The Adelaide Festival reveals a “courageous and provocative” 2022 program


Artistic directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield have scheduled nine world premieres, six Australian premieres and 17 exclusive Adelaide shows for the festival from March 4-20.

“It has been a huge challenge for the arts community this year,” says Healy, referring to the lingering problems created by the pandemic in 2021. “It was a really different and much more dynamic year, with a much higher level of uncertainty. raised.”

Nonetheless, she and Armfield say the Adelaide Festival is “a fiery and defiant festival” that “refuses to bend and shrink, aim low and relax”.

Their 2022 lineup, which launched this morning, officially opens with the world premiere of a new work by Gravity & Other Myths in a free show at Adelaide Oval’s Village Green on March 5. Macro will feature 30 acrobats from the local contemporary circus company – which wowed audiences at this year’s Festival with its award-winning production The pulse – as well as dancers from the group East Arnhem Land Djuki Mala, a mass choir, Celtic rhythms and fireworks.

“The work uses a lot of the same strengths we saw on stage with The Impulse… It will be funny, it will be moving, it will be breathtaking and it will be a truly amazing opening night, ”Armfield said of Macro, which will also open the Edinburgh International Festival next August.

The following night on the Village Green will see the Australian band Cooler give a concert celebrating the 40e anniversary of their iconic ‘Great Southern Land’ anthem. The show is part of a nationwide tour announced last week, with yidaki virtuoso William Barton and blues and roots artist Emily Wurramara also starring in Adelaide.

The Festival program includes a number of international artists, with the largest contingent performing in a double major dance program. The Rite of Spring / middle ground[s]. This show presents a new staging of the seminal work of the famous choreographer Pina Bausch created in response to the work of Stravinsky The Rite of Spring – produced by the Pina Bausch Foundation in Germany, the École des Sables in Senegal and Sadler’s Wells in the United Kingdom, and performed by 38 dancers selected from 14 African countries – and a new accompanying piece created and danced by Germaine Acogny (“the mother of contemporary African dance”) and Malou Airaudo (a founding member of Bausch’s company) .

The Rite of Spring will be performed by 38 dancers from all over Africa. Photo: Maarten Vanden Abeele

The UK based Chineke! Bedroom set – formed by renowned British double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku and composed of predominantly black and ethnically diverse musicians – will perform for the first time in Australia with two programs at Town Hall which will include new commissions from Australian composers William Barton and Deborah Cheetham, while the British dance-theater company Lost Dog will present a duet inspired by a Shakespearean classic with Juliet & Romeo.

“He rewrites history in such a way that Juliet and Romeo don’t die in the end; they get away, they get married and we see them again as they come of age when they are in the middle of a couple consultation, ”says Healy.

“It’s very funny in his assessment of contemporary heterosexual relationships of people in their mid-forties, but it’s told with so much humor, whimsy and insight.”

The Festival’s theater program, say Armfield and Healy, reflects the trend towards experimenting with intersecting art forms and using new technologies to create interactive and immersive experiences. A highlight will be the Sydney Theater Company production of Oscar Wilde Dorian Gray’s photo, which was adapted and directed by Kip Williams. Performed by Eryn Jean Norvill, it includes live and pre-recorded videos.

“Although this appears to be a one-person show, she is surrounded by a company of 12 stage magicians who bring the extraordinary audiovisual element to this show which allows Eryn Jean to play the 26 characters of the work, and not just to play them but to interact with your own performance of all these other characters, “says Armfield.” It’s absolutely magical and a real twist. “

Eryn Jean Norvill in Dorian Gray’s photo. Photo: Daniel Boud

Blindness – a production by the UK’s Donmar Warehouse based on José Saramago’s dystopian novel of the same name about a pandemic of blindness – is narrated by British actress Juliet Stevenson and will be experienced by audiences at the Queen’s Theater through sound and immersive binaural lighting, while Night line is a collection of real-life stories compiled through nightly anonymous calls that members of the public will listen to through 1970s rotary phones.

The flagship opera of 2022, announced last month, is the new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Barrie Kosky The golden rooster. The Festival will also present the world premiere of an oratorio commemorating the 50e anniversary of the murder of Adelaide University law professor Dr George Duncan, who drowned after being thrown into the Torrens River in 1972.

Adelaide Festival, Feast Festival and State Opera co-commissioned writers Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas and composer Joe Twist to create Watershed: the death of Dr Duncan, which is said to contain a “striking and punchless booklet” based on the case and the investigations and allegations of a police cover-up surrounding it. The performance will include “transcripts of investigations, newspaper clippings, private correspondence, real and imagined monologues spanning five decades of anti-gay violence.”

