The NSW Festival of Place opens for all

Published: 8 October 2020

The NSW Festival of Place opens for all

A year-long festival celebrating our State’s fantastic public spaces as part of the NSW Government’s COVID Safe Summer program opens today with the release of a spectacular film series from the Sydney Dance Company and a live performance in The Rocks.

The film series, featuring new, never-before-seen dance suites performed in cherished public spaces across NSW, kicks off a year-long program of virtual and physical events exploring and reimagining our civic places.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the Festival of Place encourages people to re-emerge, celebrate and engage with our everyday public spaces safely during and after this extraordinary time.

“It’s been an unusual year and this is not your usual kind of festival – it's a chance for us to build on the new perspectives the pandemic has brought to our local public spaces, which we have come to appreciate and value more than ever this year,” Mr Stokes said.

“The Festival of Place kicks off a year-round celebration today  to inspire us all to enjoy our public spaces and generate ideas for how we can feel good about the places where we live, work, learn and play.”

The Dance Locale films, choreographed by Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela and directed by Pedro Greig, feature the company’s dancers responding to the unique qualities of iconic public spaces across NSW.

“Dance Locale has given us the chance to celebrate and connect with our home city and region during a time when we have had limited opportunities to perform. We are delighted the five films bring dance to iconic locations that embody the breadth and diversity of NSW’s public spaces. The connection between the public realm and the creative spirit is so important,” Mr Bonachela said.

The Festival of Place includes free public and professional events in a program that includes:

  • Dance Locale – five short films choreographed by Sydney Dance Company’s Rafael Bonachela shot in public spaces across NSW
  • I Want To Dance With Somebody – a public participatory event for anyone to learn choreography remotely with Sydney Dance Company, before a major virtual dance performance (January)
  • Summer Night Walks – design buff Tim Ross (Merrick & Rosso) leads well-known personalities including author Julia Baird, comedian Andy Saunders and Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes, on a walk through their favourite public spaces (December to January)
  • Public Space Ideas Competition – an awards event and celebration of wonderful new ideas for public spaces, suggested by you (November)
  • Falling in Love with your Country – a podcast series featuring stories of place hosted by Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones (December)
  • 100 Stories from the Field – Hear from 100 people who care for NSW’s public spaces and what they love about their daily interactions with the places that shape our communities
  • Places to Love – pop-up projects across six NSW council areas reimagining how we can better use public space to spark more social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits for communities
  • My Favourite Places (social pinpoint) - an interactive online map encouraging people to mark up, add comments and share photos about their favourite streets, parks, beaches, libraries and other public places in NSW.

The Festival of Place supports the NSW Government’s COVID Safe Summer Plan, which is aligned with current public health orders and provides councils and managers of public spaces in NSW with practical ideas, resources and a guide to keep public spaces COVID Safe.

Mr Stokes said it also supports the Premier’s Priority to increase the proportion of homes within a 10 minute walk of quality, green open and public space.

“As NSW’s first Public Spaces Minister, I’m thrilled at the results we’re seeing from our investment in public space projects like Streets as Shared Spaces, Everyone Can Play and Parks for People,” he said.

“The Festival of Place opens up even more exciting opportunities for us enjoy our great public spaces and ‘love the place you live.”

The Festival of Place runs from October 2020 through to September 2021. For more information visit: More events will be added in coming months.

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