Natalie Bochenski | 21st November 2013  |  Brisbane Times

The 2014 World Theatre Festival will have one foot in New Farm and one foot in New York, according to the artistic director of the Brisbane Powerhouse.

“When we do WTF what we’re doing for a moment is stopping and celebrating this ongoing international dialogue that Brisbane now has,” Kris Stewart said ahead of the program’s launch on Thursday night.

“I don’t think of Brisbane as a small town that’s too far away from anything important … if anyone still believes that they kind of need to kick themselves in the bum.”

The fifth WTF will feature eleven diverse works from Australia, Ireland, Korea, England, Scotland, Indonesia and the USA.

It includes a collaboration between Opera Queensland and Dancenorth, called Abandon, which premiered in Townsville earlier this year.

It features arias by baroque composer Georg Handel performed by four singers, two musicians and five dancers.

“I feel it is important to head into the future being completely open to new ideas, to explore other artistic genres, cross boundaries, embrace new technology and create innovative work,” said OQ artistic director Lindy Hume, who co-devised the work.

“The ability for those two companies to collaborate and come up with something very different to what they normally would do and what their audiences would normally expect is a really interesting and almost disruptive idea,” Stewart added.

The Powerhouse has also commissioned local playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer and circus performer Chelsea McGuffin to create an aerial performance called She Will Walk the Sky.

“Those two are Australian artists, local artists and international artists … we’re doing that work because it has international resonance,” Stewart said.

The international contingent includes the return of Ireland’s Pan Pan Theatre, which will follow up its 2013 performance of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House with a staging of Samuel Beckett’s radio play All That Fall; Black Faggot, a two man New Zealand comedy about homophobia; children’s puppet theatre event Wedhus Gembel and Irish black Gen Y comedy Solpadeine is My Boyfriend.

Mario: Queen of the Circus, who was one of the hits of La Soiree at this year’s Brisbane Festival will present a full-length show; and an immersive video-goggle show will allow just two audience members at a time to experience life as acrobatic brothers The Great Spavaldos.

“Everything now cherry picks a bunch of influences to try to express something that feels honest and of this moment,” Stewart said.

“The Brisbane Powerhouse exists to express contemporary culture … and WTF is about being in Brisbane, at this moment.”

The World Theatre Festival will run February 13-23, 2014 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

IMAGE: Mario: Queen of the Circus will present a full-length show at the 2014 World Theatre Festival.