Features/What to SEE/Multi-arts

What to SEE: September gig guide

25 August 2022

Spring is exploding everywhere! We have picked out some fabulous arts events to satiate your creative energy this month.

Wondering what to SEE this September? Seesaw’s editor Rosalind Appleby picks out some of the highlights from WA’s busy spring arts scene.


An African American man wearing a jacket stares pensively upwards. Behind him figures are blurred in the background
Fires in the Mirror

Fires in the Mirror
8 – 14 September @ Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre

WAAPA’s 3rd Year Acting students are hitting the boards of the State Theatre Centre for their final production Fires in the Mirror. Anna Deavere Smith’s award-winning play recreates the simmering racial tension in New York which exploded into the Crown Heights riots after an African American boy was killed by a car in a rabbi’s motorcade and a Jewish (Australian) student was slain in retaliation. Smith distils interviews with Jewish and African American community members into a play of 29 monologues, portraying the complexity of racial and ethnic issues in America. The result is theatre that’s powerful and thought-provoking – and your last opportunity to see the 2022 acting cohort perform before they step out into the professional world.


A bush setting at twilight with FIrst Nations dancers in traditional dress and paint lit by footlights
Dadajaal Dance Company perform at the York Festival.

York Festival
24 September – 9 October

The much-loved annual York Festival features three weekends of arts, crafts, jazz, writers, comedy, dance, storytelling and theatre. Activities range from making damper to listening to music and learning how to letterpress. One experience that sounds utterly unique is the twilight performance Two Mountains Dreaming on 23 September. It brings together musicians Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, the Dadajaal Dance Company, composer Rachael Dease and lighting designer Andrew Portwine to tell the ancient Noongar story about two big hills in York: Walwalling and Wonborel. The ancient epic of love and loss, tradition and transgression has been handed down through the generations and will be presented for locals and visitors alike under the star-studded sky at Avon Park.


A group of enthused looking children sitting on beanbags have their hands raised as though to answer a question

Scribblers Festival Family Weekend
17-18 September @ Subiaco Arts Centre

This joyous annual weekend features a mix of free Storyteller Sessions, where you can sit back and listen to your favourite authors and artists talk about what inspires them and paid workshops, where you can get busy learning from the best. The addition this year of a Festival Marquee means the program is bigger than ever with writers, illustrators, visual storytellers, freestyle rap, word games, resident book doctors, podcasts from the Conversation Caravan and much more magic to uncover.

There’s a program curated especially for teenagers and even events for adults. Download the Family Program, so you can best plan your visit and not miss a thing!


Figures in black clothes stand or move in a blur on stage, with empty red seating rising behind them
Voyces choral ensemble with director Robert Braham

Time presented by Voyces
10 September @ Hackett Hall, WA Museum Boola Bardip

There’s something so direct about choral music, it doesn’t take long to get straight to goose-bump territory. Voyces ensemble were founded in 2011 by Robert Braham and the vocal group’s latest program ruminates on the nature of time. The musical exploration of rhythm, counting, temporal trickery and other ways that time influences choral music, includes repertoire from Philip Glass and Reena Esmail to Lennon/McCartney. Concerts by Voyces ensemble are invariably a refreshing mix of warm-blooded enthusiasm and vocal sophistication and it will be fascinating to hear how they bring this particularly intriguing program to life.


A red-lit room with three children wearing school uniforms and VR headsets
XR:WA Virtual Reality experience

 XR:WA Conference & Expo
15-18 September @ Perth Cultural Centre

This conference and exhibition showcases the ideas, works, technology and evolution of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and the digital screen industry. The Expo boasts the biggest collection of VR experience the state has ever seen. Check out the popular “Games and Experience Emporium” at WA Museum’s Hackett Hall where you can explore more than 30 VR experiences, computer games and AR experiences. “Game Jam” features free-roam VR experiences, locally developed table-top and computer games and other surprises. There’s also art work by Stuart Campbell, a full dome planetarium movie Path at Scitech and the launch of two VR films Perth – Modulated – A City in Flux and El Caballo Blanco – History at your fingertips.

Visual Art

MacGregor: Sea-Urchin 100x100cms Print Edition Etching Rag 2021

Perth Centre for Photography
until 17 September @ King Street Art Centre

With the advent of smart phones and social media everyone is now an exhibiting photographer. But when was the last time you checked out a thoughtfully curated photography exhibition? The Perth Centre for Photography has two new exhibitions running during September: “No Direction Home“, by WA artist Gregor MacGregor, and the “Look Closer Photo Project“. MacGregor, a PhD candidate at Curtin University, incorporates photographs, three dimensional prints and animation to examine the potential of technology to alter our perception of the photographic image. ‘Look Closer: Photo Project’ is a group exhibition by community members engaging with found trash on the streets of Perth. Their project provokes thought about the human impact on the environment.

Musical Theatre

Chicago A Musical Vaudeville

Chicago A Musical Vaudeville, Presented by Drew Anthony Creative
until 25 September @ The Royale Theatre

The new Royale Theatre is currently a hot ticket for theatre events and Chicago is the latest offering from director Drew Anthony, following on from Grease earlier this year. Chicago is the longest-running American musical in Broadway history with iconic songs such as “All That Jazz”, “Razzle Dazzle”, “Mister Cellophane” and the infamous “Cell Block Tango”. Set in Chicago in the jazz age, the story follows show girls Velma and Roxie both on trial for murder amidst a string of homicide charges in Chicago. Local theatre legend Brendan Hanson plays the role of lawyer Billy Flynn defending his female clientele and whipping up a media frenzy.

Pictured top: WAAPA’s theatre production ‘Fires in the Mirror’ opens 8 September 2022.

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She was co-managing editor and founding board member of Seesaw Magazine 2018 – 2023, is author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine (UK). She loves park percussion instruments.

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