Spectrum Now Festival launches its 16 day program at Opera Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now Festival held its launch party at Opera Australia on Thursday 4 February 2016 .

The Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now Festival presented by ANZ, one of Sydney’s most diverse cultural events, today announced its 16-day program, with ticket sales now open to more than one hundred unexpected experiences across Sydney. From a playful large-scale wall painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a massive music line-up at The Domain to opera and high tea at a boutique hotel, the Festival is set to spotlight the city’s creative heart and soul through four festival categories of art, music, stage and talks.

Spectrum Now Festival @ The Domain, the festival’s central hub, invites Sydneysiders to spend 11 memorable summer evenings drinking and eating with free entertainment including burlesque dancers, fire breathers, feathered showgirls and free live music alongside a ticketed Big Top venue. Visit sideshow alley for the chance to get inked by award-winning tattoo artist Leslie Rice at an LDF Pop-Up Tattoo Parlour, or get a haircut by Sydney’s favourite retro barber Tony Vacher whilst listening to ragtime bands on the back of a 1960s Dodge truck.

From March 3 to 13, an immense line-up of ticketed music events will fill The Big Top @ The Domain, curated by Paul Piticco and Jessica Ducrou, the promoters of the iconic Splendour in the Grass and Falls Music & Arts Festival. The Big Top, a bespoke undercover construction created for the first time in 2016, will host a selection of all-time favourite artists, from local to international talent. The full line-up of artists performing in the Big Top @ The Domain include: Hot Dub Time Machine; Missy Higgins; The Jesus and Mary Chain (UK); Birds of Tokyo; Calexico (USA); Augie March; RocKwiz Live; Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Seekae; U.S Girls (USA); Alvvays (CAN) and Jonathan Boulet.

Del Kathryn Barton, a Spectrum Now Festival creative ambassadors, widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading figurative painters of her generation, created an exclusive artwork for the 2016 Spectrum Now Festival program cover, titled Cosmic Crime. Commenting on her inspiration for the cover, Del Barton says: “The figurative narratives in my work began in my childhood from a desire to tangibly manifest fantasy beings. For the program cover, I think I was trying to conjure encounters with my fairy and unicorn friends.”

Travelling across the world from Burning Man and Coachella, artist Robert Bose will transform the Sydney skyline with the Australian debut of his Balloon Chain, an eye-catching installation being created in The Domain, featuring a floating helium sculpture made from dozens of latex balloons. Creating a landmark on the horizon throughout the Festival, the sculpture will morph into a striking celebration of Mardi Gras on 5 March when it becomes The Rainbow Chain. The Domain will provide a place for families and parade goers to be entertained on their way to celebrate the parade.

2016 Festival Director Caroline Kemp says: “In 2016 we’re shaking things up with a complete redesign of our beating heart, Spectrum Now Festival @ The Domain. Inspired by European town squares where all corners of the village come together to party and celebrate, my wish is for families,

Western Sydney artist Tom Polo will be at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for Painting Live: Tom Polo, creating a dynamic and playful large-scale wall painting, taking over the Gallery’s entrance court during the Spectrum Now Festival. This spectacular project unfolds entirely onsite, each day, over two weeks. Visitors to the Gallery can watch Polo’s unique creative process, engage with the artist, and see the work transform from beginning to end.

Polo comments: “Taking its cues from daily walks throughout the Art Gallery of New South Wales building, the content for my wall painting will be conceived entirely on site, changing and developing daily during Spectrum Now. It’s on these walks around the galleries that I’m aiming to collect something additional each time: a historical reference, a detail of gallery architecture, a specific colour or shape, the expression of figure in a portrait, a snippet of banal conversation between visitors, an overheard opinion about a work in the galleries, a greeting with a member of staff, an encounter with a curious visitor.”

Two highlights of the 2015 inaugural Festival talks program, Pillow Talk and Cultural Crush, return in 2016. Presented over four heated nights at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the audience is invited to experience a healthy mix of stimulating and provocative conversations.

