Q&A with Bleach Festival Director – Rose Dennis

WORDS: Caroline Russo  www.hushhushbiz.com PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied - Bleach Festival


Having stepped in as  New Bleach* Festival Director: this must of been exciting for you but how did you cope with Covid?

Delivering a festival this year has been a ride. I’ve had an excellent team working alongside me. We’ve had to be flexible to accommodate the changing restrictions, however, it’s all paid off with a fabulous response from our audience.

The programming and locations are different. Was this your vision to start with?

When I joined I was keen to condense the programming to three or four key festival hubs across the City for audiences to take away a deeper experience of place.

With the festival coming together how much work has it taken?

There’s many threads to delivering a festival and creating a really special experience for audiences. This year, in a year when so many artists have lost so much work, we’ve been able to employ more than 200 artists to share over 220 unique experiences across 11 days. I was determined that we would find a way to deliver something this year. Given our location, here on the Gold Coast, we’ve been lucky enough to create this Festival experience this year.

What are the highlights of Bleach this year?

Out Burleigh Heads Hub is a definite highlight. It is home to 2 significant visual installations – Dream Walkers by Rick Roser and Sky Weave by Lisa Sorbie-Martin and a group of 17 First Nations women living on the Gold Coast. They’re both ambitious work, especially made for our Festival. Another highlight is our Chevron Island Festival Hub. To create the Hub we negotiated a lease on a row of abandoned houses and transformed them into our own venue. It’s an extraordinary space now!

What is the take away for you this year personally?

Continuing to be part of the change for a fairer more equitable society.

What’s on the cards for 2021 and how do you feel about it moving forward?

I’m currently working on our 2021 Festival program which is taking place in August so not a lot of lead time. However, before that, I’m taking a three week holiday with my family!



Bleach* is the Gold Coast’s annual contemporary arts festival. The festival has a growing national and international reputation for creating experiences and telling stories that are out of the box, authentic and uniquely connected to place. Bleach* is proudly local, celebrating the city’s best artists, welcoming renowned Australian and international artists through a range of art experiences.  In Bleach’s 9-year history, the festival has premiered more than 50 commissions, and played a pivotal role in curating and delivering the ambitious 2018 Commonwealth Games Cultural program. We’ve collaborated with Opera Australia to stage the ambitious Opera on the Beach at Coolangatta, with QT Hotel Gold Coast and Peppers Soul on the immersive arts experience, Hotelling. We’ve delivered the Jewell International Kite Festival for the Yuhu Group, curated programs for Tourism Australia conferences, officially opened and programmed entertainment for major shopping precincts and the 2018 Commonwealth Games Athletes Welcoming Ceremony. Our productions have won the Sydney Myer Group Award in 2019 and the Helpmann Award in 2018 for Tide in collaboration with The Farm.


Bleach* runs 12 – 22 November 2020 
2020 Venues: Burleigh Heads, Benowa Botanic Gardens, and Chevron Island
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Tickets will sell out quickly to Bleach* 2020 so book today.

Caroline Russo Contrubuter