From Friday 4 March to Sunday 20 March, Adelaide Festival will be turning the city on its head with a program packed full of incredible, exhilarating and superb performances, installations and local events including Adelaide Writer’s Week, UKARIA Chamber Landscapes and WOMADelaide.
It’s the 37th annual Adelaide Festival and the sixth directed by Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield. Of the 2022 event, they said,
“We welcome audiences to a festival that refuses to curl and shrink, to aim low and take it easy… We invite audiences to experience the release of primal dance, of exhilarating performance and how the spark of collegiate music making can jump centuries. It’s all there again for the taking: a celebration of body and soul and how great it is to keep them together”.
While there’s a lot to unpack and look forward to, like the return of The Summerhouse with its great music lineup, here’s a rundown of the highlights and some of our favourites.
Adelaide Festival Highlights
As always, the Adelaide Festival includes free events but it’s not often that opening night is free to attend. This year and in the case of Macro it is. The homegrown circus favourites Gravity & Other Myths have joined forces with a huge choir and expert musicians as well as a crack audiovisual team for a spectacular start to the festival.
If you saw Pulse last year, then you know what to expect. But if you didn’t, then you’re in for a treat with death-defying acts from the full 30 strong troupe crew.
Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhales
Skywhale has travelled the world since appearing in Canberra in 2013 and, now with Skywhalepapa which stands at ten stories tall, it will be making an appearance at Adelaide Festival. Come with the kids and crane your necks toward the sky to see them both float overhead.
It doesn’t sound like much, but Skywhales have not only turned heads everywhere they’ve gone, but they’ve sparked conversation, dialogue and our imagination.
ICEHOUSE: Great Southern Land
The seminal album turns 40 and to celebrate, the band is touring and performing at Adelaide Oval’s Village Green. You’ll get to hear all the hits and classic songs from the album under the stars.
This includes a special guest appearance by Iva Davies’ friend and yidaki (didgeridoo) master William Barton.
Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan
There will only be six performances of Watershed at the Adelaide Festival, and each one is lining up to be a thoughtful and haunting oratorio to the drowning death of Dr George Ian Ogilvie Duncan, which led to pioneering gay law reform in South Australia.
The performance—written by Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas, Brisbane composer Joe Twist, and directed by Neil Armfield with choreographer Lewis Major bringing together solo voices, a dancer, the Adelaide Chamber Singers and an elite chamber orchestra under the baton of Christie Anderson—is singlehandedly the largest scale artistic response to the tragedy to take place.
It fuses inquest transcripts, press clippings, private correspondence, real and imagined monologues spanning five decades of anti-gay violence, as well as 30 years of research by local historian Tim Reeves. Do. Not. Miss. It.
Ever not been able to sleep at night? Well, there are plenty who have struggled and to pass the time they put in a call to theatre-maker Roslyn Oades hotline and recounted real-life stories, rants, confessions, inanities, pranks and private thoughts.
All you need to do is pick up the phone and listen in on what these people have to say.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The famous novel comes to life with director Kip Williams’s and Eryn Jean Norvill phenomenal reimagining of tale of self-obsession. Williams, who plays all 26 characters simultaneously thanks to live and pre-recorded video, will astound and amaze.
Wudjang: Not the Past
Written by Stephen Page, Wudjang fuses poetry, live music, text and choreography for a spiritual journey to Yugambeh country. The world premiere brings together 17 dancers, five actors and four onstage musicians for a story that is part quest and part history on our own past and present.
A play that is sound only sounds like something you want to hear at any arts festival. That’s what’s in store for you with Blindness, a thriller based on a novel by Nobel prizewinner José Saramago and featuring narration by the incomparable Juliet Stevenson.
A global pandemic plays out in the story, but unlike our own, people infected in this dystopian world go blind and there is no end in sight. Recounted with immersive binaural sound and lighting, Blindness is one play you’ll have to hear to believe.
Watch Adelaide Festival’s promo video
There is so much more on at Adelaide Festival and once again there will be discount programs like Tix For Next To Nix, Pay What You Can, Youth & Education to ensure as many people can get along to see and experience what The Australian called, ”…a place for cultural and intellectual nourishment, a sense of gathering and of community”.
Adelaide Festival Details
When: 4 March – 20 March, 2022
To check out the entire Adelaide Festival program, see the website.