Published: 28 August 2018


Ms FORRESTNext (Murchison) - Mr President, I speak today about a festival based on the north of the state, in Launceston.  I encourage all members to come and experience what I know will be a great event, from 5 to 9 September 2018.  I declare an interest in this festival, being a member of the board of Junction.

To give a little of Junction's history, the Junction Arts Festival was first presented as a one‑off event annexed to the 2010 Regional Arts Australia National Conference - Junction 2010 - which was hosted and organised by the Tasmanian Regional Arts in Launceston.

The inaugural five-day event filled a niche in Tasmania and its success prompted the festival stakeholders, Events Tasmania and the Launceston City Council, to finance development and realise the creation of an annual multi-arts festival.

The Junction Arts Festival was thus established, incorporating as an independent organisation.  In December 2011 Tasmanian Regional Arts completed the transition plan that successfully separated Junction Arts Festival as a discrete legal entity, with the Junction Arts Festival Inc. established on 1 January 2012 to run the Junction Arts Festival.  This is run as an independent not‑for-profit organisation.

Many northern members are well aware of Junction and the great event it is.  The last two years have been particularly focused on showcasing Tasmanian talent and encouraging local businesses and venues to the festival, bringing far-reaching benefits to the northern region.

Junction is now in its eighth year and is described as an intimate festival of 'extraordinary experiences in unusual spaces'.  We are very fortunate to have Greg Clarke as its creative director; he is also well known for his work with the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Sydney's famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.  Greg is also ably supported by the Junction board, which is led by its amazing chair, Liz Francombe, and the management team led by Frith Mabin and Ryan Limb, who are continuing the focus of presenting and celebrating the incredible talent of Tasmanian artists.

This year Junction's festival hub is in and around the stunning nineteenth century Prince's Square, featuring the Fountain Bar, showcasing Tasmania's finest musicians and bands, Tasmanian food and award-winning wines, and the Prince's Palace, which will feature children shows and award-winning cabaret.

Importantly many events are free to attend.  There is something for everyone but you will need to book soon, as some ticketed events are already booking out very quickly.  Some have already sold out.  All the shows and events are listed on Junction's website, where you can also book the tickets.  I will describe a sample of this year's events to whet members' appetites.  Breathtaking will be staged inside Launceston's oldest church, where three extraordinary Tasmanian singers will take your breath away with the sheer beauty and power of their incredible voices.  Launceston's Stompin Youth Dance Company will present, in collaboration with Theatre North, its new work ESC. throughout the backspace areas of Launceston's iconic Princess Theatre.  Taking a sledgehammer to the fourth wall, audiences will go on an intimate adventure rather than watching from the darkness of the stalls.  Making Moves, a Tasdance retrospective, will see Jen Brown's stunning images of Tasdance's contemporary dances lighting up the walls outside the Fountain Bar.  This amazing catalogue of movement and ideas will pay homage to the company's contributions to the artistic life of Launceston.

There are also events suitable for the whole family.  The Mr Spin Show, a thrilling circus for children of all ages, mixes juggling with madcap antics, and an incredible sense of fun - not to mention a few hat tricks thrown in.  Kaput is Tom Flanagan's multi-award winning family show that has melted the hearts of all ages around the world in its glorious brand of Japanese slapstick, acrobatics and total silliness.

Open House Launceston invites you to go behind the scenes of Launceston's most interesting buildings.  You will be able to take a peek at how others live, work and play; look up, look inside, have a stickybeak, and see this curious city from a different angle as we explore classic examples of Victorian, Federation and colonial design that sit alongside an internationally recognised brutalist treasure - which I am sure members in Launceston know about - quintessential Art Deco detailing and an Egyptian-style synagogue. This event includes openings that require no bookings.  All you have to do is turn up.  An event that is truly Tasmanian. 

Nitty Gritty: True Stories told by Humans - two unique storytelling events will occur by local storytellers over two nights, each with its own curious theme, one 'change' and the other 'secrets'.  Curator of this special project and your host is comedian Rachel Berger who will bring untold stories and unfamiliar voices into the public arena, giving them social currency, reaffirming our humanity and bringing us all closer -

This diverse group of storytellers are all uniquely Tasmanian whether they were born here or arrived from elsewhere and have made Tasmania their home. Each night 6 storytellers will share their true stories in the first person and bridge the divide, creating a shared sense of the world. Their stories will connect us and diminish the sense of 'us and them' while also giving a voice to those that have not been heard.

Nitty Gritty is a powerful community event based on authenticity, commitment and trust between the storytellers and the audience.

I encourage all members to go to Junction's website for more details and to make bookings.  I hope to see many of you there.



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