The pinnacle of the Northern Territory’s dry season, Darwin Festival, returns from 8 to 25 August with a program set to excite, tantalise and intrigue. With Artistic Director Edwina Lunn returning for her second year at the helm, audiences can expect a program brimming with offerings that explore what it is that makes up ‘This Territory Life’.

With a special section of the program dedicated to a focus on Indonesia, the Festival is proud to present Australian premieres of Papermoon Puppetry’s Mwathirika and an evening of hipster tunes with Jakarta’s White Shoes & The Couples Company, a band who sport a stylin’ name to match their super hip sound.

The program also includes world premieres of a collaboration between Darwin Symphony Orchestra and local indie rockers Green Stone Garden; Tracks Dance Company’s Zombies in the Banyan Tree; and hip hop lady MC Candy B’s saucy as ever Hot Brown Honey Burlesque. Dance lovers will be thrilled to welcome the NT premiere of Shaun Parker & Company’s colourful dance mash-up Happy As Larry and for another Territory first, welcome gypsy troubadour extraordinaire Martin Martini who brings his musical madness to The Lighthouse.

Darwin Festival is proud to announce the inclusion of high profile internationals such as New York’s cabaret wunderkind Taylor Mac; the UK’s ever-risqué country music singer-cum-comedian Tina C; Ireland’s energetically wacky ponydance at Throb nightclub; and the hugely popular Gala Dinner returns with visiting chef, Janet de Neefe (Founder/Director, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival) sharing culinary duties with local heroes Jimmy Shu and Danny Yuem.

In a town full of families, this year’s Festival also has boundless opportunities for youngsters to get involved. Renowned children’s book illustrator Shaun Tan (The Lost Thing) and composer Ben Walsh will bring to life Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival with a tapestry of live instruments and projections in The Amphitheatre; locals Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley draw playful live illustrations to launch their book Too Many Cheeky Dogs, and the Darwin Waterfront is transformed by Polytoxic’s mesmerising technicolour world of Trade Winds, a free walking-on-water spectacular that will bring an extra special sparkle to an already luminous Darwin sunset moment.

This year also sees the return of Trevor Ashley (Liza on an E) with his remarkable Darwin Symphony Orchestra collaboration featuring Shirley Bassey hits in Diamonds are for Trevor; a stellar line-up of artists, educators, scientists, and other smarty-pants experts delving deep into life in the secrets of the NT for the This Territory Life series; and Darwin’s own ‘choose your own adventure mani-pedi’, Talon Salon. And, let’s not forget the revival of the Nightcliff Pool Closing Party to wrap the Festival with a splash.

DATES:    Thursday 8 – Sunday 25 August 2013