Noosa Alive! Celebrating the 20th Anniversary

Image source: IN Noosa Magazine

Prepare to be dazzled by inspirational performers, musicians, actors, authors, artists, chefs and a Hollywood legend. Helen Flanagan heads backstage with Festival Director Ian Mackellar to explore the 20th anniversary line up at NOOSA alive!

With more than 25+ events NOOSA alive! celebrates the essence of our region – its diversity, beauty, tenacity, First Nations culture and vibrant creative community with innovative theatre, music, cabaret, dance, visual art, even family-friendly events and free shows on offer this year. 

Festival Director Ian Mackellar has been at the helm for 12 years and together with the team of mostly volunteers, is committed to delivering a 20th year celebration that is diverse, entertaining, accessible and inclusive – and of course memorable. Let’s see…

The triple ARIA award-winning Grigoryan Brothers, Slava and Leonard have created an expansive, yet intimate, musical vision of what it means to be Australian. This is Us is an original musical reflection of Australia, inspired by iconic objects from the National Museum. Crafted around 18 personally selected and culturally significant objects choosing artefacts representing some of our First Nations’ history as well as colonisation, migration, innovation and stories of love and loss. Don’t miss this  moving and poignant performance.

To call Paul Kelly and Paul Grabowsky Australian music royalty is no exaggeration. Sharing the stage, the two Pauls are even more than the sum of their astronomical parts, bringing their ARIA-winning Please Leave Your Light On album to the stage. This show is a deep dive into Kelly’s beloved songs – and Grabowsky’s astonishing powers to reimagine them –  with nothing more than that voice, a piano and the occasional harmonica. Inspired by Frank Sinatra’s partnership with orchestrator Nelson Riddle, Kelly and Grabowsky dive deep into “torch song” territory.

“The reason I love working with Paul is that he always surprises me,” said Kelly. “He is endlessly fertile, turning my songs inside out and upside down and finding things in them I did not know were there. And that makes me sing them differently. Singing with Paul is like walking a tightrope. It is as if we are acrobats together. We must pay serious attention to one another to pull the songs off. I like that.”

Grabowsky added: “Paul is a generous collaborator, always listening closely to what I am doing, and giving me the freedom to bring my own interpretation to the songs. I think people will hear, and hopefully enjoy, the deep communication that we are bringing to the performance.” 

Head to Paris Underground. Crazy. Sexy. Cool. An eye to the dark side; a night to remember! Draw the curtain on a stage that will darkly seduce and intoxicate you with a moveable feast of song, dance, burlesque, comedy, circus and cabaret. You will witness astounding acts of magic and illusion, spectacular tap dancing, brilliant burlesque, breath taking aerials, quirky circus and incendiary song in a classic European cabaret and variety show. 

Including the striking and rare magic of Julia Madotti, one of Australia’s few female magicians and illusionists; the beauty and grace of circus artiste and aerial angel Hannah Trott; the dynamic punch and rare skill of tap king Eden Read; the i- demand charming chanteuse, singer and actor Aurora Kurth; the dynamic dancing and sultry smoulder of burlesque artist and showgirl Mimi Le Noire; the comedic, the talented circus performer Tim Rutty and MC maestro Monsieur Marveaux, and but not least, the comedic and devilishly handsome Richard Vegas! Check out the Express version at 5pm! 

But be quick, it’s 75% sold out, as is trumpet virtuoso James Morrison who is thrilled to return to Noosa with new numbers and blasts from the past. 

“I always love playing those classics people remember from previous visits, but we’re always adding new songs and arrangements to the repertoire, so the audience can expect to have an inspiring experience,” he said. “The Quartet is perhaps my best band yet – my sons William and Harry on guitar and bass, are joined by an amazing drummer Patrick Danao and a singer who manages to be both traditional (think Sarah Vaughan) and refreshing in her approach, Adelina Martinez. “I have just finished work on a new trumpet. It is gorgeous, such a silky tone and really suits the more ‘intimate’ way, I like to play now.” Don’t miss it!

Split your sides laughing with the Multicultural Comedy Gala – a cracking night of laughter celebrating cultural diversity with a star-studded line-up including Akmal, Georgie Caroll, Ting Lim, and Steph Tisdell who touch on cultural identity in a hilarious concoction of comedy that pokes fun at what makes us all different, but very much the same.

The Festival would not be the same without a play from David Williamson AO, who with wife Kristin started the Noosa Long Weekend Festival as it was formerly known, with friends in 2002. Alas, the Gala Opening Night of Money & Friends directed by son Rory Williamson is sold out! Be quicker next time. 

Festival Director Ian Mackellar is particularly excited to present Noosa STARS alive! – a youth incentive program he has developed and produced to showcase talented artists aged 8-18 years. Having passed an audition, 12 finalists will be vying for the crown in a star-studded finale hosted by Damian Anthony Rossi – aka ‘Mr. Hollywood’.

Art hits the high notes with the Noosa Regional Art Gallery’s exhibition of works by Fiona Foley and Michael Cook. Read all about it on page 124 with insight from Gallery Director Michael Brennan. 

The Hastings Street Long Lunch, will dish up creative menus from the likes of Rococo, Locale, Aromas, Bistro C, Season and Aromas. Will the colourful street performers, bubbles of Dal Zotto Prosecco and a jazz quintet inspire some dancing in the street? Most likely.

Prepare for a further taste sensation on 24 July when the Apollonian Hotel comes alive for Food Presented in an Entertaining Way in conjunction with Food & Agribusiness Network and featuring the very best local producers. 

It’s Hooray for Hollywood and Thanks For The Memories! with the legendary Al Rossi sharing the stage and his lifetime of achievements at Noosa Waterfront for an intimate chat with son Damian Anthony Rossi. 

The Los Angeles-based American actor/director will share celebrity stories, hilarious anecdotes and golden memories from his colourful Hollywood and Theatre career that spans over 50 years.Having authored books and worked with many of Hollywood’s biggest film and TV stars including Charlton Heston, Dean Martin, Jessica Tandy, Alan Alda, Mark Hamill and Timothy Robbins; appeared in some of television’s most iconic series’ including M*A*S*H, The Rockford Files, and The Streets of San Francisco; as well as conducting, in-depth interviews with legendary actors such as Lord Laurence Olivier, Sir Alec Guiness and Sir John Gielgud for his book, Astonish Us in the Morning. And that is just a snippet! 

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks AO will be IN Conversation with Lisa Millar talking about Horse, her vivid new novel for lovers of sweeping historical fiction; and the Evie Networks Marquee will again see a feet-in-the-sand, food and drink in hand, entertainment extravaganza on Noosa Main Beach from 28 to 31 July with something for everyone. From Moonlight Serenade – an enchanting evening of Opera under the Stars to a smoking-hot Jazz ‘n’ Blues finale! 

Little Beanies aged 3-9 years of age will adore The Beanies direct from Sydney, with two shows on Noosa Beach and Seaside Vibes Music Festival returns with top Indy bands, including Shag Rock and Tijuana Cartel with more to be announced rocking the marquee with their high-energy music!

Tickets are selling fast and there’s more to come so be sure to keep an eye on www.noosaalive.com.au and be quick!

About the Author /

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Noosa’s sophisticated charm, vibrant food culture and the magnetism of a subtropical paradise surrounded by national parks, inveigled Helen’s manic world and flipped it on its side. She pursues the good life with gusto, instinctively understanding the joys of travel, the art of story-telling, a candid review and surviving another reno whilst thriving on the motto Live Laugh Love!

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