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The programme for Fremantle Festival has been announced and we’re as excited as can be! Scoop caught up with Festival Co-ordinator Kathryn Taylor to find out her top tips on what to see this year.

1. Wardarnji

For opening night we’re launching the festival with Wardarnji, which is an amazing celebration of indigenous Australian culture. It features over 100 dancers, and some storytelling as well. It’s going to be quite an entertaining, beautiful night.

2. High Tide – Arc d’Ellipses

High Tide is Fremantle’s first visual art biennale and it’s huge. We have both national and international artists involved, with the highlight being Swiss artist Felice Varini. This is his biggest commission in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a large, outdoor work that will span over 800 metres that will touch many of the heritage buildings down the High Street in the West End.

3. Professor Gillian Triggs

Professor Gillian Triggs’ keynote address is definitely on course to be one of the highlights of this years programme. It’s one of her first public talks since leaving her five-year tenure as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, which has quite a bit of friction with the Australian Government. She drove the national conversation on the impact of children in immigration centres, so now that she’s not in a public office she’ll be able to speak more openly on the topic.

4. Fremantle Fashion Collective

These are Fremantle-based fashion designers with their own retail outlets. What I love about them is that they’re amazing local designers but most of them are at a national or international standard. Their designs will be showcased in a catwalk style show at PSA’s art space.

5. The Jezabels

It wouldn’t be a festival without some live music, and The Jezabels are launching their new album soon. They’ve just sold out shows in the Eastern States, and come off a 7-night sold-out residency at the Landsdowne Hotel in Sydney. We can’t wait for them to hit Fremantle Town Hall.

6. A Single Day

This is a series of four classical concerts that track the beauty and the passing of one single day. Concert one is at midnight in Fremantle Prison with a really dark piece, then at sunrise at South Mole, right underneath the lighthouse, will be an amazing percussion concert. Under the brash midday sun there’ll be a brass concert in a courtyard in the West End of Freo, and finally a sunset concert at the Maritime Museum on the water. It’ll be quite an extraordinary experience.

7. Sam Simmonds

This comedy great is bringing his new show A to K to the Fremantle Festival, and this will be the first time he’s done that show in WA. It’ll no doubt be funny, as he’s such a well-established, well-loved comedian.

8. Songs of Disgrace

Musician Nicholas Allbrook has curated a show packed with well-known WA artists and musicians as a tribute to Fremantle’s storied underbelly. This event pulls together all those port town stories for an incredible show in the Town Hall.

9. The Great Fremantle Race

This is a reimagining of the Fremantle Parade in an attempt to make it more exciting for the audience. We want people to get involved in what is basically a costumed shopping trolly race. Teams will dress up themselves and their trolley then race around filling them with groceries which will then be donated to St Pat’s Community Care organisation. There’s lots of prizes to be won too, and it’ll be such a fun race/parade for a very good charity.

10. The State Collection

This is it’s second time were running this event, where budding artists from WA are invited to enter a work. Anyone can enter. The work has to be on a white A4 piece of paper, then they deposit it at collection points around the city. Everything gets displayed in an exhibition that culminates in an auction. The fun part is that works by famous artists also anonymously in the collection, it’s effectively an art lottery, or a mad auction. But lots of fun.

The Fremantle Festival runs from Oct 27-Nov 5. Find out more.

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