There’s a confidence and assurance at play in the programming by Australian arts organisations for 2024. A desire to keep things fresh through adventurous choices, a spirit of cooperation between companies, a focus on empathy and shared experiences, and a continuing commitment to the presentation of premieres, including work by women and First Nations artists: these are some of the themes that emerge as Yvonne Frindle, Paul Ballam-Cross, Deborah Jones, Steve Dow, Jansson J. Antmann and Jo Litson analyse the arts on offer in the year ahead.

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra musicians

by Yvonne Frindle

A spirit of optimism pervades the 2024 programming. Not Voltaire’s “madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong”, but a confidence and assurance. It can be seen in the bold designs and the splashes of bright, warm colours that characterise most of the season brochures, and it will be heard in many of the musical choices.

by Paul Ballam-Cross

Looking over the seasons of Australia’s chamber ensembles for the year ahead, it’s always exciting to see what each group has programmed and how they plan to play with audience expectations, in a bid to push away from predictability and ensure that they keep things fresh. This also means we’re seeing more and more works by female or First Nations composers. It certainly suggests a terrific year ahead; audiences will be spoiled for choice with some enormously creative programs lighting up concert halls across the country.

Festival of Outback Opera

by Deborah Jones

In the 6th century BCE, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus posited that everything is in a constant state of change. It’s proved to be a remarkably durable observation, one that can be applied effortlessly to opera and dance in 2024.

by Steve Dow

Australia needs both common ground and a greater capacity for understanding difference right now, riven as the nation has been by division. In 2024, our theatres again become sites of pilgrimage where audiences can immerse themselves in acts of empathy.

by Jansson J. Antmann

Shared experiences and spaces are part and parcel of any festival, but they also promote placemaking – the very practical science of creating public spaces to promote well-being, coupled with a desire to foster local pride. This second, more intangible goal relies on a unified sense of shared ownership and belonging. In short, creative harmony breeds social harmony.

by Jo Litson

There’s plenty to excite musical theatre lovers in 2024, with a plethora of shows across the country, ranging from commercial revivals of popular productions and new productions of crowd favourites, to several brand-new Australian musicals from our state theatre and opera companies.

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