After a turbulent period for our arts and cultural community, anticipation is building ahead of the action-packed return of Bleach Festival, Australia’s most unique arts and culture festival, which kicks off August 11-21.
In its 11th year, the festival has launched its most ambitious program yet, transforming the city’s esplanades, beaches, Botanic Gardens and hinterland hideaways for 11 days of pulsating performances.
“After the cancellation of BLEACH* 2021, I am thrilled to be launching this year’s Festival,” said Artistic Director of BLEACH* and CEO of Placemakers* Gold Coast, Rosie Dennis.
“We’ve woven together a program that celebrates the Gold Coast and the incredible communities who call this city home. With more new work commissions than ever before, this year’s BLEACH* is jam-packed full of inspirational stories, breathtaking opera, and out-of-the-box performances in some of our favourite locations. Come once and come again with your friends!”
The Festival will be held across four main hubs, which include the beachside area of North Burleigh, the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Miami’s hospitality-rich industrial pocket and the historic surrounds of Mudgeeraba at the foothills of the hinterland.
Also spilling across into the HOTA precinct, Burleigh Brewing and the amazing Miami Marketta, to name a few.
“If there’s one word to describe BLEACH*, it’s unconventional,’’ said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.
“I applaud organisers for continuing to excite, inspire and challenge through the 2022 program. I’m particularly delighted to see the Opera Queensland collaboration and look forward to visiting BLEACH* this year,’’ he said.
Here’s a breakdown of the stunning collaborations and precincts of Bleach Festival 2022
North Burleigh Hub
The first festival artistic hub to open is the ever-popular Esplanade at North Burleigh. The ocean-side location provides the perfect backdrop for a jam-packed cultural program featuring an array of unique performances, interactive elements and community connectivity. The perpetual First Light marks the opening of BLEACH* 2022, with a 6am sunrise ceremony blending traditional and contemporary First Nation connections, featuring Deline Briscoe, the Yugambeh Aboriginal Dancers & Yugambeh Youth Choir.
For the young and young at heart, take flight into a fantastical world at VOLO: Dreams of Flight, an interactive virtual reality experience inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machines, or pop on a hard-hart and high-vis at We Built This City – a fun-filled and family-friendly experience where audiences indeed create their own world with thousands of recycled cardboard boxes, with the help of some spirited site-supervisors from Polyglot Theatre.
Feast at BLEACH* invites guests to share a unique culinary and cultural experience by dining under the stars with an extraordinary meal prepared by the revered Quandamooka Chef – Kieron Anderson. Kieron will present a three-course feast drawing on sacred native flavours and storytelling that transports you on a unique and memorable journey.
Lebanese singer Samira El Koussa will perform the newly crafted Love, Always Love. Audiences will be mesmerised by Samira’s one-of-a-kind vocals as she performs original compositions of her life story in a tapestry of Arabic, Tarab and western classical music alongside Corrina Bonshek and Greta Kelly.
Unsettle by Digi Youth Arts and Karul Projects invites Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to respond to the cultural landscape through public art, film, theatre, visual art, music and dance to create a brand-new performance at BLEACH*.
Other North Burleigh highlights include: The Nightline – an immersive experience where audiences are seated at a dimly lit table with an old telephone and switchboard – what you hear could be intriguing or unsettling. Bundjalung Nghari – Indigenise – an opportunity to experience original theatre in a collection of stories, poems and essays performed by First Nation artists. LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club is a free event for LGBTIQ+ Elders and their allies and is open to all ages. Listening Booth with Solua Middleton provides the chance for locals to record their own story and also to experience others’ connection to place. Pot Luck by Roselle Tenefrancia invites people of all cultures to share our common humanity through food. BLEACH* will close as the sun sets with Last Light by Whaia Sonic Weaver and special guests.
The participatory public-program at North Burleigh can also be enjoyed through workshops and traditional First Nation practices, including string and fire making with Rick Roser. Candace Kruger offers audiences an introduction to Yugambeh language and a chance to deepen your understanding of culture and country through Aboriginal Song & Language. And, Norton Fredericks offers sessions that showcase the breathtaking sustainable fibre artistry at Botanical Prints.
Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
BLEACH* is once again returning to the city’s Botanic Gardens with four evenings of signature outdoor concerts headlined by Opera Queensland (Thursday 11 to Saturday 13, August) and the Helpmann / Queensland Music Award winning singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke (Sunday 14, August).
Opera Queensland and BLEACH* will present a three-night season of the newly commissioned Home Grown Opera with Queensland’s award-winning composer John Rotar at the helm. Some of Australia’s brightest operatic voices and musicians will feature in this spectacular outdoor concert in the magical setting of the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens, whilst the limitless Kate Miller-Heidke will conclude the concert series with a Sunday soiree, performing songs from her fifth studio Album Child in Reverse amongst other crowd favourites.
Miami + Miami Marketta + Burleigh Brewing
Join none other than the Moira Finucane of Finucane & Smith as you delve into the wild arts at Miami’s dimly lit dive bars and distilleries for this curated cocktail of promenade performances at Mi Amor Miami.
Take a 10-minute detour to demi-DEMO as Branch Nebula return to BLEACH* for the first time since 2017, with their cleverly crafted choreography and daredevilry. Branch Nebula work at the nexus of performance, dance, sport and street-style art, taking audiences into urban landscapes and immersing them amongst BMXers, skaters, parkourists and dancers that will have you holding your breath.
BLEACH* company in residence, Everybody Now! is hosting a participatory creative residency, which combines skate, story and song in a celebration of powerful female voices. Dust off your skates and head to Miami Marketta for your very own “roll/role” in – Roller Coaster!
Curated by All the Queens Men – Bliss is all about fun, frivolity and performance art with a booming backdrop of electronic music. The spectacular Tristan Meecham is certain to deliver a night out to remember as eclectic audiences covered in eco-glitter congregate inside Miami Marketta’s infamous Studio 56.
Nine unique stories of nine extraordinary women, from nine different countries, all of whom now call the Gold Coast home – Crossing Borders cements the power of storytelling and celebrates the diversity of our community.
The premiere of RADIAL by Victoria’s acclaimed Back to Back Theatre, who this year deservedly won the International Ibsen Award (“the Nobel Prize of theatre” – Limelight Magazine) will take place in the courtyard of Burleigh Brewing. Featuring Lauren Watson, Tara Sales and an original electronic score by Tralala Blip, the short film features a playful merging of video art, dance, music, and fashion that celebrates the diversity of humankind.
Head to the hinterland for a series of unique performances by four artists at four distinctly different rural sheds. Big hART’s Acoustic Life of Sheds features vocals by Christine Johnston, Karl S Williams on piano, percussion by Michael Askill and Loni Fitzpatrick on the harp. This talented collective will perform individual site-specific works as audiences travel between properties in a carpooling convoy.
Curated by Moira Finucane, BLEACH* Artists pop up at HOTA Gallery invites artists to respond to the works featured in the current exhibition, HOTA Collects: Australia’s Playground.