September in Brisbane means two things: the arrival of spring and a flurry of festivals. As the season changes, the city is about to be swept into a kaleidoscopic frenzy of the arts that will end with bang come Riverfire. From music to international film and cabaret, here’s what’s on in Brisbane this month.
BIGSOUND Festival is an industry conference by day and live music hub by night. The festival prides itself on showcasing the future of Australian music, giving festival-goers a taste of the next big names in music. More than 150 artists will play at venues across Fortitude Valley over four nights, and it all wraps up with the Closing Party. Get ready by listening to the BIGSOUND Spotify playlist.
4–7 September across Fortitude Valley
Brisbane Writers Festival
Whether you’re a book lover, emerging writer or interested in contemporary social issues, Brisbane Writers Festival has a diverse line-up of talks to pique your interest. This year’s festival has been curated around the theme ‘what the world needs now’ and features talks that range from the future of fiction to a conversation with former You Am I frontman Tim Rogers and addresses by Geoffrey Robertson Q.C and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. See the key highlights in this curated guide.
6–9 September at State Library Queensland
Brisbane Festival (pictured) is our biggest annual arts event. And by big we mean 70 shows at 17 venues across 22 days. That stacks up to 600 performances in total; 100 of which are free. The program spans creative endeavours across music, cabaret, circus, music and art, adding a fresh rhythm to the beat of city life. See this overview of the program for more.
8–29 September across Brisbane
It has been five years since Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella revived the magic of this quintessential fairytale. And finally the production is returning to the stage this month. Drenched in whimsy, this classic ballet is a delight for anyone who believes in romance.
7–15 September at QPAC
From vikings and saga tales through to folk dancing, there’s a rich historic culture that unites Scandinavia. At this year’s Scandinavian Festival, you’ll be immersed in all that while feasting on cinnamon buns, Swedish meatballs and Norwegian waffles. And Scandinavian design hasn’t been overlooked, either, with fashion and design stalls popping up for the occasion.
9 September at Perry Park
Ben Quilty: Home
Archibald Prize-winning artist Ben Quilty is known for using his platform to raise awareness for human rights issues. He has worked as Australia’s official war artist, travelled to refugee front lines in Greece, Serbia and Lebanon, and for his latest project he has released a new book titled Home. The book is a collection of drawings by Syrian children, and it’s at once heartbreaking and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Quilty will join Sarah Kanowski in conversation to discuss the book.
14 September at Brisbane Powerhouse
Creative3 is a chance for creators to come together and debrief on life as a creative entrepreneur. Hear keynotes from industry game-changers including Canva co-founder Cameron Adams and speakers from the fields of fashion, design, entertainment and the arts, and leave with a renewed focus on your craft.
14 September at Moda Portside
SWELL Sculpture Festival
Add a dose of art into your first spring beach trip. SWELL Sculpture Festival will see Currumbin Beach transformed into an outdoor art gallery at the hands of sculptors from across the world. The striking seaside display will also feature artist talks, masterclasses and art workshops.
14–23 September at Currumbin Beach
Italian Film Festival
La dolce vita gives way to stark dramas and bumbling comedies at the Italian Film Festival. Back for another outing, the festival will transport you to Italy through the screen. The month-long program is dense with contemporary cinema as well as special events including a documentary on the elusive author Elena Ferrante and a screening of Love and Bullets – a musical comedy that took out five awards at the 2018 Italian Academy Awards, including Best Film.
19 September to 14 October at Palace Cinemas
Over 70 years, the Borodin Quartet has built a formidable reputation as one of the world’s greatest string quartets. Their famous sound comes to life in Brisbane this month, in a program of Shostakovich, Haydn, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
20 September at Queensland Conservatorium Theatre
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Get ready for the sassiest roadtrip that ever was. In this glittering production there are extravagant costumes and headpieces, songs including ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ‘I Will Survive’ – and there’s also an onstage appearance Home and Away’s Ray Meagher. The flamboyant season is part of the 10th anniversary tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
From 26 September at QPAC
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
It’s one of the world’s most prestigious photography competitions, and Wildlife Photographer of the Year is finally exhibiting in Brisbane for the first time. This touring exhibition presents 100 awe-inducing photographs that capture the majesty and vastness of the natural world.
Until 4 November at Brisbane Powerhouse
the churchie national emerging art prize
Discover emerging artists at the churchie national emerging art prize. This exhibition celebrates art in all its forms – from contemporary to traditional and new media genres – granting all emerging artists with a platform to showcase their work.
Until 4 November at QUT Art Museum
Life in Irons: Brisbane’s Convict Stories
There’s so much documented convict history from Botany Bay that it’s easy to forget Brisbane has its own convict past. Museum of Brisbane’s latest exhibition Life in Irons: Brisbane’s Convict Stories presents an account of what life was like for the 3,000 men and women imprisoned at the Moreton Bay penal colony. It features artefacts and documents such as The Book of Trials, which chronicles the crimes and related punishments from the time.
Until 28 October at Museum of Brisbane
Islands: hidden histories from Queensland islands
The idyllic island lifestyle is the focus of this exhibition at State Library of Queensland. Beyond their white sand beaches, many of Queensland’s islands have fascinating hidden histories that are unpacked in Islands: hidden histories from Queensland islands. The exhibition explores the stories of six Queensland islands with photographs, drawings, maps and objects from the State Library’s archives; learn more on the curator’s tour on 22 August.
Until 27 January, 2019 at State Library of Queensland
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