Launch of Chatswood CULTURE BITES 2022

MEDIA RELEASE                               
17 March 2022


 Willoughby City Council is delighted to announce the inaugural launch of CHATSWOOD CULTURE BITES.  For the first time,  an innovative and exhilarating arts and entertainment program featuring music, theatre, comedy, dance, children’s shows and visual arts has been created for Sydney’s north shore.  This extraordinary program features over 25 unique performances that will run from 18 March to 22 October and can be experienced at The Concourse, both inside and on the outside forecourt, along with performances at the Zenith Theatre. 

CULTURE BITES represents the Council’s flagship cultural program for 2022.  When announcing the program Mayor of Willoughby, Tanya Taylor said “This new program offers something fresh, reflecting Chatswood’s unique cultural identity. There’s something for everyone, especially children and young adults who can take advantage of special ticket prices.  Chatswood is where people of all ages and backgrounds converge to create something special.  I’m proud that our 2022 Culture Bites program showcases our vision for Chatswood and beyond – innovative, quality, accessible culture that’s inspiring and lots of fun.”

In this inaugural season, CULTURE BITES will present a rich array of theatre including Black Cockatoodirected by Wesley Enoch; music for everyone including Disney Fantasia in Concert Live to Film featuring highlights from Fantasia and its sequel, Fantasia 2000 performed by Willoughby Symphony Orchestra live to film and for children, combined with the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s There’s a Sea in My Bedroom. The diverse program also features free activities, exhibitions, live music, symphonies, aerial acrobatics, poignant drama, circus capers, public art, twilight concerts and interactive light art installations. 

NEXT CHAPTERS II: ABOVE BELOW                                                        19 MARCH
A Chatswood Culture Bites Production
Audiences will be uplifted by the sweeping sounds of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra as renowned soprano Susannah Lawergren joins three aerialists from Legs On The Wall to float high above, combining a sea of sound with aerial beauty.  The program includes contemporary classical pieces created by living composers from around the world, featuring Elena Kats-Chernin, Matthew Hindson and Arvo Pärt.  Conducted by Willoughby Symphony’s Associate Conductor Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith.

Phoenix Collective showcases classical music with a uniquely Australian edge bringing together some of Australia’s most accomplished and high-profile musicians in a riveting recital series showcasing Grammy award-winning contemporary classical composers from Elvis Costello to Steve Reich.

BLACK COCKATOO                                                                                              31 MAY
An Ensemble Theatre Production 
By Geoffrey Atherden / Directed by Wesley Enoch
Inspired by the true story of legendary First Nations cricketer Johnny Mullagh and Australia’s first-ever international sporting team. Over 150 years ago, 13 brave Aboriginal men in Western Victoria picked up their cricket bats and embarked on a treacherous voyage to England and into the unknown – all in the name of sport. 

DOUBLE DELICIOUS                                                                                     15 – 18 JUNE
A Contemporary Asian Australian Performance Production
This unique culinary and theatrical experience sees five storyteller-cooks reveal the secrets of dishes significant to their lives, in a truly immersive and delicious theatrical experience.  The flavours and aromas of our favourite foods wind their way through the deepest recesses of our being.  Even the thought of a particular meal can transport us back to a pivotal moment.  Bitter and sweet, each story culminates in an authentic recreation of the storyteller’s chosen dish. With audiences having the unique opportunity to taste the story, this truly is a show that tantalises all the senses. 

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY IN THE PARK                                                       10 JULY
A Chatswood Culture Bites Production
Bring your picnic rug and folding chairs and settle in for an afternoon of music with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Guy Noble and special guests, soprano Julie Lea Goodwin and tenor Mark Vincent as they perform the greatest classical music of all time including Nessun DormaMusic of the Night(Phantom of the Opera), Musetta’s Waltz from La BohemeO mio babbino caro (Puccini) and duets including Tonight from West Side Story.

FoRT                                                                                                                      12 JULY 
Presented by Asking for Trouble and Critical Stages Touring
Dive into a magical world of play and creation with Victoria’s favourite multi-award-winning circus and physical theatre duo. In this inspiring new show for young people and families, two strange heroes hunt for whispers of possibility as they discover a pile of ordinary objects like sheets, broomsticks and cushions.  Watch as they transform lounge rooms into volcanoes and cardboard boxes into racing cars using ridiculous clowning, spectacular acrobatics and beautiful visual imagery. 

