Adelaide Festival yesterday announced the launch of Foundation Adelaide Festival, with 5 of the Festival’s past and present Artistic Directors coming together to celebrate the occasion: Anthony Steel (1974, 1976, 1978, 1986); Rob Brookman (1992); Robyn Archer (1998, 2000); Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021-2023).
The Foundation will play a critical role in extending the reach and impact of the Adelaide Festival through a range of philanthropic programs including existing and new donor programs. Crucially it will also establish an endowment fund to develop ongoing financial stability and enable ambitious long-term artistic planning.
The endowment, which will have an initial target of $5 million over the next three years, has been launched with the single largest individual donation ever received in the Festival’s 60 year history – a $500,000 bequest by distinguished economist and musician Alison Burrell.
Foundation Adelaide Festival, which will be chaired by lawyer Anna Baillie-Karas, will not only seek to build its endowment but will also look to grow philanthropic support for the Festival.
Chairperson Anna Baillie-Karas said: “Our State has always nurtured the arts and we are proudly the Festival State. Our world-class Adelaide Festival injects $76 million into South Australia’s economy each year, not to mention its immeasurable benefits in community engagement with the arts. Now, through the Foundation and with the help of our donors, we can ensure the Festival’s financial stability for the future.”
Philanthropic support for Adelaide Festival has more than quadrupled over the last four years, growing from $275,000 in 2016 to $1.2 million in 2019, with 2020 likely to exceed last year’s figures. This has been one of the most significant financial indicators of Adelaide Festival’s growth under Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy.
Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy said: “Staging a festival requires all kinds of support from our community, not the least of which is financial support. Inevitably the greater the resources available, the more adventurous and diverse the program can be. We acknowledge and honour the role that Alison Burrell has played in offering Adelaide Festival the opportunity to create a foundation that will help future-proof one of the world’s great festivals.”
Alison Burrell was incredibly knowledgeable about the arts, with a particular passion for music as a pianist, choral singer and composer. After retiring from her busy professional life as an agricultural economist, she completed an MMus course at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK and during a short composing span over three years from 2015 to 2018, she wrote 7 chamber works for different instrumental combinations.
Alison’s brother Christopher Burrell said: “My sister Alison showed great musical talent from an early age, and through her childhood became an excellent pianist, singer and composer with a high level of musical understanding and sensitivity. Although she lived most of her adult life in Europe, she wished to support important musical activities in Australia through her will, to acknowledge her early background and ongoing links and friendships. She visited Margaret and I in Adelaide on many occasions and held the Adelaide Festival in high regard; she was greatly impressed seeing Hamlet at Glyndebourne and pleased to know that it was presented here. She made this gift to continue the support and encouragement of the arts in Australia.”