People, Places, Stories: City of Mandurah gears up for jam-packed, new-look arts festival

People, Places, Stories.

That is the focus of this year's new-look Mandurah Arts Festival, celebrating local art, culture and community in the region.

After almost 20 years as the iconic Stretch Arts Festival, the event has had a makeover of epic and exciting proportions and now sports a new name, jam-packed program and warmer time of year.

Formerly a two-day event, the Mandurah Arts Festival will launch on Saturday and run over the first three weekends of November, with plenty of awesome activities to take part in all across the city.

City of Mandurah councillors first discussed 'stretching out stretch' after a proposal was brought forward in November 2018 to extend the creative festival.

Elected representatives then voted in favour of a name change and rebranding in July, 2019.

The new program and identity was developed after careful consultation with the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Visit Mandurah and past Stretch Festival stakeholders.

Photo: Supplied.

Photo: Supplied.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said he was excited to Mandurah immerse itself in our already impressive local arts scene.

"Arts and culture are an economic driver and give us a chance to celebrate our city," he said.

"Over the coming years, we want to position Mandurah as a cultural city with heaps of art activities happening right across the place, all through the year.

"To kick that off, the Mandurah Arts Festival will replace the old Stretch to not only showcase our local artists but also bring artists in from outside of Mandurah and really celebrate culture and arts."

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The streets of Mandurah will come alive with the calendar of action-packed activities, as stories of local people are shared through visual arts, film, music, dance, performance and the written and spoken word.

Mr Williams said he was looking forward to seeing the festival expand even further as it shines a light on local cultural and environmental stories.

"The new Mandurah Arts Festival will transport us to new lands and states of mind, bringing people to share and delight in our Mandjoogoordap, our meeting place of the heart," he said.

"This is an experimental festival - from the format to the content and even the audience. We want people who wouldn't normally come to an arts event to feel they are an integral part of the Mandurah Arts Festival.

"We are starting small to give the festival the opportunity to grow organically, with community at its heart."

The festival will launch on November 2 with a large-scale photographic exhibition, Faces of Mandurah, on the Mandurah Bridge, as well as a community picnic and film screening.

Throughout the entire three-weekend long festival, 35 artists will open their studio doors as part of Peel Open Studios for everyone to enjoy, accompanied by more than 15 other projects and events throughout some of the city's most popular locations.

Musical Fruit will wrap up the festival on November 16 and 17, transforming Keith Holmes Reserve into a launch pad for home-grown musicians to show off their talent.

For the full festival program, visit the Mandurah Arts Festival website.

Other Mandurah Arts Festival highlights:

  • Nov 9: The Wearable Art Mandurah Bridge Walk will feature West Australian Opera and community choirs accompanied by a showcase of some of the 2019 competition's garments at Dalrymple Park.
  • Nov 9 and 10: Enticing and magical, visit the Rogue Forest in Tuckey Lane to experience the beauty of an urban space, transformed with native flora, songs, stories and workshops that will green your day and inspire you.
  • Nov 16: The annual Tiny Treasures Christmas Artists' Sale opens at Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah, showcasing 36 local artisans. Come along to view unique, handcrafted artworks ready for immediate sale and gifting under the Christmas tree.
  • Nov 17: The CASM Carpark Artists' Market is a great opportunity to pick up a Christmas gift, or just browse the art stalls and check out the CASM gallery. Kick back to mellow tunes from local acoustic performers, watch live demonstrations and enjoy a hot coffee and local nibbles.
  • Nov 22: The inaugural TAKE1 Youth Screen Festival will culminate with a gala screening of selected short films created by 15-25 year olds.