Pillow Talk delves into the intimate and personal lives of Australia’s leading creative couples, and on March 6 and 16 at the Art Gallery of NSW will feature: David and Kristin Williamson; David and Lisa Campbell; Rob Carlton and Adrienne Ferreira; Richard Tognetti and Satu Vänskä; Max Cullen and Margarita Georiadis; along with Dan Wyllie and Shannon Murphy.

Cultural Crush invites pre-eminent journalists to cross-examine their dream subject in front of a live audience, kicking off on March 9 with award-winning investigative journalist Kate McClymont putting renowned Australian film director Bruce Beresford under the spotlight, while journalist, columnist and screenwriter Benjamin Law will interview award-winning journalist, author and anchor of the ABC’s 7:30pm program, Leigh Sales. Continuing on March 14 Sydney Morning Herald columnist and ABC Drive show host Richard Glover asks the big questions of Australian actress, playwright and screenwriter, Kate Mulvany, while Annabel Crabb, ABC’s chief online political writer, weekly Fairfax opinion columnist and author of the bestselling book The Wife, nuts it out with Australian writer Frank Moorhouse.

For the second year running, Spectrum Now Festival is presented by ANZ. ANZ has a long history of supporting arts in New South Wales, helping to bring to life a diverse range of programs that promote diversity and encourage creative expression. Catriona Noble, ANZ Managing Director Retail Distribution Australia comments: “Spectrum Now Festival encourages audiences to discover the breadth of talent on offer in Sydney and to engage with new experiences through music, art, theatre and thought-provoking conversations.

To complement this diverse program, we are excited to present the ANZ Blue Stage Series that will feature a lineup of events for undiscovered musicians to share their talent. Sydney-siders can enjoy pop-up performances from these artists at Martin Place, Pitt Street Mall and The Domain throughout the festival period.”

Other program highlights exclusive to Spectrum Now Festival:

– As part of the Talks program, Todd McKenny, Georgie Parker and Emma Palmer will reveal hilarious stories about their teenage years with Confessions of a Teenage Diary at Ensemble Theatre, followed by a Q&A on March 6 & March 8.

– Taking over on 7 March for a huge outdoor Broadway sing-a-long is the free Pop-Up Marie’s Crisis Broadway Sing-along, travelling all the way from its West Village roots in New York City. Partnering with Hayes Theatre Co., audiences are invited to star alongside some of Australia’s best musical theatre talent and sing their hearts out right in The Domain, while the Marie’s Crisis Festival Bar will be set up evenings from 1-10 March at Parlour Lane Roasters, QT Sydney.

– Tattersall’s Club, Hyde Park will play host to a night of conversations with barrister, writer, Archibald study and bon vivant Charles Waterstreet, with Charles Waterstreet Coversations on March 11.

– The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) presents a thought provoking panel conversation, titled ‘The Creative Future is Now!’ on March 4, in Woolloomooloo, focussed the booming creative industry and what this means for individual practitioners.

– Returning from a sold out event in 2015, Ken Done opens the doors to his studio in the Rocks on March 9, inviting guests to enjoy a cocktail and hear stories of his vibrant career.

– Sydney-based Mexican artist El Peque presents El Peque: Arte Urbano, at 107 Projects in Redfern, exploring the nexus of social and magic urban realism with a new body of work using paper, board and canvas.

– Returning after huge success in 2015, Harmony Park in Surry Hills will host Carousel, a curated event on March 12, showcasing the work of Sydney’s innovative creatives from food, fashion, art and music.

– Mindfullness & Music: The Vegas Nerve Experience, invites the audience to groove and de-stress, at the Coogee Diggers Club to live band The Vegas Nerve on March 6 and March 7.

– Pitt Street Uniting Church presents Dead Men Talking, a “war of words” staring Henry Lawson (Max Cullen) and Banjo Patterson (Warren Fahey).

In 2015, the Spectrum Now Festival attracted 100,000 people across over 200 exhibitions, gigs and events, under the direction of actor Richard Roxburgh.

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