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Perth Festival 2020 makes history with completely Indigenous first week lineup

Perth Festival 2020 is making history this year with its representation of Indigenous work, artists and musicians.

In an Australian-first, the opening week included a completely Indigenous lineup, as announced by incoming artist director, Iain Grandage.

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Perth Festival 2020 takes a positive step towards celebrating Aboriginal culture by having an all-Indigenous first week line up, the first ever of its kind.

Grandage has described his decision as coming from a simple aim: to celebrate his home city and state which is founded in Indigenous knowledge and story-telling. The reality is that Australia is often in the spotlight for failing to acknowledge Indigenous voices rather than celebrating the diversity that exists within our country.

Grandage is a composer and musician himself and has established a very impressive career spanning over two decades – working with a number of Indigenous creators along the way. This is evident in his collaboration with Indigenous productions in staged concerts (the Black Arm Band’s Dirtsong), theatre (Cloudstreet; The Secret River) and dance (Bangarra’s Dubboo).

Grandage has been commended for elevating Indigenous voices and providing a platform for diversity. The opening week was stunning – with performances from highly respected dance group Bangarra and Baker Boy. There was also a mirage of Yolŋgu culture timed to the music of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, heartwarmingly presented by his family and community, alongside members of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

In the face of stories about racism, discrimination, and lack of diversity in Australia, it is refreshing to hear that we are making moves towards a more inclusive nation that celebrates Indigenous voices and narratives.

Check out to this beautiful, soulful performance by Geoffrey Gurrumul below.

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February 20, 2020

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