Launceston: Rediscovered

Words by Alison Wilkes

I came across an interesting note about Launceston on the Lonely Planet website the other day.  It read: “It’s still a vaguely pugilistic town ~ there seem to be as many bikers and shirtless, shouting drunks as police ~ but the University of Tasmania, some great restaurants and regularly scheduled AFL football games are infusing the place with a more worldly outlook”.

Junction Arts Festival - AFL Hawks
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AFL Football: the Tassie Hawks in Launceston, Tasmania (Photo by Dan Fellow)

What a bizarre description of the place!  This got me thinking, however, about what the people of Launceston, or conversely people that visit Launceston really think about the city.  Whether a person’s history with the city spans a lifetime or a sneaky weekend away, individuals each have their own experience of the place.

August 2012: Junction Arts Festival

Coming to Launceston in August is an exciting opportunity for locals and visitors alike to rediscover and redefine the city.  As part of the 2012 Junction Arts Festival, a live theatre project called En Route will be divulged and will enable visitors and residents of all ages to explore the city in new ways and fall in love with Launceston all over again.

Junction Arts Festival - En Route to Launceston
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En Route, a theatrical walking tour of Launceston (Photo by Julian Rickert)

For the uninitiated, Junction Arts Festival is an annual participatory contemporary arts festival that takes place in Launceston in August.  This year it’s happening from the 22-26 August.  The festival draws on local, national and international artists from all artistic disciplines to ignite the city and its community in an all-encompassing five-day feast of contemporary art, music and excitement.  Collaboration is at the core of Junction Arts Festival with audience members encouraged to be a part of the artistic works rather than just being passive spectators and programmed artists encouraged to work with one another.

Junction Arts Festival - Performing Artists, Launceston, Tasmania
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En Route: Walking Tour of Launceston, Junction Arts Festival (Photo by Nathan Stoneham)

En Route: Theatrical Walking Tour of Launceston

En Route is one of the many artistic projects coming to Launceston for the Festival.  It is presented in the form of a theatre-come-walking-tour of the city. Complete with audio guide, sound track and instructions, En Route will take small groups through Launceston, discovering hidden or overlooked spaces and telling long forgotten or unknown stories.  It’s a love story with the city, a guide to becoming an explorer of the world, a piece of live theatre where the city becomes the stage and the audience become the actors.

Junction Arts Festival - Clair Korobacz, One Step at a Time Like This
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Clair Korobacz preparing for En Route at Junction Arts Festival 2012

En Route is created by a group of Melbourne artists called One Step At A Time Like This.  As part of Junction Arts Festival’s Artist Residency Program, the collective have already payed a visit to Launceston to research and create the site-specific work.  One Step will be returning to Launceston again in May to put finishing touches on their piece.  One Step has been all over the globe with En Route, commissioned to transform perceptions of global cities from Chicago to Edinburgh and all over Australia.  Most recently the piece was commissioned as one of only 30 international acts for the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad.

Junction Arts Festival - One Step At A Time Like This, En Route to Launceston
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One Step At A Time Like This: Junction Arts Festival (Photo by Kiron Robinson)

Five Days; Fifty Free Events

After the tour, there will be plenty more to experience around Launceston’s CBD as part of the festival including over 50 free events over five days, suitable for all ages and tastes.  A pop-up festival hub come live music venue will also be installed in Civic Square.  Known as the Junc Room and established in a hard- to-miss big top circus tent, the space comes complete with a fully licensed bar and catered café and will be the perfect place to relax with friends and family while enjoying a local drop, some great local produce and a line-up of Australia’s hottest musical acts.


 

Be sure to catch this once in a lifetime itinerary of Launceston, as well as a feast of other arty fun, and fall in love with Tassie’s second largest city from August 22-26 as part of the 2012 Junction Arts Festival.

9 August 2012 ~ You can now win a double pass to one of the events at the Junction Arts Festival…

Stay up to date with all the Junction Arts Festival happenings
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Map: Junction Arts Festival, Launceston Tasmania…