Scoop is a good source of information on festivals and concerts, theater, exhibitions, and the like. Your best guide to dance clubs, rock concerts, and art-house cinemas is the free weekly X-press magazine, available at pubs, cafes, and music venues. The West Australian (especially the Sat. edition) and Sunday Times newspapers publish entertainment information, including cinema guides.
Three ticket agencies handle most of the city's major performing arts, entertainment, and sporting events: the performing arts-oriented BOCS (tel. 1800/193 300 in Australia, or 08/9484 1133; www.bocsticketing.com.au), the sports-and-family-entertainment-oriented Ticketmaster (tel. 13 61 00; www.ticketmaster.com.au), and Ticketek (tel. 13 28 49; www.ticketek.com.au). Book opera, ballet, and the various theater companies through BOCS. The orchestra handles its own bookings.
The Performing Arts
The West Australian Opera (tel. 08/9278 8999 administration; www.waopera.asn.au) and West Australian Ballet (tel. 08/9214 0707 administration; www.waballet.com.au) usually perform at His Majesty's Theatre, 825 Hay St. Perth's leading theater company, the Black Swan State Theatre Company (tel. 08/6389 0311 administration; www.bsstc.com.au), plays at the new State Theatre Centre, corner of William and Roe streets, Northbridge, together with the Perth Theatre Company (tel. 08/9323 3433; www.perththeatre.com.au). The West Australian Symphony Orchestra (tel. 08/9326 0000; www.waso.com.au) usually performs at the Perth Concert Hall, 5 St. Georges Terrace, but with other performances (for example, the open-air summer series) in Kings Park. Perth Concert Hall has the best acoustics of any such venue in Australia and features a wide range of other artists.
Perth is an outdoors kind of place. In summer, look for outdoor concerts or jazz at Perth Zoo (tel. 08/9474 3551 for recorded information, or 08/9474 0444 administration); movies at Perth's several outdoor cinemas; and open-air concerts, plays, and movies in Kings Park (tel. 08/9480 3600 administration; 08/9480 3666 24-hr. events information).
The Perth International Arts Festival (tel. 08/6488 5555 bookings & information; www.perthfestival.com.au;) is the oldest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, producing 3 1/2 weeks of local and international theater, dance, music, and a wide variety of free performances every February. It makes great use of Perth's summer weather and outdoor venues, especially with its 4-month film festival, and Beck's Music Box.
One of Australia's premier arts training colleges, the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) is based in Perth, at 2 Bradford St., Mt Lawley. The students, as part of their training, regularly put on some of Perth's best performances of drama, musical theater, dance, jazz, classical music, and percussion. Check tel. 08/9370 6636 (box office) or www.waapa.ecu.edu.au for current productions.
Movies & Stars
Catch an art-house movie in the superb tree-lined Somerville Auditorium in the grounds of the University of WA. Picnic on the grass beforehand (you can buy food and drinks there) while the sun sets; then watch the film from rows of deck chairs, with the stars visible overhead. The season runs nightly at 8pm from December through mid-February, or at 7:30pm from March 1 to mid-April, as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.
Pubs, Bars & Nightclubs
Northbridge houses most of the city's lively pubs and dance clubs, while Freo has good pubs, too.
For a take on the traditional pub, head to the Brass Monkey, 209 William St., at James Street, Northbridge (tel. 08/9227 9596; www.thebrassmonkey.com.au). Downstairs are several bars, and there's a refurbished grill room upstairs. The Laugh Resort comedy club performs upstairs in the Glass House at 8pm on Wednesdays for a A$12 cover.
The Subiaco Hotel, also known as the "Subi," 465 Hay St. at Rokeby Road, Subiaco (tel. 08/9381 3069; www.subiacohotel.com.au), is a popular historic pub with great cocktails, live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and an eatery.
The Perth International Arts Festival has a vibrant, jumping music scene, nightly, for the entire 3 1/2 weeks, at Beck's Music Box, a specially created and licensed open-air venue on Perth's Esplanade. There are ticketed headline acts at 8:30pm, followed by varied performers from 10:30pm until late with free entry, but numbers limited by capacity -- check www.perthfestival.com.au.
The biggest place on the nightclub scene is Metro City, 146 Roe St., Northbridge (tel. 08/9228 0500), with 10 bars over three levels, open every Saturday night from 10pm. The cover of A$10 increases to A$15 after 11pm. It opens on other weekend nights for special events with visiting bands and artists; check www.metroconcertclub.com for details.
In Fremantle, the Metropolis, 58 S. Terrace (tel. 08/9336 1880), is a complex of two dance floors and eight bars on several levels. It has disco nights Fridays 9:30pm-4am, and Saturday 9pm-5am; the cover is usually in the A$15 range. See www.metropolisfremantle.com.au for schedules.
Several jazz clubs are run on a not-for-profit basis, including the Perth Jazz Society, with modern contemporary music played Monday night at the Charles Hotel, 509 Charles St., North Perth (www.perthjazzsociety.com), and Jazz Fremantle, with "crossover" music played most Sundays 4 to 7pm at the Navy Club, 64 High St., Fremantle (www.mediahighway.com.au/jazzfremantle). The Ellington Jazz Club, 191 Beaufort St., Northbridge, Perth (tel. 04/0806 9867; www.ellingtonjazz.com.au) is a dedicated jazz establishment with a performance and cabaret area, and bar, upstairs (Tues-Sun and some Mondays).
Burswood Entertainment Complex, on the Great Eastern Highway just over the river from the city (tel. 08/9362 7777; www.burswood.com.au), houses WA's only legal casino. It operates 24/7 except Good Friday and December 25 (closed 3am-10pm), and April 25 (Anzac Day; closed 3am-noon), and is open to everyone over the age of 18. Dress code is "neat and tidy," with smarter standards after 7pm. There are multiple restaurants and bars, a 1400 capacity nightclub, and a 2,300-seat theater which features frequent major international acts. It's an A$15 to A$20 cab ride from the city, or take a train to Burswood station.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.