Don’t be fooled by a seemingly empty suburban warehouse; the vast industrial space is home to Invisible Cities, one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by Brisbane Festival. It will be housed in a bespoke 1050 seat pop-up theatre that will exist for five nights only.

Loosely based on the 1972 novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities is a multi-art-form spectacle that plays its exclusive Australian season from 24 to 28 September. Invisible Cities brings together a global collective of artists. Directed by Leo Warner and encompassing digital and projection storytellers 59 Productions, writer Lolita Chakrabarti, Canadian musicians A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and the full dance company of Rambert.

Audience members are invited inside a cavernous warehouse on Fairfield Road at Yeerongpilly, in Brisbane’s south, which seems at first devoid of any physical elements. As they take their seats around a central space, visions of civilisations are conjured out of thin air via a spellbinding mix of theatre, choreography, music, water, sand, projection mapping and technical wizardry. The audience becomes immersed in the foundation of Zenobia, a city of joy; Beersheba, a celestial city of gold; and Isadora, a city of promise, seduction and desire.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said Invisible Cities solidified Calvino’s bold, dream-like musings on cities, culture and imagination, centering on the edgy relationship between the volatile 13th Century Mongol conqueror and Emperor Kublai Khan and Venetian explorer Marco Polo.  Berthold said Invisible Cities redefined the possibilities of live performance and strengthened Brisbane Festival’s resolve to turn the world’s eyes to Brisbane.“This is a huge undertaking and I am confident it will set a new benchmark in performance innovation and scale.”

Director and founder of 59 Productions, Leo Warner, said “Invisible Cities explores how we can find a way to live amidst the chaos of civilisation. It examines how the choices and actions of humanity shape the world around us.”

An exclusive professional development program will run in conjunction with Invisible Cities, providing opportunities for local artists and practitioners to learn from the global leaders fronting the project.

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