A Festival to crush cultural cringe

18 November 2020

Listen to Perth Festival Artistic Director Iain Grandage tell Nina Levy why he’s so excited to be presenting a local line-up in 2021.

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Iain Grandage has no qualms about 2021’s home-grown Festival program.

Though pandemic-related travel restrictions mean that the program won’t feature its usual helping of international and interstate talent, Perth Festival’s artistic director sees this not as a limitation but as an opportunity.

Iain Grandage stands in front of a tree
Iain Grandage. Photo: Jessica Wyld

“We can invest far more heavily in local artists … seizing the moment that the world pandemic has given us to present a Festival for, by and with the people of Perth,” he says. “It’s still an international arts festival; the quality of art being presented is of international standard.”

Though Grandage believes that Western Australia’s cultural cringe is a thing of the past, his hope is that this year’s Festival will extinguish any glowing embers of that concept. “This will be proof of that pudding, celebrating the fact that we are capable of creating an international arts festival,” he says.

Listen to Grandage talk to Nina Levy about some of the highlights of his 2021 Perth Festival line-up:

NB: In order to fit in with Iain Grandage’s tight schedule, this recording took place in an environment that wasn’t as silent as we would have liked… think of it as atmospheric! Our sound quality will be improving soon – we recently received a grant that will enable us to record using professional equipment and have recordings professionally edited.

At the time of this interview, WA had hard border closures with all states.

Want more? Nina Levy has shared her tips for this year’s Perth Festival. Read those in “Dipping into our home-grown Festival”

Show notes

Shows discussed in this podcast include (in order of mention):

Curated by Ali Bodycoat and Mace Francis, ‘The Jazz Line’ brings together ‘all the finest jazz musicians in WA’ to tell the history of jazz, says Iain Grandage. Photo: Supplied by Perth Festival.
  • MoveMoveMove, curated by Tyrone Earl Lraé Robinson
  • Feminism Has No Borders, by Steamworks Arts
  • Slow Burn, Together, by Emma Fishwick
  • Structural Dependency, by Brooke Leeder & Dancers
  • One & Many: A Chamber Music Series:
  • Shaun Lee-Chen with St George’s Cathedral Consort
  • Sara Macliver with Wind Quintet Plus
  • Whistleblower, by The Last Great Hunt
  • Dreams of Place by West Australian Symphony Orchestra & West Australian Youth Orchestra
  • Tim Minchin with West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Apart/Together
  • House by Dan Giovanni, Barking Gecko Theatre
  • Wild Things, Perth Festival takes over Perth Zoo
  • Koort, by Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse
  • The Jazz Line: A Journey Through Jazz History, curated by Ali Bodycoat and Mace Francis

Read more about these shows and the rest of the Perth Festival programme at

And read Nina’s Festival tips here.

Pictured top is Ella-Rose Trew in Emma Fishwick’s ‘Slow Burn, Together’. Photo: Emma Fishwick

‘The Truman Show’ meets ‘Escape Room’: The Last Great Hunt’s ‘Whistleblower’. Photo supplied by Perth Festival

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked for over a decade as an arts writer and critic. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. Nina was co-editor of Dance Australia magazine from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

Past Articles

  • Still sparkling in season three

    West Australian Ballet’s Nutcracker is on its third outing but it managed to win over an unwilling attendee, admits Nina Levy.

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  • Gala promises to be a people pleaser

    With a snappy program that is paced to suit our social media shaped attention spans, West Australian Ballet’s ‘Gala’ is designed for popular appeal, writes Nina Levy.

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