Under the banner ‘Creative Confluence’, BEMAC announces a new season of work

After a vigorous reactivation of its creative programming in 2023, BEMAC announces a new season of work commencing March 9 and comprising 13 events, that span music, dance, poetry and, for the first time, theatre. Underpinned by three core programming principles –courageous in creativity, determined in diversity and enablers of change– BEMAC reached out to the creative community and received 47 proposals, from which a vibrant and exciting selection was made to arrive at the season now being announced, with events from March until June.

The season kicks off on March 9 with an aurally and visually stunning performance by a collective of percussionists including Dave Kemp, Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Tanja Hafenstein, Tsoof Baras and Jacob Enoka, who are curating a program that highlights the diversity of percussion and its ubiquity across global musical cultures.

The two feature events of the program –the BEMAC Presents series– are two double-bills. The first, on March 24, includes “one of the freshest feeling projects in Australian music right now” Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra and international visitors, Taiwan-based Zy the Way. The second, on May 4, feature local luminaries JADE Ensemble sharing the stage Ballarat-based duo ZÖJ, whose two distinctive music-making processes share a common theme of virtuosic cross-cultural music exploration.

Alongside these established acts, the program also includes the first Brisbane iteration of Revolution Renegade, a highly successful poetry slam that Mel Ree until recently had been running in Sydney and the first full production of First Nations creative company ‘The First Creatives’: Ya’Djin Spirit Women, which combines an intergenerational cast of multidisciplinary artists weaving stories and experiences of Aboriginal women.

Venturing into theatre for the first time, the program includes ‘Dominoes & Rum’ a play about migration and belonging by Nicholas ‘Prince’ Milverton, that follows a migrant from the fictional Caribbean Island of Colibri, return home after 14 years in Australia to find himself in a social world that he, now, vaguely understands.

Other highlights of the season include a unique performance of contemporary classical chamber music arranged for traditional Chinese instruments by the Echo of Jade music collective, I.Rugamba’s transformative hip hop musical experience addressing the often-ignored subject of men’s mental health; a musical tribute to Drs. Eddie and Bonita Mabo by their granddaughter, Kristal West; and Slavic-infused whimsical alternative folk of the Sunshine Coast’s Innessa Hook. BEMAC’s panel discussion series will also be featured, with three sessions during the season tackling topics such as migrant women in the arts and the validity (or not) of the ideas of multiculturalism in the present.

Together, all the shows in the program, paint a renewed and much strengthened picture of the vibrant and vigorous creative, emotional and social dimensions that artists who identify as culturally diverse bring to the Australian arts, combining themes of belonging, identity and welcoming with cross-cultural explorations and social enquiries that much more closely resemble the configuration and dynamics of contemporary Australian society.

Details of the full program and links to purchase tickets (which include a 20% early bird discount until February 4) can be found at www.bemac.org.au/season

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