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING BY JOAN DIDION                               14 JULY Presented by Critical Stages Touring 
Joan Didion’s celebrated memoir is brought to captivating life by Green Room Award-winning actor Jillian Murray in a critically-acclaimed solo performance that reunites her with director Laurence Strangio (L’amante Anglaise national tour 2019). This highly personal account of loss through the lens of hope unpacks a surreal and overwhelming time in Didion’s life as she faces the sudden loss of her husband John, and later her daughter Quintana. The New York Times called the story ‘thrilling and engaging – universal, profound… and uplifting’.

THERE’S A SEA IN MY BEDROOM                                                        26 & 27 JULY 
An Australian Chamber Orchestra Production – based on the picture book by Margaret Wild and Jane Tanner.
Weaving together captivating storytelling with a newly composed score performed by a string quintet,  this work blends story and classical music in an immersive theatrical experience. Children will be captivated by the story of a boy who is frightened of the sea but uses his imagination to overcome his fears.  For children aged 2 – 8, this is the perfect introduction to live classical music.

THEM by Samah Sabawi                                                                     19 & 20 AUGUST 
Presented by Lara Week, La Mama and Critical Stages Touring
THEM tells the story of one young family as they face the decision of whether to flee their war-torn city. Omar, Leila and their new baby are counting down the days. Their friends enjoy fantasies of escape.  The arrival of Omar’s sister brings a real chance to get out – but at what cost? Filled with heart, humour, and music, THEM is an inspiring new story from Samah Sabawi, developed in consultation with people living in conflict zones and displaced by war.

WHITNEY ORCHESTRATED                                                                24 SEPTEMBER
A Chatswood Culture Bites Production
In a world premiere, one of the stars of The Voice, Masha Mnjoyan, will perform songs by one of the greatest pop icons when the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra pays homage to the music and voice of the late, great Whitney Houston. Gone too soon at the age of 48, the American singer had a string of worldwide hits includingI Wanna Dance With SomebodyHow Will I Know and The Greatest Love of All. 

THE BOX SHOW                                                                                      7 & 8 OCTOBER
A Junkyard Beats and Critical Stages Touring Production
In the hands of Junkyard Beats, ordinary household items are transformed into extraordinary musical instruments and unwanted junk comes alive.  Tag along for a day in the life of a bunch of musical misfits as they reinvigorate the junk that the world has forgotten. Learn about sustainability with this high energy, imaginative, music-in-education performance that is accessible to any age and nationality. 

ERTH’S PREHISTORIC WORLD                                                        19 & 20 OCTOBER 
Bringing ancient creatures from land and sea together in one show this is the perfect combination of theatrical magic and charm taking the audience to the bottom of the ocean to discover ancient bio-luminescent creatures and incredible marine reptiles; then back to dry land to witness amazing dinosaurs.  Experience the creatures of your imagination coming to life on stage in this enthralling new show! 

DISNEY FANTASIA                                                                                       22 OCTOBER 
With the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra
Presentation Licensed by Disney Concerts
Chatswood Culture Bites presents highlights from two of Disney’s most extraordinary and groundbreaking animated features, Fantasia and its sequel, Fantasia 2000 in concert live to film. Conducted by George Ellis, scenes from each of the two iconic films will be projected in high definition on a large screen above the orchestra as they perform classical selections by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar, and others.

CHATSWOOD LIVE AT NIGHT                              FRIDAYS 18 MARCH to 30 APRIL 
A lively, ever-changing program of performers featuring jazz, pop classics, percussive beats, chamber music that will entertain you on The Concourse Fourcourt as the sunsets. Chatswood Live at Night is proudly funded by the NSW Government’s The Festival of Place and supported by the Chatswood Chamber of Commerce.

Human in the Wire                                                                               27 APRIL – 29 MAY 
Contemplating the technologisation of the human.                   
Art Space on The Concourse and The Concourse Lower Podium

Absorbed by Light                                                                                           9-30 JUNE
Gali May Lucas, Light Art Collection
Become part of the art at Absorbed by Light at The Concourse. This installation encourages you to reflect on themes of technology and connectivity. 
The Concourse Lower Podium

Roaming Gnomes                                                                                            6 – 29 MAY
Amigo & Amigo
Come face to face with 12 supersized gnomes who will be spread across the Chatswood area celebrating the community’s sense of discovery and adventure.
The Concourse Lower Podium

Rainbow Accordion                                                                                                 JULY 
Amigo & Amigo 
Be immersed in the spectacular colours and sounds of the interactive Rainbow Accordion. Walk through the illuminated archways and jump, hop and skip on special pads to create a dazzling archway made up of waves of light.
The Concourse Lower Podium

CULTURE BITES is curated and presented by Willoughby City Council
Go to for more information as well as booking details