Armfield, who will lead Watershed, says it builds on the research of local historian Tim Reeves and commemorates the legacy of Duncan’s death, which propelled gay rights reform in South Australia. The oratorio will feature solo voices, a dancer, the Adelaide Chamber Singers and a chamber orchestra.

Continuing a tradition that started with life size A doll’s house in 2020 and continued this year with The plastic bag store, there will be a free interactive public art installation in the Rundle Shopping Center for the duration of the festival. The pondI, by young Melbourne artist and percussionist Matthias Schack-Arnott, is a 6m domed platform resting on 40,000 illuminated steel spheres that create what is described as an ocean soundscape when members of the audience walk on the dome, causing it to tip over.

Back because the Festival hub is Summer house – an open-air pavilion next to the Adelaide Festival Center which will host concerts by musicians including Amyl and the Sniffers, Paul Grabowsky and Ngaire, Montaigne, Ladyhawke, Client Liaison, Isaiah Firebrace, Kate Ceberano, Spiderbait’s KRAM and The Whitlams.

Patricia Piccinini’s giant hot air balloon Celestial whales pod – the original Celestial whale which first floated over Canberra in 2013 and its new 10 story companion Skybalepapa– will make two appearances during the Festival, the first at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden during Adelaide Writers’ Week, where the artist will be the guest with her new children’s book Every heart sings, and the second in the Barossa valley.

The 2022 Writers’ week will feature Australian writers attending in person and a number of foreign guests appearing via Zoom. While director Jo Dyer’s final schedule for the March 5-10 event won’t be released until January, nearly 80 writers were announced today, including Stan Grant, Miles Allinson, Hannah Kent, Annabel Crabb, Michelle by Kretser, Mem Fox, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Tom Keneally, Liane Moriarty, Alice Pung, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Lisa Taddeo, Colm Toibin, Christos Tsiolkas, Charlotte Wood and Christian White.

Patricia Piccinini with Skybalepapa and Celestial whale; National Gallery of Australia, copyright Patricia Piccinini.

Due to uncertainty over the pandemic restrictions that could be in place for international visitors by 2022, the artistic directors of the Adelaide festival say they have planned their program on a “worst case” basis, with all international artists ready to quarantine themselves for 14 days. if necessary.

Healy says they also hope they can have a “sterile hall” of the type used in sports, so that if performers are forced to self-quarantine before their performance, they can still attend rehearsals: “We hope the science and common sense come together, since it goes without saying that everyone we bring in is vaccinated.

WOMADelaide, which is featured as part of the Adelaide Festival program, announced last week that those attending the music festival when it returns to the Botanical Park next year will need to be double vaccinated. AF organizers would like the state government to impose proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test as a requirement for those attending the events.

Armfield and Healy were able to travel overseas this year to check out productions and festivals in Europe, with Healy saying the trip showed that having ‘one system for all’ meant there was consistency between locations and a certainty for the public.

She says their experience in Europe also showed that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: back to the cinema with enthusiasm. This is absolutely what has happened in the international festivals that we have attended all over Europe.

Other highlights of the 2022 Adelaide Festival include:

Prayer for the living: This twilight concert, featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Elder Conservatorium Choir and Graduate Singers, will close Festival 2022 with a program including “Prayer for a Mother” and “Dona nobis pacem” by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks.

Wudjang: Not the past: Bangarra Dance Theater’s latest work is a “contemporary corroboree” performed by 17 dancers, five actors and four musicians on stage. Choreographed by company artistic director Stephen Page, it is based on the story of Wudjang, an ancestor whose bones were unearthed during the construction of a new dam.

Manifesto: This new work by choreographer Stephanie Lake is set to a score by sound designer Robin Fox and performed by nine dancers – all from different backgrounds ranging from hip-hop to ballet – and nine drummers. It will have its world premiere in Adelaide.

Cupid’s Koi Garden: A 5m tall Cupid surrounded by 10 oversized goldfish will take up residence in Keith Stephenson Park in Mt Barker. The inflatable fountain is presented by ENESS – the same company behind the Airship orchestra, which was outside the SA Museum during Illuminate Adelaide – and includes a sensory and sound component. “But this work adds the element of water, which in midsummer looks a bit perfect, Healy says.

Cupid’s Koi Garden. Photo: ENESS

You will find all the details of the program on the Adelaide Festival website.

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