Come Alive with NOOSA Alive!
As the curtain went down on stayin’ alive for 10 days of arts and entertainment in the cultural playground of Noosa, Helen Flanagan reminisces.
This year’s NOOSA alive! program, masterminded by the producer Tim Loydell and with a revitalised committee, delivered 30 creative and refreshing events and many stellar performances yet all so relevant to today’s broad-ranging tastes. No wonder there were so many sell-outs and continuous rave reviews!
“The opening ceremony was truly stunning,” Tim says. “It showcased the best of our place and its culture. Fire in the Sky also delivered the most amazing afternoon of sun, community and art.”
From the shows programmed at The J, Tim says it was hard to go past the striking, hard-hitting and hilarious A Migrant’s Son by Michaela Burger, a true story exploring migration from Greece to Australia during the 1930s and featured our own Noosa Chorale.
“The energy of hearing such an intimate story supported by the uplifting energy of the chorale group was an experience to behold and I think struck a chord with audiences for its touching moments, genuine humour and outstanding musical talent,” he recalls.
Immediate past-president of the festival Johanne Wright chuckles as she recalls the fantastic story-telling, music and dancing on the opening night when a kangaroo hunt was so magnificently enacted with high fast leaps of a hapless kangaroo dancer.
“Kiwi crooners, the Modern Maori Quartet with great harmonies and subtle humour could have gone on for longer they were so wonderful,” she says.
“I enjoyed hearing about six-time Walkley Award-winning Kerrie O’Brien’s early days as a cadet and some amusing anecdotes from his time in Queensland, his stories about Gough Whitlam’s dismissal, the Hawke/Keating partnership and the John Howard era.”
For foodies, Slow Food with film Chocolat was a knock-out with a divine three-course dinner designed by three amazing chefs. Brilliant award-winning [MIS]Conceive at the Noosa Arts Theatre showed off the extraordinary talents of Thomas E.S Kelly, a proud Bundjalung-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man, who as a choreographer and dancer explored the connection between contemporary culture and traditional motifs.
Another festival sensation was Angharad Drake who opened the evening with delicate folk musings, then welcomed the amazing bombshell Sahara Beck. After taking off with her soaring single Here We Go Again, she shared a great set including her new red-hot release I Haven’t Done A Thing Today, an irresistible art-pop anthem.
The international comedy phenomenon The Umbilical Brothers’ brought their super hilarious live-action Speedmouse that was a delight for the eye, the ear and the spirit. The raves came thick and fast for GANZ A Capella, six fabulous singers on tour from Berlin whose beautiful harmonies and stunning voices captivated the audience.
“Saturday was the ultimate treat,” Johanne says. “It started with Orchestral Magic and Wondrous Arias under the direction of Antoni Bonetti in the afternoon and finished with the Queensland Ballet in the evening.
While the IN Noosa team were “Morpheing”, the Queensland Ballet lived up to its reputation with fantastic choreography, magical dancers, sets and musical accompaniment and of course the always popular and wonderful Q&A with Mao’s last dancer and QB Director, Li Cunxin.
A special treat for Johanne was meeting Sophie Li, his daughter, at drinks afterwards and hearing her stories that embellished his answers to questions from the audience.
“NOOSA alive! has forged a very special relationship with the Queensland Ballet and Li confirmed how important this relationship is to his company in building the opportunities for his young dancers. For me, a very fitting end to the Festival,” she says.
Festival President Andrew Squires said he was thrilled with the engagement and support from the community.
“The overwhelming response we had to all events, across a broad spectrum of diverse and exciting genres, has shown there is a great level of appreciation for these types of festival and events,” he said.
“The 2019 festival program retained the signature events that were well supported and loved, along with the continued collaboration of valued Patrons and Sponsors.
“At the same time, we took the opportunity to reposition the festival to deliver growth and a sustainable future with a growing and emerging market by increasing our online communication and embracing a wide range of the arts in spaces with a difference.
“We’re excited to have forged numerous important relationships for the future and we will be back from 17 – 27 July 2020 with an even better, brighter and more exciting program.” Watch this space!