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OzAsia Festival attracts more than 180,000 attendees

OzAsia Festival attracts more than 180,000 attendees
November 10, 2021

Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival has returned to live performances attracting more than 180,000 attendances across more than 50 events held over 18 days.

The program of ground-breaking works by leading contemporary Asian Australian artists covered a wide range of genres – everything from theatre, music, dance and comedy to film, literature and visual art.

Adelaide audiences were the first to enjoy world premiere performances including dance collaboration Somewhere, Everywhere, Nowhere and contemporary Indonesian shadow play Perahu-Perahu, while food as a storytelling device proved popular with audiences at sold-out events Double Delicious and Lunch on the Riverbank with Parwana.

OzAsia Festival officially opened on Thursday, 21st October, with the Australian premiere of Destinations by acclaimed pianist Belle Chen and concluded with dance theatre work TWO featuring dancer/choreographer Raghav Handa and maestro tabla player Maharshi Raval last Friday and Saturday.

This year’s festival also saw the introduction of a comedy event, The Special Comedy Comedy Special, with hundreds enjoying a night of laughter at Her Majesty’s Theatre thanks to host Jennifer Wong and headline act Dilruk Jayasinha plus a stellar line-up of South Australian comedians.

OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah notes “It’s gratifying to see audiences embrace the ways in which we are evolving this much-loved festival. I knew our performers were champing at the bit to get back on stage, and it was so exhilarating to see that audiences were equally enthusiastic to fill the theatres for the communal experience of live performance. Standing ovations and rapturous applause made the challenges of the past 18 months fade away! It was very special to connect with local audiences through projects such as Open Homes and Pinoy Street Party. I owe a huge thanks to the OzAsia Festival team, volunteers and the many artists who made my first program such an outstanding success.”

For the closing weekend, new writing and ideas program In Other Words attracted nearly 3000 attendances across the live event at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse and viewers tuning in online from all over the world last Saturday and Sunday.

Around 40 of Asia and Australia’s leading contemporary writers and thinkers presented more than 20 free sessions covering topics including grief, motherhood, family, identity, sexism, media freedom and Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific. Video recordings of the full program can be found via the OzAsia Festival website.

In Other Words Program Curator Laura Kroetsch advised “we really wanted to focus on the individual and shared experiences of Asian Australians, and we feel it was a good balance between exploring the challenges with these and still having some fun along the way. It was great to see so many people engaging with the revised format, and we’re very grateful to our speakers for being flexible as we delivered a hybrid program this year, especially those who joined us through a video link.”

OzAsia Festival also celebrated its most successful opening week to date with a record-breaking 100,000 attendances across four days of inspiring performances and exciting community events including more than 40,000 at the inaugural Moon Lantern Trail at Pinky Flat.

Organisers of foodies favourite Lucky Dumpling Market are thrilled with the response they have received throughout the festival, with total attendances of around 110,000 enjoying a wide range of cuisines from more than 20 food vendors at Elder Park.

Adelaide Festival Centre’s foyer spaces came alive with spectacular visual art experiences including video works The Strangers and Moving Image Program along with a stunning installation by local artist Truc Truong in the Dunstan Playhouse Foyer. Nearby Nexus Arts hosted exhibitions AEON†: TITAN ARUM and Untitled.Showa, while over at Her Majesty’s Theatre the Ian & Pamela Wall Gallery hosted On View: In Translation – a collection of cinematic portraits by celebrated Australian choreographer/filmmaker Sue Healey.

The Art Gallery of South Australia boasted attendances of around 13,000 for its OzAsia Festival events including exhibitions True Self and A Vast Emporium, while independent cinema Mercury CX enjoyed a strong response from audiences to the film program – especially its celebration of renowned genre-defying cinematographer Wong Kar Wai.

Adelaide Festival Centre Chief Executive and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier noted “after last year’s online offering, we’re incredibly proud of the festival we’ve been able to present in 2021 under the fantastic leadership of new Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah. We couldn’t have done it without the audiences who came out in droves, as well as the support of the sponsors, artists, community groups, volunteers and staff who all pitch in to make this festival happen.”

OzAsia Festival will return in 2022 from 20th October to 6th November 6, with updates available at  

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