From the ed­i­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

IT’S al­ways a huge plea­sure to flee the bonds of head of­fice and east­ern sum­mer time and go to Perth’s arts fes­ti­val: yes, even when the three-hour time dif­fer­ence wreaks havoc with one’s sched­ule. In fact, the dis­lo­ca­tion is part of the ex­pe­ri­ence I find — the sense of be­ing in an­other world is more in­tense. It is ex­tremely con­ducive to fes­ti­val­go­ing. It was also a plea­sure to have a nat­ter with new Perth In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val artis­tic di­rec­tor Jonathan Hol­loway and find him ex­cep­tion­ally up­beat about his first out­ing. We talked a bit about how ticket sales can never be the full mea­sure of arts suc­cess, yet if peo­ple don’t respond to what you of­fer, you prob­a­bly need to take a look at what you’re do­ing. Well, the peo­ple of Perth ap­pear to have re­sponded whole­heart­edly to Hol­loway’s pro­gram, some­thing he found ex­tremely up­lift­ing. Perth was one of the most cul­tur­ally re­cep­tive places in the world, he said, and if he had any lin­ger­ing cyn­i­cism af­ter work­ing in the arts for many years, it couldn’t sur­vive here. He was thrilled 30,000 peo­ple turned out to see Place des Anges, the open­ing-night spec­tac­u­lar that show­ered the city with feathers, but took par­tic­u­lar plea­sure in the re­sponse of one of that num­ber, an 80-yearold woman. She told Hol­loway it had been like the war end­ing all over again; an in­spir­ing re­sponse. An­other woman, wheel­chair-bound, had been able to ex­pe­ri­ence Orac­u­los — a show seen by only one per­son at a time — be­cause it was spe­cially adapted for her. Hol­loway is not wrong to see these mo­ments as cru­cial. Big au­di­ences are cre­ated per­son by per­son, each one of them unique.

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