The Powerhouse will celebrate its 21st anniversary next month with a 10-day celebration of the former coal-fired power station turned gallery and theatre.
Celebrations will stretch right back to 1994, when a 10-day multi-arts festival set Brisbane Powerhouse on its path to become one of the city’s premier live performance venues.
Tranceplant adopted the abandoned New Farm Powerhouse as an exhibition space of up to 100 performers per night, with large scale performances, installations, and visual arts that laid the foundation for Brisbane Powerhouse as a cultural arts venue.
The Tranceplant History Project, a digital archive of the Tranceplant festival, will be launched during a Writers+Ideas event on May 12. Moderated by ABC Radio host and InQueensland columnist Rebecca Levingston, hear from the original producers and participants Andy Forbes, Jay Younger, Anthony Babicci and Kiley Gaffney.
Brisbane Powerhouse CEO Fiona Maxwell said paying homage to the building and its legacy is a necessary part of the celebrations.
“Tranceplant was one of those city-defining cultural moments when Australia’s most innovative and experimental visual, installation and performance artists took over the then-abandoned power station and provided a glimpse of what might be possible for the iconic building,” Maxwell said.
“As the first official ‘festival’ at the precinct – one that inadvertently influenced the flair and flavour of today’s much-loved festivals in the venue and indeed the contemporary, local and often avant-garde programming we are renowned for – it’s important for us to pay homage to Tranceplant with a very special event.”
The celebration will also see a revisit of Brisbane Powerhouse’s history with Regenerate, an exhibition in three acts which show the transformation of the venue, displayed at Brisbane Powerhouse until May 15.
“The story of Brisbane Powerhouse spans much longer than our 21 years as a performance space,” Maxwell said.
“This special exhibition exposes the building’s foundations as a coal-fired power station and reveals its transformation from a derelict industrial space to a cultural icon.
“The final ‘act’ celebrates the thousands of extraordinary Brisbane, Australian and international artists and audiences who have been an integral part of the last 21 years,” Maxwell said.
Brisbane Powerhouse is also holding a 21st Birthday Concert on May 15, a variety concert hosted by Mel Buttle which includes Kate Miller-Heidke, Wil Anderson, Clare Bowditch, William Barton with Camerata and more.
The birthday celebrations will see Brisbane rock icons george perform their popular album Polyserena over four shows from May 6-8.
Artistic director of Brisbane Powerhouse, Kris Stewart, said that a 21st birthday fits in with the Powerhouse’s rogueish charm, not phased their 20th anniversary was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“We’re certainly a glass-half-full bunch at Brisbane Powerhouse, and while a venue might traditionally celebrate its milestones in decades, a 21st celebration feels more appropriate for us,” Stewart said.
“Since it reopened its doors as a celebrated cultural precinct in May 2000, Brisbane Powerhouse has supercharged the careers of thousands of artists.
“We’re extremely proud that so many of them will return as part of our big birthday bash, including alt-pop princess Kate Miller-Heidke, who made her mainstage debut at Brisbane Powerhouse at 18, and legendary Brisbane band george who were the first band ever to play on the Powerhouse Theatre stage.”
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the Powerhouse was key to Brisbane’s arts community because of the volume of performances it hosts, over 1250, but also its long history within the cultural fabric of Brisbane.
“Delivering a diverse range of art exhibitions, shows, festivals and performances, it really is a powerhouse of creativity; a powerhouse of culture and the arts; and a powerhouse of community.”
Brisbane Powerhouse 21st celebrations kick off May 6 and run ’til May 15. For more information and tickets to various events, visit the Powerhouse website.Jump to next article