Top picks at the Next Wave Festival

Kids Killing Kids_Sarah-WalkerFounded in 1984, Next Wave is Australia’s leading organisation for emerging artists, presenting highly sought-after development programs that culminate in a curated biennial experimental arts festival.

The month-long, city-wide celebration of cutting-edge arts and culture from around Australia and the globe features the work of 239 artists in an exciting and experimental season of never-before-seen art projects that have been created especially for the Festival. Arts Review takes a look at our top picks of the 2014 Festival:

A Wake: Kids Killing Kids
In 2011, four Australian playwrights travelled to Manila to collaborate with site-specific experimental theatre company The Sipat Lawin Ensemble. Together, they produced a stage adaptation of the Japanese pulp thriller Battle Royale. Described as both a pop-culture smash and a dangerous work of glossy, hedonistic pulp-violence, had the craze of kids killing kids gone too far? The subject of this controversial Australian-Filipino co-production is revisited for the Next Wave Festival.

Blak Wave
The Festival’s keynote initiative – featuring seven new art projects, a thought-provoking talk series and a new 80-page publication exploring what’s personally, politically and artistically ‘next’ for Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Blak Wave highlights the contemporary Indigenous experience with a season of cutting-edge, inspiring and provocative art projects ranging from visual arts to performance and dance.

Concerto No. 3
Of all the works in the classical piano repertory, Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 has perhaps one of the most fearsome reputations: it is a work of cruel and unusual technical difficulty. What if a group of non-pianists, failed pianists and traumatised former child prodigies were challenged to play it publicly? What if these pianists were not permitted to practice or even study the music beforehand, but required to play entirely by sight-reading? Berlin-based Australian live artist Sarah-Jane Norman is joined onstage by five other “postvirtuosic” pianists working in shifts to sight-read their way through this mammoth score in a gruelling 12 hour musical experiment.

Festival Club at Shebeen
By day, it’s your one-stop-café-artist-lounge-info-centre-shop. Charge your phone, refuel with coffee or a quick bite and stop by the Info Booth for Festival tickets, deals and recommendations. There’ll also be hosting talks, indoor picnics and other fun stuff to make you think. By night, the Club heats up with live music, DJs, performances and screenings until the wee hours. Grab a drink and banh mi upstairs at the main bar, head downstairs to get your groove on or slink into a cozy booth for a quiet drink and cheeky Festival pash.

Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You
Inspired by a town in New Mexico, USA, that changed its name to a television game show Truth or Consequences, Hello There investigates the politics of identity, history and happiness. Set within the elusive confines of a television studio in the lead up to the annual May Fiesta, Hello There examines one’s quest to stand out in the world. Through the use of a live video feed and television tricks, the work examines the ways in which we re-invent stories and play with truth to find happiness.

Emerging dance artist James Welsby presents HEX, a new contemporary dance work that asks how the generation born during the HIV/ AIDS crisis can comprehend its impact on contemporary queer identity. Armed with humour, reverence and intense sorrow, HEX unfolds in a series of intimate, choreographed vignettes. Combining contemporary dance with queer club performance, HEX provides an experience of both celebration and reflection, a vision for what contemporary activist performance might look like in 2014.

Personal Mythologies
A large scale performative dance installation, this ever-evolving environment invites the individual to inscribe their own personal manifesto onto the shape and form of the work. Perceptions of time and space shift amid the shared kinaesthetic experience as  together, we chart the territory between authorship and spectatorship.

The Club 3.0
Netherlands-based theatre troupe New Heroes wants to know: What are we fighting for? And what is a good fight? The Club 3.0 is not a play, it’s a club in which people can fight, talk, blow up ideas and rebuild them again. This is a club where you search for your role in society. Taking its cues from the 1996 novel and 1999 film, Fight Club, Lucas de Man and Michael Bloos use a mix of performance, voluntary fighting and open dialogue to explore new visions for effective political change.

Wael Zuaiter: Unknown
On the evening of 16th of October 1972 Wael Zuaiter, a Palestinian intellectual, was shot and killed by two Israeli Mossad agents in Rome. Earlier that night he had been with his Australian fiancé, painter Janet venn Brown. Years later, Janet’s great-nephew, radio producer Jesse Cox, traces the story of Wael and Janet from Italy to the Middle East in an attempt to uncover why he was killed. Wael Zuaiter: Unknown is a new theatre work blending documentary, radio storytelling and the graphic novel with projection and live performance.

White Face
Examining the social, cultural and personal impact of the 1937 Aboriginal Assimilation Policy, White Face combines humour, contemporary dance and theatre to address the experience of being Aboriginal in an overwhelmingly colonial environment. Speaking from her own experiences as an undercover sista’ (fair-skinned Aboriginal),  Carly Sheppard negotiates her own context and how she exists historically, culturally and socially as an Indigenous woman today.

The Next Wave Festival continues to 11 May 2014. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Kids Killing Kids – by Sarah Walker