November 17, 2016

Carriageworks unveils 2017 Artistic Program: Immersive experiences and contemporary stories

Sydney, Australia: Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah tonight unveiled the 2017 Artistic Program for Australia’s leading contemporary multi-arts precinct, continuing Carriageworks’ commitment to presenting new Australian and international stories, with 67 projects featuring artists from culturally diverse backgrounds. The program is set to further build upon extraordinary audience growth.

Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah commented: “In 2017, we have collaborated with Australian and International artists who consistently question and experiment with form – whether music, fashion, food or art – who create immersive experiences that aren’t overly defined, and provide great moments of joy and wonder for audiences to engage with those ideas. The stories we tell through our collaborations and our programs is the story of contemporary life, contemporary urban Sydney of an imagined future driven by always remembering and acknowledging our shared histories.”

Highlights of the 2017 Program include the inaugural edition of The National: New Australian Art, the first exhibition resulting from the six-year major partnership between Carriageworks, Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia that will explore the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian Art. Artists presenting work at Carriageworks for The National include Archie Moore, Justene Williams and Richard Lewer.

Another major partnership for 2017 will see Carriageworks collaborate with the City of Sydney to present an exhibition marking the centenary of The Great Strike 1917, one of Australia’s largest industrial conflicts that was centred around Eveleigh Railyards, the current-day location of Carriageworks. Presented from 15 July until 27 August 2017, the commemorative exhibition features historical objects presented alongside newly commissioned artworks from five contemporary Australian artists responding to themes of the strike.  The artists are Sarah Contos, Franck Gohier, Will French, Tom Nicholson and Raquel Ormella.

Carriageworks continues its strong commitment to Aboriginal projects, with an extension of the Solid Ground partnership with Blacktown Arts Centre to provide pathways for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Blacktown and Redfern into the cultural industries. In 2017 Solid Ground doubles its presence in Western Sydney to include an additional public high school Artist in Residence program and 12 additional paid internships.  Carriageworks’ Park Road Studio program will see Cope St Collective take up residence at Alexandria Park Community School to work with teachers and students across theatre, film and multi-platform media. To celebrate NAIDOC Week, Koori Radio and Carriageworks present a stellar line up of artists to continue the Klub Koori tradition at Carriageworks, including the stars of the Young, Black and Deadly program and featuring Mi-Kaisha Masella. Bangarra and Carriageworks will present a triple-bill Ones Country – the Spine of our Stories showcasing North East Arnhem Land’s red dust, to the salt water of the Torres Strait Islands, to urban life looking at gender challenges and the human spirit. NAISDA brings its energetic and passionate celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island contemporary dance culture to Carriageworks, featuring cultural dances of Moa Island with some of today’s most celebrated Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary choreographers.

Sydney Festival commences the 2017 program in January, returning to Carriageworks for the fifth consecutive year including projects by Carriageworks Resident Companies Sydney Chamber Opera, Marrugeku and Moogahlin Performing Arts. Twelve projects will be presented at Carriageworks as part of Sydney Festival, including the NIGHT MARKET on 28 January, curated by award-winning chef Kylie Kwong.  An immersion in the food, pop culture and sounds of contemporary Asia, NIGHT MARKET is inspired by the streets of Harajuku in Tokyo, Hongdae in Seoul, and AnFu Lu in Shanghai. Presented by Carriageworks in association with Sydney Festival and 2017 Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, this one-night only event showcases Sydney’s best producers and chefs with more than 50 stallholders presented the best in Asian Food to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

From 16-18 March, internationally renowned Back to Back Theatre perform the company’s largest scale work to date Lady Eats Apple described as a cosmic waltz from the Garden of Eden, to a medieval snowstorm, to the urban jungle. Also on 16-18 March, Carriageworks will present the acclaimed Italian Motus company and work MDLSX featuring platinum-maned punk god/dess Silvia Calderoni using home videos to blur fiction with her own life story. Part performance-art monologue, part DJ set featuring music from The Smiths, Vampire Weekend, R.E.M. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is a show that, like its subject, proudly defies classification.

