What's On: Deathfest 2.0: A Duel with Death

Cthonica co-presented with Kristian Santic. Image by Matthew Doueal.

Where: Various locations across Brisbane
When:  October 15 – November 4

Following its successful inaugural festival in 2016, Australia’s first arts and culture festival on death, dying and the best way to live returns with another curated program responding to this essential but avoided part of western culture. 

MetroArts’ bi-annual multi-arts festival explores death literacy, grieving, and whole-hearted living through visual art, performance art, talks and discussions, theatre and everything in between.

“Unlike other cultures around the world where death is commemorated through joyous celebrations, here in Australia, we have largely taken grief and mourning behind closed doors,” said Metro Arts Creative Director and CEO Jo Thomas. “Deathfest gives us the opportunity to explore and embrace grief through shared heartbreak or soul-releasing stories. “Works on offer this year are a melting pot of ideas that unite people through shared experiences and stories challenging them to shift their perception and be open to new experiences.”

Deathfest 2.0 returns to Brisbane in 2018 featuring 13 profound works, including five world premieres and six national premieres, plus signature events from across the globe, including:



·        Textile artist Dana Lawrie will create a unique installation reflecting upon impermanence.
·        Artist Kellie O’Dempsey and her team will create a performance reflecting her own experience of not being “allowed” to be at her mother’s funeral as a young girl.
·        Living Out Loud is a sincere and honest panel discussion exploring true experiences with death through prominent Australians including Brisbane clowning brothers, Peter and David Bissell (aka Peebo and Dagwood Clowns), renowned aerialist Lauren Watson, and Melbourne comedian, writer and multi cancer survivor Luke Ryan.
·        In a unique and heartfelt collaboration commissioned by Metro Arts, Queensland’s largest youth circus, Flipside Circus, partners with Hummingbird House – Queensland’s only palliative care facility for children. Flipside has been working with families, children and staff in the House teaching circus skills. Out of these workshops, the team will bring to life We Live Here - a world premiere exploring death from a child’s perspective, the memories we make and how they live on long after we leave.
·        UK artists French & Mottershead offer a deeply affecting aural immersion about the body after death.
·        Julie Vulcan’s new installation Bloodstock considers the anonymous blood donor standing invisibly at the threshold of life and death.
·        The afterlife party, Cthonica encourages you to purge your sins, summon your loved ones and stare into the abyss… A celebration where everyone can have the night of their (after)life with deathjockeys, roving performances and deep dark installations taking you from this life to the next.