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5 Feb - 1 March 2010


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URS is a global multidisciplinary professional services firm. The company's engineers, environmental professionals and risk specialist consultants work alongside each other to deliver integrated solutions for clients in the resources industry, government and private sectors.

In 2008/09 URS was waging a 'war for talent' operating in an environment where the company was actively competing to attract and retain skilled staff. URS identified that a partnership with the Festival could provide the ammunition to become an employer of choice in the Perth market. URS approached the Festival seeking to:

- Support a stream of the Festival with high appeal to their culturally diverse workforce.
- Develop low cost strategies to engage staff in the partnership.

URS chose to support the centrepiece of the Festival's 2009 contemporary culture program - Beck's Music Box. The coolest place to be in Summer, Beck's Music Box offers 3 weeks of cutting edge acts crossing all genres of music as well as comedy and cabaret. The open air venue in the heart of the city attracts culturally aware professionals and trendy music lovers.

URS staff were excited about the new sponsorship, if not a little surprised that an engineering firm had the vision to support an initiative as cool/funky as Beck's Music Box. The Festival's Program Manager gave an exclusive presentation to staff about the 23 night program, which resulted in staff purchasing tickets to many of the events.

To further engage staff in the partnership URS' Senior Marketing Coordinator and the Festival's Visual Arts Program Manager developed a photography competition. Open to all Western Australian URS employees, the competition was themed 'Music and Sounds in Your Life', entrants were encouraged to think laterally about music and its meaning in their life.  The competition was judged by the Visual Arts Program Manager and Perth photographer Robert Frith.

Photos were exhibited in URS' Boardroom and URS and Festival staff were invited to the Exhibition Opening Night, which was extremely well attended. The night featured a question and answer session with Robert and the winning photos were announced.

URS' Senior Marketing Coordinator received much positive feedback from entrants and non entrants alike. People commented that it had been one of the most interesting staff initiatives organised by URS.

In 2006 the Festival and Deloitte had a number of open and honest discussions about both companies core business objectives in order to develop a mutually beneficial and unique partnership.

Deloitte's Partnership Objectives:

  • To develop an innovative community investment strategy that builds the Deloitte brand profile in the local community.
  • To engage staff and clients by building a connection with the arts community.

The Festival's Partnership Objectives:

  • To seek a financial commitment for the international program in order to keep ticket prices low thereby increasing accessibility across a broad spectrum of our community.
  • To engage consultants to enhance long term strategic business planning.

Deloitte partnered the 2007 Festival, providing financial support for the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan production of Wild Cursive at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Deloitte hosted a number of cocktail events for clients and key stakeholders throughout the Festival. Deloitte staff were given a behind the scenes tour of the 2007 program to enable a deeper understanding of the Festival program and promote the partnership internally.

Deloitte provided management consultancy in order to apply some business strategy analysis and rigour to the Festival business model.

In 2007 the partnership won a Western Australian Business Arts Partnership Award for Best First Time Partnership.

Wesfarmers Arts
In 2003 the Festival and Wesfarmers developed a programming strategy to enable the Festival to commission new artistic work - the Wesfarmers Arts Commission Series.

As a diversified company Wesfarmers has built an impressive record of identifying potential in under-performing companies, investing in those companies and making strategic changes which release the value for shareholders and pay dividends long into the future.

Wesfarmers applied these same business principles to the Wesfarmers Arts Commission Series. It demonstrated strong vision and strategy to implement a capacity building objective in the local arts sector, which will pay creative dividends for all of Western Australia.

The Series established a significant pool of money to be invested in the creative development of new work. Like all research and development the creation of new work attracts significant risk. Wesfarmers' investment meant the Festival, in partnership with the Western Australian flagship arts companies, could absorb this risk and giving leading local, national and international artists the freedom to create new work:

The Festival & West Australian Ballet, 2005, Kalmuk
The Festival & West Australian Symphony Orchestra, 2006, Vexations and Devotions
The Festival & Black Swan Theatre Company, 2006, The Odyssey
The Festival & West Australian Opera, 2007, The Love of the Nightingale

In 2007 the partnership won the State and National Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) Marsh Partnering Award for partnerships between businesses employing 200 or more people. The Partnership then went on to win the Partnership of the Year Award.

“A leading example of what the Australia Business Arts Foundation Partnership Awards are about, in the sense that you have a great corporation providing significant funding and producing quality outcomes that is also doing a significant amount of work to underscore the importance of the arts both to patrons and the community.”
AbaF Partnership Award Judge

Wesfarmers Arts continues to support the Festival with the Art City program which will transform our city spaces from 2008 to 2011.