(Front) Catapult Dance artistic director Cadi McCarthy with (rear L-R) musician Jacob Ridgeway, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Tantrum Youth Arts creative director Penelope Kentish and New Annual Senior Producer and Curator Adrian Burnett celebrate the launch of the 2022 New Annual program.
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NEW ANNUAL 2022: A colossus lineup of events to hit the city this September

Local performers and nationally renowned artists will come together in Newcastle this September for the 2022 New Annual festival.

The program, announced today, features a mix of free, ticketed and family-friendly events, headlined by the Van Gogh Alive exhibition which will take over Foreshore Park.

Other events on the lineup include 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 Central Coast Development Corporation.

“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,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“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.”

Dance performances, live music, theatre production, art exhibitions and Indigenous workshops will be hosted by a wide range of venues across the city over the festival including the Civic Theatre, 48 Watt Street, Babylon and Earp Distilling Co.

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.

To find out more about the festival and to purchase tickets visit newannual.com. And you can check out some of the festival highlights below.

NEW ANNUAL PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

VAN GOGH ALIVE

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.

THIS LAND

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.

RADIAL

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

‘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.

COLOSSUS

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 

‘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. 

TITAN ARUM

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.

EX MACHINA

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

‘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.