INCOMING PIAF artistic director Wendy Martin would have enough money to personally fund this year’s PIAF launch event if she had been given $1000 every time someone looked at her during last year’s Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants weekend and felt sorry for her.
But Martin said her PIAF 2016 free spectacle launch event was a “no-brainer” and programmed concert Home for Langley Park tomorrow night at 7.30pm.
“The thing that distinguishes any festival is the place in which it happens,” Martin said.
“I’ve been determined since I arrived here that the same characteristics that define Perth and WA will distinguish our festival, will explore our rich indigenous culture, our stories, our splendid isolation, our position on the Indian Ocean rim, our climate and natural environment and our diverse cultural communities.”
Directed by the master maker of outdoor spectacle and storytelling Nigel Jamieson with associate director and Nyungar artist Richard Walley, Home features a cavalcade of WA artists celebrating the place we all call home.
“The cast of Home is a rollcall of WA’s evocative and imaginative artists and when we started thinking about who could be involved in this project, it was absolutely phenomenal,” Martin said.
“It is an extraordinary feat of the team at PIAF, Nigel Jamieson and Richard Walley that we’ve been able to put together this brilliant company of WA artists.
“And I think it’s the combined commitment of Nigel and Richard to telling the story of WA and to their charm offensive that this amazing gathering of 500 artists is happening.
“On a 60m long stage reflecting the big, wide, amazing horizon of WA, these people have found extraordinary ways to celebrate our landscape, history, visions for our future and stories that are going to resonate with us all.”
Launched at Kings Park today before tomorrow night’s event, Home features a line-up including Ernie Dingo, John Butler Trio, Shaun Tan, Tim Winton, The Waifs, Grace Barbe, Gina Williams, Lucky Oceans, 14 clans of the Nyungar nation, WASO and hundreds of school children.
Tim Minchin was a notable late inclusion after his schedule working on an animated family film at Dreamworks in LA opened up enough for a fleeting visit to join the cast.
“I’ve been talking for some years with various people at PIAF about being a part of something that’s specifically about Perth and what it is to come from this country,” Minchin said.
“I wish I could have been more a part of the creation of it but it’s an incredible honour just to be able to slot in.
“I have a huge pull to home, which I follow more than my carbon footprint should allow, and it’s a huge privilege to rock up and sing amongst all these people.
“I’m bringing my family back to live in Australia in a couple of years purely because I want to be part of something that feels like home, feels like the culture of my origin that I belong to.
“This is going to be such an emotionally profound experience because I can’t think of anything like it really if 40,000 or 50,000 people turn up and sit and watch it.”
Walley said Home had been one of the easiest productions to work on because of the energy of all the people involved.
“All of the artists that have come together for this have one thing incommon; we’re all here,” Walley said.
“We’re all under the one sun. It’s a collective, male, female, old people, young people, rock bands, traditional bands and it’s not a variety show, it’s all interwoven.
“That’s the beauty and spirit of this presentation.”
Home starts at 7.30pm on Saturday, February 13 at Langley Park and is 90 minutes with no interval.