Day for Night returns on 28 October for the first time as part of Liveworks Festival, a celebration of queer performance and party culture, bringing together a host of Australia’s finest queer artists, performers, DJs and musicians. Presented in partnership with Carriageworks Resident Company Performance Space, Day for Night is a glorious collision of club culture, contemporary art and new performance work from a range of queer artists set to sounds performed by leading electronic musicians.

On 29 April, Toby Martin launches Songs From Northam Avenue inspired by the people of Bankstown, from David on Northam Ave to Michael K’s mixed business and coffee shop on Chapel Road South. Originally commissioned by Urban Theatre Projects, and developed collaboratively with Bree van Reyk and artists from southwest Sydney, including Dang Lan and Mohammed Lelo, Carriageworks presents this evening of music responding to the culturally diverse community.

Australia’s international fashion platform, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia returns to Carriageworks from 15-19 May, followed by global creative and design thinking platform Semi Permanent presented from 25-27 May exploring the theme of ‘Design for Change’.

Room 40’s highly acclaimed Open Frame returns in 2017 from 29-30 June, with experimental music highlight acts including Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, Elysia Crampton, Klara Lewis and Alessandro Cortini. The bi-annual Open Frame Festival curated by Lawrence English brings together an eclectic array of artists operating at the edge of contemporary sound practice.

Carriageworks Resident Company Sydney Chamber Opera presents The Rape of Lucretia from 19-26 August, under the direction of Sydney Theatre Company Artistic Director Kip Williams and featuring rising star Anna Dowsley in a career-defining title role. For composer Benjamin Britten, the Roman tale of Lucretia’s tragic violation at the hands of the tyrant Tarquinius becomes the vessel for operatic revolution. This will be the first time this century this work is presented to Sydney audiences.

On 7-10 September Australasia’s pre-eminent international contemporary art fair Sydney Contemporary returns to Carriageworks for its third edition, with five days of curated exhibitions and ambitious programming appealing to serious art lovers and new art audiences alike.

On 23 September, Australian’s leading exponents of new music, Ensemble Offspring and Carriageworks present Who dreamed it?, three world premieres showcasing US-based Australian soprano Jessica Aszodi. Featuring an international co-commission by Lisa Illean, Unsuk Chin’s classic Acrostic Wordplay, and a new work by Jennifer Walshe.

As part of our New Normal arts and disability strategy, September closes with a new production by Erth, Studio A and Carriageworks present birdfoxmonster, a significant new multi-sensorial immersive installation that represents the intersection of performance, visual art and dining experience.

Marking the second consecutive year of the new partnership between Carriageworks and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Artist in Residence Brett Dean curates two concerts with audacious, thought-provoking music from composers of our time. Titled Dream Sequence and Gnarly Buttons, the concerts will be presented on 15 October.

From 17 November until 17 December, Carriageworks premieres a major exhibition, titled Project Banaba, exploring the impact on the local Banaban inhabitants of the island of Rabi in Fiji following an intense period of phosphate mining. Curated by Yuki Kihara (Samoa/NZ) and Katerina Teaiwa (Banaba/Fiji/Australia) the exhibition brings together rare historical archives and new work that sheds light on this unknown Australian history and its ongoing impact on Pacific communities.

Carriageworks and New Music Network present the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address to be delivered by Kim Williams AM on 9 November. The free evening will also see the presentation of the inaugural Contemporary Art Music Plenary for emerging and experimental artists and musicians.

The 2017 Artistic Program concludes with the third edition of New Breed, presented by Carriageworks and Sydney Dance Company from 30 November until 9 December, showcasing a rich diversity of choreographic ideas by four of Australia’s most exciting emerging dance creators.

The full 2017 Carriageworks Program can be viewed at


Internationally, Carriageworks joins forces with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and MASS MoCA to develop our most ambitious exhibition to date – American artist Nick Cave’s UNTIL – which will be presented free to the public over a six-month period from January 2018.

Carriageworks has commissioned internationally renowned Samoan born choreographer Lemi Ponifasio to develop a large scale immersive work Children of Gods in collaboration with Sydney based choirs in 2017 for presentation within the 2018 program. Lemi will collaborate with 400 community members including 100 children.

The Chan Project is a new work presented by Carriageworks, created by Force Majeure in partnership with Contemporary Asian Australian Performance. Dancers Christina Chan (Singapore) and Kristina Chan (Sydney) will create a new work that asks the question – what if there was another you out there?