The Best Of Fremantle International Street Arts Festival 2018
Arguably the Western Australia’s heart of music, art, theatre and culture, the picturesque portside town of Fremantle fosters an incredible creative community.
“It is kind of a mythology in a lot of ways, but I guess it is also one that holds a lot of truths. It is a very arty, lefty, creative place,” says Brendan Coleman, the festival programmer at the Fremantle International Street Arts Festival.
A representation and magnification of that artsy culture, the annual street arts festival – not to be confused with street art of the visual kind – brings together the best local and international cabaret, acrobatic and musical acts over the course of the Easter long weekend.
The annual festival is, as Coleman puts it, is a case of “the right place at the right time.”
“It is just such a lovely vibe at Easter. The weather is a little cooler, the days are nice and Fremantle has got this really lovely urban geography that I think really works for the festival,” he says.
“Even the performers that come internationally comment on that as well.”
Spilling out from the buzzing, café lined South Terrace – which will be closed off for three of the four festival days – and across to the iconic harbour-side Esplanade Park, the carnival brings Fremantle alive from dawn to well after dusk.
“It is the kind of thing where you can grab some beer or food somewhere and one minute you are in the park, next minute you are by the water and then all of sudden you are in a busy street. It is a nice variety of experiences but also quite intimate as well.”
Now in its 20th year, Coleman has been at the festival from the very beginning. Coming from an acrobatic background himself, he spent the first 5 years of the festival performing as a part of Fremantle’s Circus Bizurkus, before moving on to spend 15 years in an operational role within the company.
Putting the acrobatic side on the backburner for the festival, Coleman’s focus is now on curating an exciting line up of performers.
“In the programming, I am always trying to find stuff that is firstly extremely high quality, secondly; engaging and thirdly, I always find at least one or two things that are going to provoke and kind of be outside of the norm a little bit. I really try and find things that you don’t regularly see in Fremantle.”
Hand picking each act performing at the festival himself, Coleman has the inside scoop on some of the best acts to catch at the festival from March 30th to April 2th.
“The BirdMen is an act from the Netherlands’ Close-Act Theatre and they are bringing these amazingly designed puppets doing a sort of stilt-walking act – they are quite incredible.”
“During the day, they will be in the park and they are in this white state. The two evening performances on Saturday and Sunday are really quite something because they will be in all of their illuminated glory. They will be going up and down South Terrace and it is quite a good time to be able to catch them as we’ve also got a lot of music happening at that time too. We have Wahonk and a couple of really great Perth favourites like Pow! Negro, who are running hot at the moment. They have just done WOMAdelaide and they will be playing for free on Saturday just after BirdMen appear. BirdMen are also doing the same set on Sunday and ‘The Growl’ will be playing. So that will be a really lovely time.”
A little more outside the box and with a lot less left to the imagination, Bath’s The Natural Theatre Company are hitting the streets of Fremantle with quite the peculiar interactive show. Taking up some of the later, more adult-friendly time slots over the 4 days, a run-in with this group of high-class characters is sure to be an experience like no other.
“One of their more provocative and fun pieces from them is called ‘The Nudes’; which we couldn’t even really show in the program in all of their glory,” says Coleman.
The Kif-Kif Sisters
“I saw The Kif-Kif sisters in Italy a couple of years ago and it has taken me that long to be able to try and arrange to get them out here. They are a really fun, original show too.”
Hailing from Canada, the twins put on an unforgettable circus show featuring puppetry, magic and their own unique brand of quirky, infections energy. With 2 afternoon shows per day (with the exception of Good Friday’s singular show), there is plenty of opportunity to see this cute duo in action.
“Quator Stomp are another highlight. We had them last year and they were just such a smash hit. They’re four very lovely, physically fit, ‘in the prime of their lives’ acrobats from Canada and they just do incredible things. Last year people went absolutely nuts for them; and this year they are coming back with some new acts that they have incorporated into their show. I have no doubt they will be extremely popular again this year.”
Combining tumbling, juggling, skipping, climbing and more, this quartet is high-energy and a whole lot of fun. As one of the most highly anticipated acts of the weekend, they are performing a consistent 2 shows per day all across Fremantle.
Published 26 March, 2018