Something for everyone at New Annual

The Newcastle Arts Festival flagship, New Annual is back with a vibrant array of performances catering for all ages and tastes.

In 2021, the event attracted more than 30,000 people and supported more than 500 artists and 250 staff, crew and volunteers, as well as a sharp increase in occupancy rates and revenue for local accommodation providers.

And organizers expect those numbers to be even stronger this time around.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes admitted the 2022 program was diverse and ambitious.

“We are very excited to host this amazing arts and culture event again in September,” she said.

“It will allow locals and visitors to discover a new side of Newcastle while witnessing the spirit and energy of our city and its creative community during the festival.”

New Annual features Hunter and nationally known artists offering a mix of free, paid, and family-friendly events.

The breadth of the program is underscored by its 14 headliners, including Colossus, a contemporary dance performance created by renowned Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake; This Land, a musical showcase of award-winning and celebrated First Nations artists; and Radial presented by Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation.

Other areas of the city will be transformed with installations such as a purpose-built stage in Civic Park and the architect-designed Pavilion of Sand at Wheeler Place.

Cr Nelmes said the second edition, starting this weekend, would be a big draw for the city.

“The first New Annual, held in early 2021, was welcomed by the Newcastle community,” she explained.

“It has brought an important economic boost to the arts, hospitality and tourism sectors while celebrating and showcasing our creative side.”

The full New Annual program and ticket sales are available online at

2022 New Year Highlights


  • VENUE: Civic Theater
  • EVENTS: September 23 (8 p.m.)
  • September 24 (2:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m.)
  • COSTS: $49

Colossus is a contemporary dance performance created by internationally renowned Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake.

The exhilarating show features captivating and hypnotic dance work by pre-professional and local artists from Sydney Dance Company, exploring relationships between the individual and the collective, with a cast of 50 performing together on the Civic Theater stage – all in the name of synchronicity.

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Out of the darkness they emerge, a dizzying mass of throbbing bodies. The ebb and flow of humanity is embodied in this surging multitude of life, but can a multitude be greater than the sum of its parts? As intricate patterns weave through the cast of characters, a single movement sets off a chain reaction that brings order to the fragile whole of chaos.


  • VENUE: Jägerstrasse 164
  • EVENTS: 23 September (exhibition 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; performance 7.30 p.m.)
  • 24 – 25 September (exhibition 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; performances 6 – 7.30 p.m.)
  • 29 September – 2 October (exhibition 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; performances 6 p.m., 7.30 p.m.)
  • COSTS: Free

Presented by Newcastle Art Gallery, Justin Shoulders Titan Arum sparks your imagination with this exotic performance in a landscape that is both familiar and alien. A sensory ceremony of dance, light and sound in a community garden featuring hanging fruit and carnivorous plants, the immersive installation work is also activated with ‘live’ shows throughout the festival.

To continue Shoulder’s interest in evolution and hybridity, Titan Arum spawns ambiguous beings. Are they pollinators, parasites or hosts?

Experience how artistic craftsmanship meets eerie puppetry and the language of diasporic queer club country. Suitable for all ages.


  • VENUE: Citizen Park stage
  • EVENTS: September 23 (7 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)
  • September 24 (7 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)
  • September 25 (7 p.m., 8:30 p.m.)
  • COSTS: $49

Immerse yourself in this family-friendly, immersive aerial extravaganza and witness the interaction between performance and real-time reaction technology. Stalker Theater’s production Mountain wows the crowds with its four performers seamlessly fusing acrobatics, innovative physical and visual performances… and challenges us to reconsider our love for the Australian bush.

After the 25-minute performance, children and adults are invited to rediscover the environment, wildlife and relationship as the stage transforms into an interactive Australian habitat.


  • VENUE: Citizen Park stage
  • DATE: September 28 (5 p.m.)
  • COSTS: $25
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Join friends and family in celebrating the return of This Land, a First Nations celebration that celebrates the sound, soul and spirit of this land’s many nations.

There are many voices shaping this nation, but none is stronger and more united than the First Peoples.

Lyrics are a form of communication passed from generation to generation, shaping the original nations and identity of our homes.

In 2022, we’re celebrating This Land’s greatest year yet by highlighting a handful of award-winning and celebrated First Nations musicians, curated by Jacob Ridgeway and featuring Tasman Keith (pictured), The Last Kinection, YNG Martyr, Cloe Terare, Loren Ryan, Mr Rhodes, Djanaba and MC Andy Saunders.

They shape the voices of the next generation.


  • VENUE: Newcastle Museum
  • EVENTS: September 29 (7:30 p.m.)
  • September 30 (6 p.m.)
  • 1 October (7.30 p.m.)
  • COSTS: $39

Inspired by the legendary block parties of 1970s New York, Sydney-based choreographer Nick Power (Two Crews, Between Tiny Cities) pays tribute to the origins of hip-hop.

At the edge of the stage, the audience is brought close to the action to create a powerful and intimate space for the showdown.

Featuring world champion turntablist DJ Total Eclipse (AB Original, Funkoars) with three of Australia’s most respected breakers – Justice Crew member and Australia’s Got Talent winner Anastasios Repousi; Jackson Garcia, member of Skill at Will and Team Cream; and legendary Aussie b*girl Demi Sorono.

Deejay x Dancer walks the tightrope of live performance in a thrilling call-and-response showdown, highlighting the skill, playfulness and connection between these two traditional hip-hop forms.


  • VENUE: Citizen Park stage
  • EVENTS: September 29 (7 p.m.)
  • September 30 (7 p.m.)
  • COSTS: $25

Part park party, part cabaret, and part epic multimedia extravaganza, Lightyears From Home combines a few high-impact elements and fun interactive moments from the integalacular sci-fi show. Dress up in your best sci-fi party finery to take part in the silent disco DJ sets, highly skilled physical performances, and projection-mapping performances that take place in and on a real, full-size spaceship.

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The spacecraft, made by XYZ Dimensions from recycled industrial waste, has only been seen twice across Australia and is now landing in Newcastle. Catch it before it takes off into deep space again.

Photo: Keith Saunders


  • VENUE: Newcastle Museum
  • EVENTS: September 30 (7 p.m.)
  • 1 October (6.00 p.m., 8.30 p.m.)
  • COSTS: $49

Hailed as one of Australia’s most exciting and forward-thinking ensembles, the Omega Ensemble returns at New Annual to present a heart-rending program of music by key contemporary voices including Bryce Dessner, Missy Mazzoli, Alex Turley and two exciting world premieres of Nico Muhly and Christopher Cerrone.

Presenting the ensemble as a well-oiled virtuoso machine, this performance departs the traditional concert hall for a unique experience at Newcastle Museum, with the collection’s prized 150-year-old locomotive, The Buck, serving as the monolithic backdrop to this awe-inspiring musical event.


  • VENUE: Newcastle Town Hall
  • DATE: 1 October (14:30-18:00)
  • COSTS: $39

For one shipment only. What should we call a future worth fighting for? Epoch Wars is a seismic, anarchic, immersive adventure disguised as a conference; A festival of deep time ideas where you can name our geological age. Earth’s history is divided into massive periods of time called “epochs.” At the moment, a competition is raging for our piece to be renamed the “Anthropocene” – the Age of Human Influence. But the “Anthropocene” holds us all responsible for Earth’s dire circumstances, not the responsible corporations, CEOs, and incumbents. Epoch Wars infiltrates Newcastle City Hall and recruits you and a live art army of Australia’s most exciting artists and speakers to fight for the naming rights to our future together. The geological just got personal.

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