UK/Australia Season

Who Are We Now? is the question put under the microscope in the largest cultural exchange taking place between Australia and the United Kingdom (UK).

Called the ‘UK/Australia Season’, this long-running collaborative project developed between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade presents Australian and UK artists, academics and change makers from diverse backgrounds. An evolving program of 200+ in-person and digital events will showcase visual art, dance and performance, music, design, architecture, theatre, film and workshops, panel discussions, symposiums and other interactive conversations. ‘UK/Australia is on in Australia until March 2022, and in the UK until December 2022.

Graham Denholm, Truth to Power Café – digital theatre. Courtesy UK/Australia Season 2021

The ‘UK/Australia Season’ will take audiences on a deep dive into shared histories between our nations, explore our current relationship and imagine what our future together could be. Some of the most important issues of our times; identity and belonging, the environment and climate change, gender equality, racial discrimination and poverty will tumble out in powerful and provocative ways.

As we have witnessed through these trying times, the arts and entertainment sector has and continues to play an important and valuable role in creating joy and positivity while stepping through the challenges, ‘the show must go on’ it says. Move forward, look to the future, embrace diversity, be more inclusive and face truth.

“In this time of ongoing change, it is the artists and thinkers who help us make sense of things. They will show us who we really are, and who we might become,” says Helen Salmon, Season Director and Director of the British Council in Australia.

‘Truth to Power Café’, a digital theatre adaptation shines a light on the community of Narre Warren on Bunurong and Wurundjeri lands, who respond to the question, who has power over you and what do you want to say to them. Activated via memoir, poetry, image, music, and film, this performance brings truths to the surface and points to those in positions of trust or authority who don’t want to hear it. Inspiring portrayals of strength and determination unfold across stories of migration, resettling, otherness, trauma and loss. This event opens at Adelaide Festival centre on 1 October and is followed by free online screenings from 2 to 31 October. Read more about the international ‘Truth to Power Café ‘ project and register here.

Lisa Reid, 1990’s Sony Mega Bass Walkman with a Dolly Parton Tape, 2020, glazed earthenware, 7 x 11 x 8cm. Courtesy the artist and Arts Project Australia, Melbourne

The dynamic program brings new commissions from Art et al, the international art-based initiative connecting neurodivergent, and intellectually and learning-disabled artists with their peers and sector professionals, presented across exhibitions, panel discussions and mentoring sessions. First on the calendar is ‘Life Work’, London-based Australian writer Jennifer Higgie, sheds light on the creative practices of Australian artists Matthew Clarke, Mathew Calandra and Lisa Reid.

From 21 October, and with one new release each month until March 2022, the ‘UK/AU Digital Season’, a partnership between Sydney Opera House and the British Council, will launch a moving program of digital performances by UK artists working across a range of art forms and formats, and will feature new works in response to recent global challenges. Get updates on performances here.

In November and December, ‘The British Film Festival’ sets the reels in motion at Palace Cinemas, Australia-wide, and will be screening UK films from around the British Isles across various genres including documentaries, biographies, literary adaptations and other cinematic directions. Visit The British Film Festival website dates and bookings and sign up to get updates as new releases are added to the calendar.

There is so much more to explore during the ‘UK/Australia Season’, jump online to see what’s coming up, book your tickets and register for free events and updates.