Winter in Darwin averages anywhere between 21.6– 31.8°C maintaining 60-65% humidity thanks to its tropical dry and wet seasons. It explains why it is one of the popular destinations for domestic travel. “In 2018, one in five of the 105,000 attendees originated from interstate or overseas.” says Darwin Festival Chair, Ian Kew. Woking closely with Tourism NT, their focus will be in re-enforcing the city and its annual festival as a destination for its interstate neighbours, describing it as “NT’s best-kept secret”.
This year’s annual Darwin Festival (Thursday 8 – Sunday 25 August) marks its 40th Anniversary. A longstanding tradition that was born from the Christmas morning destruction left behind by Category 4 Cyclone Tracy in 1977 that brought the community together to inspire, reflect on those lost and continue the rebuild. 68 were killed, while 25,000 were left homeless.
18 hot August nights sees an extrodinary run of cabaret, theatre, comedy, dance, visual arts, words and ideas, music and family fun:
Darwin loves a Spiegeltent, and this year the masterminds behind 2017’s sell-out success Blanc de Blanc are back with a brand-new show. Head to all-new The Victoria Spiegeltent for a glitzy and glamorous party of Gatsby-esque proportions. From aerial acrobatics to captivating cabaret and burlesque, Blanc de Blanc Encore promises a sexy champagne-soaked world filled with big moves, great tunes and more than a few surprises.
From Australia’s leading physical theatre company Legs on the Wall and co-commissioned by Darwin Festival, Man with the Iron Neck is a stirring piece of theatre that seamlessly interweaves extraordinary aerial and physical skills with evocative visuals and a beautifully written narrative to tell a daring and delicate story of survival.
Experience a very different circus show when Cambodia’s premier troupe Phare Circus present their award-winning Eclipse. Based on traditional Cambodian folktales, Eclipse combines a dramatic mix of theatre, classical Cambodian Apsara dance and thrilling acrobatics all set to a live original music score.
For some family fun, Air Race is an action-packed adventure inspired by the amazing true story of the 1919 Air Race from London to Darwin. With incredible moving sets and live music, Air Race is theatre for young people, made all the more poignant by this year’s centenary anniversary of the race ending on Darwin shores.
The master of ABC’s Hard Chat and Hard Quiz, Tom Gleeson is coming to Darwin for a gut-busting night of stand-up. He’s performed at every major comedy festival in the world and, with three Helpmann nominations under his belt, Gleeson is a killer comedian at the top his game, so get ready to giggle!
Kicking off the Festival’s music program is the enigmatic Mojo Juju. This killer vocalist, songwriter and musician has been making huge waves with her latest album Native Tongue and returns to Darwin with her powerful mix of the personal and political for one incredible live show at The Lighthouse.
Filled with gorgeous music, Opera Australia is back in Darwin, this time transporting audiences to the exotic sights and sounds of Japan with Puccini’s famous opera Madama Butterfly.
It’s the year for significant birthdays with our own Darwin Symphony Orchestra getting festive for their 30th Anniversary Gala. A program of three very different compositions feature in this musical night to remember, including Sibelius’ rousing Finlandia followed by a world premiere from celebrated Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth commissioned especially for the 30th anniversary and designed to reflect the spirit of the Territory.
Bangarra Dance Theatre is also celebrating its 30th anniversary with Bangarra: 30 years of sixty five thousand, a diverse program of three contemporary works each displaying Bangarra’s trademark passionate storytelling, rich artistry and deep community connections.
The much-loved Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair celebrates its 13th year with art from more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community art centres, and an exciting program of traditional dance, workshops, film, music and the Fair’s fashion show From Country to Couture. This year, Melbourne fashion label Gorman has collaborated with Mangkaja Arts Collection to showcase 40 looks featuring the artwork of artists from Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia at DAAF.
“Darwin loves a party and this year we promise to deliver the party to end all parties!”says Darwin Festival Artistic Director, Felix Preval.
Credit: D. Preston