Bleach* Festival pushes horizons

Bleach* Festival organisers are about to unveil their most ambitious program yet, with the event taking place 4 – 20 March across the City. It’s the culmination of a whirlwind year for Bleach* which has seen the organisation receive endorsement as a significant component of the City’s cultural strategy as well as change its governance structure with a new independent operating company, Bleached Arts Ltd established with an enthusiastic and experienced board of directors at its helm.

The 2016 Bleach* Festival will include eight world premieres. Yes, eight!

Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said Bleach* Festival is moving into a new era, now recognised on a national level for its role in building and enhancing the City’s reputation as a key cultural destination.

Over the past year, Louise and the team have engaged with nationally acclaimed producers, artists and musicians, along with an army of local talent, to feature as part of the visionary program for Bleach* Festival 2016.

“Our aim for Bleach* Festival 2016 is to create incredible and artistic moments in time, in the most unlikely places,” Louise said.

“We will be challenging people’s perceptions of what art is and where it should be performed,” she said, “with the Gold Coast’s natural environment and some of its best known landscapes having ‘starring roles’ in many of the Bleach* events.”

Bleach* has always showcased the Gold Coast’s unique environment and 2016 will be no different with beaches, parks and waterways becoming outdoor stags for performances.

The full program will be launched 15 January, but the team was unable to keep under wraps one of the world premieres – Horizons with Angels. The piece was commissioned by Bleach* and The Arts Centre Gold Coast and created by Preposterous – a brand new creative division of contemporary circus company, Circa.

Set around the Evandale Lake in the heart of the Gold Coast’s cultural precinct, Horizons with Angels will be swathed in intensely beautiful music, and heightened by a mixture of physical daring and spell-binding light and projection. It will take place during the opening weekend of Bleach* (4 – 5 March 2016).

Louise said Horizons with Angels signifies a new direction for Circa and Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz, who was recently appointed the Cultural Lead of the Arts and Cultural Program for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. It is co-directed by Ben Knapton with choreographer Alice Lee Holland and Musical Director Scott Saunders.

“Yaron’s work is exemplary, and has already been seen by more than half a million people in 33 countries around the world,” Louise said.

Horizons with Angels is an opportunity to further develop Circa’s relationship with Bleach* Festival and The Arts Centre Gold Coast and bring audiences something new, thrilling and artistically brilliant.”

The performance will also feature the voices of Gold Coast school children who will form a 200-strong choir to perform some of the haunting songs by Leonard Cohen.

“The opportunity for these kids to perform in a world premiere, alongside a world-famous performance company such as Circa’s and Music Director Scott Saunders, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them and one they will never forget,” Louise said.

Louise said that Bleach* Festival aims to be a platform for expression and is curated to encourage community ownership and participation.

“Incorporating a cast of school children … into Horizons with Angels epitomises the true essence of Bleach*, why we are here and what we are all about,” she said.

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Horizons with Angels takes place 4 – 5 March at Evandale and the full Bleach* program will be announced on Friday 15 January at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.

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