival. Celebrating pride, humanity and rebellion in equal doses, this vibrant annual culture fest not only gives the LGBTIQ+ community a voice, it is also a reminder of just how important love is, regardless of the form it happens to take.
28 June to 7 July at Brisbane Powerhouse
Brisbane Writers Festival
From fact to fantasy, the written word inspires in so many ways. Whether you escape through books or use them to challenge yourself, you will find a talk to suit your literary persuasions when Brisbane Writers Festival returns for 2019.
5–8 September at State Library of Queensland
One of the country’s seminal music events and BIGSOUND will continue to celebrate Australian music in 2019. As well as being an industry conference, the festival is also your chance to take a four-day musical excursion as you hop between bars in Fortitude Valley.
3–6 September at Fortitude Valley
The annual arts bonanza of music, cabaret, circus and theatre returns again this year for 22 days across September. And, true to tradition, Brisbane Festival will wrap up in a glittering flurry of colour for Riverfire.
6–28 September across Brisbane
Brisbane International Film Festival
For films you cannot see anywhere else, Brisbane International Festival (BIFF) brings a curation of global cinema to our doorstep. The festival takes you on a deep dive into new cultures through more than 100 films and documentaries, together with guest panels. The festival found fresh direction in the hands of GOMA last year, and this is set to continue with the 2019 instalment.
3–13 October at GOMA
-- ART + DESIGN --
The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9)
GOMA’s signature art series is back. From Turkey to Hawaii and our own shores, the Asia Pacific Triennial series is a vast survey of contemporary art. Now showing for the ninth time, APT9 presents works that reimagine traditional practice and explores the diversity of nature, history and culture.
Until 28 April at GOMA
Local fashion designers Lydia Pearson and Pamela Easton became an important part of the Australian fashion landscape with their colourful label, Easton Pearson. After gifting their archive of more than 3,300 garments to Museum of Brisbane, this major exhibition now showcases the depth of their sartorial legacy.
Until 18 April at Museum of Brisbane
BRISBANE ART DESIGN
Known as BAD, BRISBANE ART DESIGN is a city-wide show of appreciation for our local creatives. Visual art and design will pop up in parks, laneways and studios, with a major exhibition at Museum of Brisbane forming the centrepiece of the event. The exhibition will feature everything from ceramics to robotics and performance art.
10–26 May across Brisbane
It has been more than a decade since a gallery presented a major survey of Ben Quilty’s work, but that is all set to change with the opening of this exhibition at GOMA. Quilty presents works from the artist’s time at the frontlines of war and the Syrian refugee crisis, together with intimate portraits and his revisions of the Australian landscape.
29 June to 13 October at GOMA
-- DANCE + CIRCUS --
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The Australian Ballet’s extravagant telling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (pictured) is a fusion of ballet, puppetry, eye-bending illusions and playful costumes. See the delightful madness unfold to compelling choreography and a live score by Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
25 February to 2 March at QPAC
This world-premiere production of Dangerous Liaisons between Queensland Ballet and Texas Ballet Theater takes you into the aristocratic world of late 18th-century France. With choreography by Liam Scarlett, this sultry tale of seduction and betrayal has been reimagined as a dramatic new ballet.
22 March to 6 April at QPAC
The Dinner Party
Throughout this piece by Expressions Dance Company, an elegant dinner party gives rise to manipulation, ambition, greed and jealously as a power play emerges between guests. The Dinner Party features Natalie Weir’s contemporary choreography and costumes by local designer Gail Sorronda.
10–18 May at QPAC
English Baroque with Circa
After the success of their first two collaborations – with their 2015 show scooping a Helpmann Award and their 2017 show selling out – Circa and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra are joining forces once again, in what is becoming a bi-annual tradition. English Baroque with Circa sees contemporary circus and enchanting English masque and theatre music unify for a dazzling parade of colour and movement.
21 May at QPAC
-- MUSIC --
Experience the vibrancy of global music with Silkroad Ensemble. Formed by star cellist Yo-Yo Ma, this collective of musicians pays homage to rich global artistic traditions from around the world. Soak up dozens of nationalities and instrumental disciplines in this special show.
7 March at QPAC
Queensland Symphony Orchestra is set to perform with hip-hop trio Thundamentals for this year’s WAVE performance. The collaboration will see Thundamentals’ new album I Love Songs reimagined in its entirety, as well as some of the band’s most loved hits from the past decade.
24 May at The Tivoli
This young French ensemble is charming the world with its effortless charisma. Nevermind revives the universal appeal of period music – and in this concert presented by Musica Viva, you will experience Bach, Telemann, Marais and more.
24 October at Conservatorium Theatre
Image: Photography by Jeff Busby