Perth: Australia’s hidden delight

While Perth, Western Australia may be the most isolated city in the world, it is not a desert arts and culturally speaking. The fantastic weather and great beach lifestyle provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor performances, screenings and exhibition while there are also many traditional venues for a love of theatre, opera or ballet.

While Perth, Western Australia may be the most isolated city in the world, it is not a desert arts and culturally speaking. The fantastic weather and great beach lifestyle provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor performances, screenings and exhibition while there are also many traditional venues for a love of theatre, opera or ballet.

During February and March each year the West Australian capital hosts the Perth International Arts Festival (www.perthfestival.com.au), the oldest annual international arts festival in the western hemisphere.

“Since its inception in 1953, the charter of the Festival has remained the same: to pursue excellence and to be cherished by the people of Western Australia. Each year we endeavour to uphold the legacy of this Festival but also to create three weeks in which all of us can ‘live a life less ordinary,” says Shelagh Magadza, Artistic Director of the festival.

The festival aims to bring the best of all genres of art to Perth with everything covered from theatre and dance, to film, music to street performance, visual arts to literature as well as providing many community and family events.

While in Perth, I got to enjoy an innovative dance and theatrical interpretation of Giselle. The Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre transports us to the fictional small Irish village of Ballyfeeny where it seems all but the innocent Giselle are lascivious and immoral. While this modern interpretation follows the basic two act formula of the original ballet, this is where the similarities end.

The content is overly adult, unnecessarily alienating many people but the dance and choreography is exquisite. The graveyard scene with the dancers swinging as ghosts of spurned women is one of the most memorable and haunting dance sequences in any production not least because countertenor Angelo Smimmo’s unforgettable voice drifts across the stage. Not as immediately engaging as some classics that have been reworked into a modern setting and story but what the story lacks is made up for in the choreography, dance, acting and singing of the talented cast.

If you wish to make the most of Perth’s great outdoors while indulging in the arts there are many great things that the festival has to offer. Sitting back amongst the pines at either the Somerville or Joondalup Pines outdoor cinemas is a magical experience.

Start the evening with a picnic on the lawn with a bottle of Margaret River’s finest wine – you can either bring your own or buy gourmet food and drink at the venues. There is a fabulous choice of top international films that play for a about a week at each cinema. But cinema is not the only outdoor treat with ballet in the outdoor quarry theatre and bands playing on the Swan River foreshore.

While not officially part of the Festival of Perth the fifth annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition (www.sculpturebythesea.com) was on at Cottesloe Beach during my stay Down Under. The beachfront was transformed into a gallery while the sculptors took full advantage of the natural surrounds to show their work in a much more organic and exciting manner. And how better to see an exhibition than in 33 degree heat where part way through you could wade into crystal clear water to cool off before seeing the rest of the art works.

With bags of natural beauty, silky white sandy beaches and near perfect weather, Perth has always had a lot to offer as a holiday destination. But those who thought they must visit old European or major capital cities for the best in art and culture will now find that their wish for a beach and cultural holiday is perfectly combined in the one destination.

BY BELINDA WANIS
Miss B

Miss B

Miss B is a Belle About Town who likes to bring a little bit of style into every aspect of her life. An experienced journalist with over a decade in the industry she turned to the web to fill a gap for tech-savvy stylish women who want the best life has to offer at their fingertips. She loves a decadent cocktail bar, a beautifully cut dress, the perfect pair of heels, quality over quantity and is partial to Asian-fusion food, enjoys holidaying in the sun and shopping breaks to New York. But her first love is of course London!

    



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