Sydney Festival

Sydney Festival
The annual culture celebration Sydney Festival returns to transform the city from January 6-28. MiNDFOOD chats to Wesley Enoch, Sydney Festival Director

How are you feeling about the 2018 program?

Good and nervous, last year was such a huge success I just hope this year lives up to it. Let’s find out. The festival needs to be a festival of its time, it needs to reflect what is going on in the world and I think we’ve done that really well. I think there are a lot of questions in the world. The festival has to be a platform where you have fun, but also explore the big ideas.

What are some of the themes coming through?

We look at lots of ideas such as: the balance between science and faith; overconsumption, and its environmental impact; the feminist position; and Indigenous story-telling.

What’s your pick for the Festival?

Probably Tree of Codes. Jamie XX [electronic composer], Wayne McGregor [choreographer] and Olafur Eliasson [installation artist] – you can’t get three more interesting artists together.. There’s also little shows like The Wider Earth, which will be beautiful. There’s a show called Barber Shop Chronicles which will be a huge celebration. There’s so many things that will be amazing.

What’s your process putting the program together?

Some Directors start with a theme but I’m not like that. I listen to people a lot, people talk to me about what’s interesting in the country and the world and then I start to see connections between things. I think artists by their very nature have an osmotic relationship with the community. We are like the canaries in the coal mine. We listen to things and we are predicting what will be important in the future.

What was the main surprise you stumbled across?

There’s always something. There’s an amazing show from Canada called The Daisy Theatre which are these marionettes. Puppeteer Ronnie Burkett is amazing. He uses marionettes to talk about the politics of the day. It’s really smart and interesting. There’s another wonderful show that Gotye is doing about the music pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey.

What’s the best way to approach the program?

I don’t expect everyone to see everything. In fact, I think it would be physically impossible. People need to look at what excites them. I think it’s good if people can take a risk.

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