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Darwin Festival – Q&A with Acting Artistic Director Felix Preval

Darwin Festival is almost upon us and anticipation is running high.

For three weeks in August, Darwin is abuzz with some of the hottest music, theatre, comedy and cabaret – all in our own backyard.

This year’s program looks a treat with riveting theatre, incredible music and joyous public dance activities that make the most of the delicious Dry season.

We can’t wait for the twinkling of fairy lights and lantern fish that signal Festival Park is alive with good food and great arts, where sounds from The Lighthouse waft over the crowds and good spirits prevail.

It’ll be a busy person who gets to see it all, but if you have to choose, here’s a few you should add to your ticket list, from the moving Stolen Generation's tale HART to Cambodian-Australian b-boys to rising star Yirrmal.

Darwin Festival boasts a whopping 80 shows this year. Off The Leash caught up with Felix Preval as he launched his first program as Acting Artistic Director.

How would you sum up this year's Darwin Festival program? 

Largely we were looking to curate a festival program that we think reflects something of the Territory spirit. So it’s fun, irreverent, a little bit cheeky and makes the most of the Dry season: people out and about, enjoying the beautiful August nights.

Dance seems to be a big feature this year, what shows excite you?

There’s a special program we’ve created called Dance Darwin Dance, which is three weekends of free participatory dance works in public places. We know that Darwin loves to boogie and we’re taking the dancing to the streets. It starts with You Should be Dancing Darwin, which is a large-scale celebration of community and social dance 
– there’ll be dancing lessons and community dance displays. Between Tiny Cities  is a dance collaboration between hip-hop b-boys from Darwin and Cambodia and it’s like a cross-cultural conversation about what it is to be a dancer in these two distinct cities.

What local acts are not to be missed? 

We’re excited to have B2M open the festival at the Santos Opening Night Concert. We’re stoked to have Shellie Morris back to the festival with her show Shellie Morris and Friends: Journey Home. We’re excited to be closing the festival with rising talent Yirrmal. For those you haven’t had the chance to hear him sing live, The Lighthouse is going to be a particularly beautiful setting for that. We also have local legends Dave Garnham and the Reasons to Live playing backing band for American country music star Leo Rondeau. 
What makes Darwin Fest different from other major festivals? Darwin Festival has its origins as a grassroots community festival and I think this is still a huge part of its strength. The impact that community support has on the festival and the positive impact the festival has on the lives of the community are always in balance. 

Thu 10 – Sun 27 Aug | See the event listing. 

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