Launceston will unfurl like spring blossom as the Junction Arts Festival hits town.

Junction - Arts Festival Circus

Junction Arts Festival (photo by Dan Fellow)

Junction Arts Festival Springs into Launceston

by Wendy Newton

The international multi-arts festival is set to transform the regional Tasmanian city with five-days and nights of world-class, contemporary – and often quirky – performance, music and art. Theatre, dance, live performance, visual and media art, music and literature events that take place on the public and private spaces, in laneways, in iconic Launceston landmarks, as well as in hidden spaces activated by Junction’s unique approach to participatory arts.

More than thirteen thousand visitors will dance, dine and delight as the majestic Junc Room, a Big Top tent that raises its canvas in Civic Square like a pirate ship to announce the arrival of the Festival. Expect to be surprised as art installations, screenings, exhibitions and performances spring up in unexpected places. Temporary playgrounds, least obedient dog shows, beep tests with people who don’t exist, Westerns with real action heroes, unskilled – and amusingly uncoordinated – interpretative dance: these are just some of the fun and whimsical ways you and your family can engage directly in the arts and the distinctive experience that is Junction.

Junction - Arts Festival Big Top

Junc Room Big Top (photo by Dan Fellow)

The picturesque heritage township is set at the junction of two key river systems, so it’s little wonder that one of the flagship performances will take place on the water. Melbourne artist Dan Koop & Co’s unpredictable The Stream/The Boat/The Shore/The Bridge is a live public artwork that will challenge you to navigate the North Esk River in a rowboat, while contemplating the city with fresh eyes and from new vantage points. Inspired by “what if” scenarios and lateral thinking puzzles, you make your own journey around and over the River, but be warned: every choice you make, every action you contribute to the events and activities along the way, will determine where Dan takes you. And while you can’t guarantee where you’ll end up, it’s guaranteed to change the way you see Launceston.

Returning to its second year in the Festival, en route by one step at a time like this is also set to transform the way you see, hear, feel and experience the city. The unexpected live art experience had participants raving last year and with good reason: this theatre-come-walking tour of the hidden aspects of the city unfolds like a love-letter to Launceston – and it’s not to be missed! Guided by directions and instructions made up of snippets of narrative, musings, music, dialogue and philosophy using audio, mobile phone communication, urban streetscapes, walking, passers-by and cafés, en route is a seductive solo journey through the city – and without doubt, the hearts, minds and perceptions of the participants.

Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Children’s Choir

If you’re looking for something less physical, but equally entertaining, the Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Children’s Choir is a laugh-out-loud choral performance by 100 children simulating nonverbal sounds of animals and the industrialised world. This charming world premiere performance, staged by Canada’s Bill Burns and Big Pond Small Fish in the regal Princess Theatre, is bound to captivate as Launceston school children showcase the result of their eight-week residence with Bill to create the libretto – including the visual props, dramatic set and lighting. Marvel as you enter the thoughts of children and have fun with them as they play with the traditional verbal narrative of a choral work.

There’s so much more to see, experience and participate in, and while much of Junction is free, the best advice is to book early for the ticketed shows as they tend to sell out quickly. To view the full program, visit the Junction Arts Festival website and download the new free Junction app from the Apple App Store. And jump into the exciting mix that Junction has to offer.

Note ~ readers currently have the chance to win two tickets to the performance of Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Children’s Choir in Launceston, courtesy of Junction Arts Festival. Good luck with that giveaway. And then we’ll publish more information and photos from Junction Arts Festival in September… Len Langan and Jackie Cox will be attending the festival on behalf of Think Tasmania.

For more information, follow Junction Arts Festival on Facebook or subscribe to receive the Junction newsletter to get the latest details about this year’s performances. Article written by Wendy Newton (author and arts writer) and supplied to Think Tasmania by Marian Suau (communications coordinator) Junction Arts Festival.

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