Tue, Aug 21


Brisbane Festival’s massive 2018 program is here

Music opens and closes this year’s Brisbane Festival, and what comes in-between will unfold in true theatrical fashion: three themed acts spread across three weeks. Here is what you can expect at the 2018 Brisbane Festival.

It’s impossible to escape the arts in September – and the forthcoming Brisbane Festival has more than 100 free events to draw the whole city into its clutch. Those free events are among a program of 600 performances, involving 1,000 artists.

Headlining the festival are eight premieres, and a new light and laser show that will illuminate the Brisbane River each night of the festival from 8–22 September.

It’s a lot to take in, so for the first time the festival has split the program into three themed acts; one for each week of the festival:

  • Act One: Home, memory and gender
  • Act Two: Individual against the giant forces of nature, fate and society
  • Act Three: A fierce and fun finale

“Each act has its own explosion of story, and each opens a window to the world that will entertain and enlighten,” says the festival’s artistic director David Berthold.

This announcement comes after a teaser of four acts was released earlier this year. The full kaleidoscopic program takes in music, theatre, installations, circus, dance, opera and opera – all of which push the boundaries of their respective genres.

Here is a selection of the key highlights


This warm and life-affirming production makes its Australian debut at the festival. An empty stage is cleverly transformed into a home, and its inhabitants highlight the hilarity of daily life.

Swedish director and film aficionado Jakop Ahlbom pays homage to the horror film. The show is a terrifying nightmare that unravels on stage, lightened by farce.

En Masse
Circa presents its latest world premiere – a show that explores the extremes of humanity and is set to Schubert’s Winter’s Journey, Swan Song and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

-- MUSIC --

Peter Grimes
Just two semi-staged concerts of this opera for our times will take place at the festival. Australian tenor Stuart Skelton takes up the title role, with evocative music from Queensland Symphony Orchestra the Opera Queensland Chorus.

Eskimo Joe In Concert With Camerata
Indie rock meets orchestra. Eskimo Joe and Camerata will perform highlights of the band’s catalogue, including ‘From the Sea’, ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ and ‘Foreign Land’.

Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project
This concert is a cross-generational cultural celebration that will see Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project joined by fellow Indigenous singer-songwriters and emerging Yolngu singers. Classic hits and brand new material will be given an electronic twist.

Opening and Closing Nights
This year the festival starts and ends with music festivities. Ball Park Music, San Cisco, Ruby Fields and Tia Gostelow will open the festival, while the Closing Party will see Violent Soho, Meg Mac, Methyl Ethel and WAAX perform.


Dancenorth’s deep and daring world premiere explores how we sculpt our own existence.

Rhonda Burchmore: Bang Bang
This sassy performance features Rob Mills, pop mash-ups, confetti, men in heels and girls in jocks.

Life: The Show
The ever-popular BLANC de BLANC and LIMBO UNHINGED team returns with a joyful new celebration. Another of the festival's world premiere's, this show features circus antics, live jazz vocals and all-out anarchy. 

-- FREE --

Sunsuper Riverfire
Now in its 21st year, Riverfire will unravel to a soundtrack inspired by sci-fiction and superheroes.

#CelebrateBrisbane River of Light
This year’s nightly show has been taken up a notch. Expect an artistic water fountain at the centre of a light and laser spectacular – all of which tells the story of the water serpent that became the lifeblood of the Brisbane River.

Symphony For Me
Members of the public will select their favourite piece of orchestral music and share their connection to that music on stage, before Queensland Symphony Orchestra brings the piece to life.

More updates will follow as September draws closer. Subscribe below to hear about more Brisbane Festival news!


Brisbane Festival
8–29 September
More information


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