2013 Adelaide Festival Round-up

Adelaide Festival 2013. Image supplied.
Adelaide Festival 2013. Image supplied.

David Sefton’s first Adelaide Festival recently concluded as an artistic, box-office and personal success for the new Artistic Director.

2013 also marked the first time the Adelaide Festival took place as an ‘annual event’, with the diverse and exciting programme generating in excess of $2.6 million in box office receipts from 44-ticketed events, including 76 sold-out performances.

Visitors from interstate and overseas bought almost 30% of the tickets sold with the total economic benefit to South Australia estimated at $25 million, and with an overall attendance estimated at well over 330, 000, there is little doubt the ‘annual’ model is a keeper.

The opening night concert alone attracted 25, 000 people to Elder Park and the line-up to the ever-popular club Barrio on Hajek Plaza often extended up to North Terrace.

David Sefton stated, “It’s been a thrilling experience. Elder Park was at capacity on opening night and throughout The Festival people have embraced the unconventional and diverse range of shows on offer. It’s left me with no doubt that our Adelaide Festival audiences are hungry for challenging and progressive work. I can’t wait to let everyone know what I’ve got up my sleeve for next year!”

[pull_left]Following the success of the 2013 Festival, David Sefton has set a high standard for himself and high expectations from his audience for 2014 and beyond.[/pull_left]

Controversy struck The Festival, first by the withdrawal of star Barry Otto from The Kreutzer Sonata for health reasons then with what seemed a grotesquely irrational diatribe against the show itself, Barry Otto, Geordie Brookman and even the venue from a political journalist at The Australian on-line. The ‘review’ prompted a response from Rob Brookman and the issue extended into a national debate about what constitutes a review (“a first-person account of a preview performance”) and the ethics of reviewing a preview performance.

Flamenco Hoy. Image supplied.
Breathtaking – Flamenco Hoy at the Adelaide Festival 2013. Image supplied.

Sefton’s theatrical programme was a must-see. There were a couple of flat spots with the underwhelming Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage and Murder, but the successes were powerful. They ran from that controversy to the harrowing Kamp, the energy of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, the bleak Nosferatu and the humour of One Man, Two Guvnors.

International dance also featured strongly at this Festival with astonishing shows from the gentle professionalism of Sylvie Guillem in 6000 miles away to the physical prowess and sensational timing showcased in What The Body Does Not Remember to the baroque expressionism of Flamenco Hoy. The physical virtuosity in all of these shows was breath-taking.

Following the success of the 2013 Festival, David Sefton has set a high standard for himself and high expectations from his audience for 2014 and beyond.

Adelaide Festival Corporation Chair Richard Ryan AO has said, “We all extend our thanks to the hard-working staff and volunteers for their contribution to the success of Adelaide’s first annual Festival. The program has been challenging and exciting and having seen what’s in store, we’re in for another fantastic programme in 2014.”

Some facts from the 2013 Festival:

• 54 events, 29 exclusive to Adelaide.

• 314 performances.

•27 Australian premieres – 25 from the performance program and two from the visual arts program.

• Almost 1100 artists and writers.

• 440 International artists, 654 Australian artists, 520 artists from SA

• International artists from countries including New Zealand, Czech Republic, East Timor, Germany, Iceland, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, France, USA, Norway, UK, Italy and Cuba.

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