The program for the 2012 Adelaide Festival, described by Artistic Director Paul Grabowsky as “A Festival for our time”, was launched on Wednesday October 19 at the Adelaide Festival Theatre. The Festival, a feast for art and culture lovers, is Australia’s foremost arts festival. It’s size, scale and complexity makes it a world class event, full of brave, unique and exciting events, handpicked by the creative brains trust headed up by Paul Grabowsky (in his second and last festival). 2012 marks the shift from a bi-annual event to an annual event, following in the very successful footsteps of the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Womadelaide, which were made annual events in 2007 and 2003 respectively. The Adelaide Festival consists of a world class range of theatre, music, dance, film, visual arts and also Writer’s Week for all you booklovers out there! Next year’s Festival will see Adelaide be graced by 970 artists (one third of which are from overseas) taking part in 68 events. Of these 68 events, 37 are world premieres, 62 are Australian premieres and 14 are exclusive to the Adelaide Festival. Recently allocated $8 million by the Government of South Australia, the now ex-Premier of South Australia and former Minister for the Arts, Mike Rann said that this was the largest commitment by a Government or private company to an arts event in Australia and, due to this, the festival will remain financially secure and creatively independent for years to come, ensuring that the festival does not diminish in size, scale or excellence. The launch was a performance of artistic excellence in itself, with the 2012 logo coming to life before the audience’s eyes as they took their seats. A crew of 4 young staffers were arranging random, colour-coded, items on the stage which slowly took on a formation. A screen behind them showed what the view from above looked like. Starting with what seemed to be yellow kitchenware and crockery a diverging line was created, a red one made from different size buckets happening parallel above it. Slowly, colour by colour, line by line, everyday items like blue garbage bags, oranges, hot pink clothes, darker blue beach chairs, white pottery and finally black vinyl records created a performance within a performance and a wonderful and unique way to unveil the 2012 imaging. It also solved the mystery as to why @adelaidefest had been tweeting asking for unwanted vinyl records!
After the traditional welcome to Aboriginal land by Aunty Josie, Chief Executive and Assistant Artistic Director Kate Gould welcomed the audience and distinguished guests to the launch. In an example of how truly accessible the Festival is, there were two sign language interpreters on stage at all times, and Kate Gould herself even made part of her welcome speech in sign language. Following Ms Gould was the Chair of the Festival, Richard Ryan AO, who spoke highly of the festival and Mr Grabowsky’s vision, saying that he was a pleasure to work with (“95% of the time”).Then Jim Hazel from Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, principal partner spoke of his company’s enthusiasm of being involved and welcomed then Premier and Minister for the Arts, Mike Rann to the stage to officially launch the program (one of Mr Rann’s final events as Premier before retiring). After a rousing speech by Mr Rann, which excited the room to no end about what a wonderful arts future Adelaide has ahead, a screen presentation began, within which Mr Grabowsky talked the audience through his highlights of the festival. The room was filled with excited gasps and applause as each event was announced. With 68 events scheduled within a small 3 week period it will be impossible to enjoy everything, therefore Aussie Theatre has chosen some picks to help out the undecided: A STREETCARExclusive to Adelaide, this is a 21st Century re-telling of A Streetcar Named Desire, which caused much controversy in its native France. Headed up by Isabelle Huppert this is a must see. RAOULJames Thiérrée , one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring performers has not only designed and directed this piece but also performs it solely on his own, using dance, music and acrobatics to create a dreamlike experience. ENNIO MORRICONE LIVEOne night only, this world famous and defining film composer will bring not only his film scores, but a cast consisting of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, 6 soloists from his native Italy and an 100 voice choir to Elder Park. MASSRarely performed due to its sheer mass, Mass is Leonard Bernstein’s defining achievement. It is described as a mix of music, dance and theatre which is explosive, cathartic and uplifting. GARDENIAA hit in Belgium and across Europe, this is the story of 6 real men, set to cabaret, dance and song, telling their stories as they slowly transform into drag queens, a “moving moment of humanity”. FREIBURG BAROQUE ORCHESTRAHighlighting the work of Bach, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra uses original instruments and playing techniques from the 17th – 19th century so audiences in the 21st century can hear the music as Bach truly intended it to sound. BARRIONot technically an event, this nightly nightclub will completely transform itself every night, to give visitors a complete different (and utterly random) night, full of music, performance art and colour. And bars. Mostly bars.
The Adelaide Festival runs from 2 – 18 March 2012 and further information and tickets are available from www.adelaidefestival.com.au Photo: A Streetcar (Based on A Streetcar Named Desire by Tenessee Williams)