On Wednesday 8 November the UWA Perth International Arts Festival Artistic Director, Lindy Hume announced, for the last time, the 2007 Festival programme.

In her fourth and final year as artistic director, the Great Southern programme is set to export a wonderful mix of international events, which are united by the Festival theme of The Human Family.

Highlights of the Great Southern programme include the highly anticipated Company B production of Casey Bennetto's Keating!  Part French farce, part Greek tragedy and all Australian history, this biting musical comedy uses live music (rock, funk, rap and reggae) to chart the rise, fall and rise again of Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating.  Currently playing to standing ovations at Sydney's revamped Belvoir St Theatre, Keating! will play at Albany's Townhall Theatre for two nights only.

The Perth Festival's Great Southern musical programme has a truly international line-up, ranging from the refined chamber music of Poland's Royal String Quartet to the haunting Tunisian harmonies of Dhafer Youssef and the rich Malian melodies of Habib Koité and Bamada.  Throw in the musical comedy of The Kransky Sisters, from rural outback Australia - and there really is something for everyone.

"The Festival connects with over 300,000 people," Ms Hume said, "How you experience the Festival - who you're sharing it with and the environment in which you share it, very much affects your response.  Whether the experience is challenging or joyful, it's important to share these moments."

Another Great Southern favourite is the Lotterywest Festival Films programme, which features eight great films, from seven different countries.  Academy Award Nominated romantic comedy ‘Orchestra Seats' and Francis Veber's ‘The Valet' are France's double bill, as well as other European titles including ‘After the Wedding' from Denmark's festival favorite - Susanne Bier, the gentle Italian postwar melodrama ‘The Second Wedding Night' and Neil Jordan's surreal and poignant ‘Breakfast on Pluto'.  From further afield, Argentinean Academy Award nominee ‘Family Law', the highly anticipated Chinese film, ‘Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles' directed by Zhang Yimou and the insightful Iranian comedy ‘Offside' complete the movie line-up.

The Great Southern Words & Ideas programme showcases a wonderful range of literary events, starting off with this year's One Book - Markus Zusak's highly acclaimed The Book Thief.  Albany's book lovers will have the chance to meet Markus as well as hear readings, discussions and even attend a Celebrity Book Club to share their One Book experiences with festival "literati".

Along with Markus Zusak, the Words & Ideas programme also includes Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian and James Bradley, author of The Resurrectionist, who will give talks at Albany's public library.

Other events included in the programme are Emblems of Belonging - exploring the realm of belonging between the objective and the expressive through Visual Arts and Taste Great Southern's inspirational food and wine festival.

The UWA Perth International Arts Festival is creating a new family this year - one which links artists and audiences to form an experience that stimulates the mind, body and soul and Festival Director Lindy Hume wants everybody to join the fun:

"The Great Southern community is a special part of the Festival's extended family and in 2007 to celebrate the theme of The Human Family we are bringing a substantial range of Festival fare for all to enjoy.

"This year's Festival is full of things for families of all kinds to do together...so bring your family, your neighbours or your mates to an event in YOUR festival, and share it with someone special."

The Great Southern programme is supported by the Department of Local Government and Regional Development; Great Southern Development Commission; Skywest; City of Albany; ABC Great Southern; Albany Advertiser; Albany Public Library; Great Southern Regional Marketing Association; The Weekender; Water Corporation, Albany; Wignall's Winery; and writingWA.

The Great Southern Launch takes place on Wednesday 6 December and brochures will be available from Thursday 7 December.

Tickets for all Great Southern events are available:
Date From Thurs 7 Dec
From Albany Town Hall Theatre / Box Office : 9841 1661

The UWA Perth International Arts Festival runs from 9 February to 4 March 2007.

About The UWA Perth International Arts Festival
Founded in 1953 by The University of Western Australia, the Perth International Arts Festival is the oldest international arts festival in Australia and Western Australia's premier cultural event. It has developed a worldwide reputation for innovative development, presentation of new works and provision of quality arts. For over 50 years the Festival has welcomed to Perth some of the world's greatest living artists and now connects with over 300,000 people each year.

Most read Perth reviews

This was a classic piano trio on display. They showcased great chemistry as they worked the room.