Sydney Festival 2021 | Media Release 12 Nov 2020

Carriageworks, one of Australia’s largest contemporary multi-arts centres, will again be a major hub for Sydney Festival in 2021, presenting five world premieres including a new video installation by award-winning Australian artist Tina Havelock Stevens titled Thank You For Holding and launching 6 January. During the three-week festival running from 6 until 26 January 2021, Carriageworks will present world premieres by Resident Companies Force Majeure, Sydney Chamber Opera as well as the seventh edition of Yellamundie Festival by Mooghalin Performing Arts.

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said, “We are thrilled to be welcoming Sydney Festival back to Carriageworks in 2021 and to present new work by our Resident Companies and Carriageworks Clothing Store artist-in-residence Tina Havelock Stevens. The Sydney Festival program at Carriageworks includes artists across multiple disciplines responding thoughtfully and creatively to the current state of the world in works imbued also with a great sense of hope.”

Presented free to the public from 6 until 24 January, Thank You For Holding by Havelock Stevens, is a single-channel video work responding to the relentless tides of anxiety produced by the uncertain present. The work sees the artist perform a staunch drumming set from a raised platform which is drawn from pillar to post inside the ground floor of The Clothing Store building at Carriageworks by her co-performer, Ivey Wawn.

Curated by Carriageworks Director of Programs Daniel Mudie Cunningham and created in August 2020, the improvised, ritualistic and urgent drumming score holds the space but cannot hold time. The two performers – masked but not blind, their vision 20/20 – take pause in the holus-bolus of the suspended present.

Carriageworks also presents eight critical works and a series of conversations for Sydney Festival, from 6 – 26 January 2021, including:

  • The world premiere of The Last Season by acclaimed dance theatre company Force Majeure which explores themes of ageing and environmental destruction, asking: ‘How did we get here? What have we built? How can we continue?’ With original text by Tom Wright and music by Kelly Ryall, The Last Season brings together Australian stage icons Paul Capsis and Pamela Rabe, Irish actor Olwen Fouéré, and an ensemble of 15 young dancers in a vibrant intergenerational conversation.
  • Future Remains by Sydney Chamber Opera is a diptych comprising the first Australian staging of Leoš Janáček’s Diary of One Who Disappeared, a lacerating song cycle of delusion and illicit desire centred on a man who would abandon everything for forbidden love. In response to Janáček’s masterpiece, SCO’s Huw Belling (Victory Over the Sun) spins out the tale, taking it new and dangerous depths in the world premiere of Fumeblind Oracle, a partner piece in which the lone woman moves from love poetry to god-guided violence inspired by Sappho and Homer’s Iliad.
  • The world premiere of Humans 2.0 by internationally celebrated Circa Contemporary Circus sees an ensemble of performers find redemptive power in strength and fiercely celebrate what it means to be human, offering a message of hope as the world reels from pandemic fallout.
  • Physical theatre company Erth Visual & Physical Inc present the world premiere of Duba, meaning ‘ground’ in Sydney language, and lead audiences on a guided tour into the living underworld for an encounter with the seldom seen. This multi-sensory, puppetry-based experience is filled with creations inspired by work with leading international conservation zoos.
  • poem for a dried up river sees Sydney Chamber Opera reunite with celebrated soprano Jane Sheldon in a performance that melds opera, poetry, physical theatre and art installation to explore Alice Oswald’s text about a figurine of a naiad trying to coax water from a bed of limestone ins a ‘cry of environmental despair’.
  • Presented by Moogahlin Performing Arts and Carriageworks, Yellamundie Festival returns for its seventh edition with six new works which will undergo two weeks of development and are presented in a three-day festival of public readings, yarns, and events. Previously focussed only on writing for stage, the 2021 Yellamundie Festival will expand to also showcase a range of live performance art forms, providing development opportunities for playwrights, composers, and choreographers.
  • Provocateur Mitch Jones (aka Captain Ruin) imagines a dystopian future in AutoCannibal, a solo performance blending clowning, performance art and physical theatre that transports audiences into a world in which only one human survives.
  • The world premiere of Dorr-e Dari: A Poetic Crash Course in the Language of Love by leading professional youth theatre company PYT | Fairfield draws intimate storytelling, epic ballads and the thousand-year practice of courtly Persian love poetry to guide audiences on the path to love.
  • Sydney Writers’ Festival presents Something to Talk About, four smart, entertaining public conversations from the country’s preeminent literary institution. These four events will showcase the best of public discourse: imaginings and arguments, polemics and poetry, declarations and conversations.

For media interviews please contact: Kym Elphinstone, or Megan Bentley,

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