Art Down Under: OzAsia Festival 2019 (Preview)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – The full line-up for the 2019 OzAsia Festival has been announced, with a total of 60 events, including five world-first performances and 22 Australian premieres. Organised by and held at the Adelaide Festival Centre, this 13th edition of the festival will feature 850 artists from more than 20 countries, with boundary-pushing work spanning music, theatre and dance to film, literature and visual art for 18 days.
Says OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Joseph Mitchell: “The 2019 OzAsia Festival will be our largest, most adventurous and fun-filled festival to date. There really is something for everyone – from free events through to thought-provoking theatre and visually stunning dance. We’re excited to see some of the most loved artists from previous OzAsia Festivals returning with new works, while our more adventurous audience members can indulge in our more immersive events.”
Highlights of the festival include contemporary dance from Akram Khan in his latest work Outwitting the Devil, Damien Jalet and his sculptural Vessel, Hervé Koubi with acrobatic piece What the Day Owes to the Night and Anne Nguyen with martial art-inspired street dance Kata.
Other major events being staged include Malaysian pop star and arguably one of Southeast Asia’s most successful artists Siti Nurhaliza, music icon Nitin Sawhney and Taiwanese titan of theatre Stan Lai’s epic theatre production The Village. America’s Got Talent finalists SIRO-A will amaze festival attendees of all ages with Techno Circus, while fellow Japanese performance group Contact Gonzo will bring the world premiere of Stuck in the Narrowest Path – a chaotic improvisation of ‘dance meets Fight Club’ in collaboration with Adelaide’s own Zephyr Quartet.
Internationally acclaimed theatre makers presenting their work in Australia for the first time include India’s Abhishek Thapar with My Home at the Intersection and his six-course meal featuring stories from local and visiting expats SSurpassing the Beeline, along with South Korea’s Jaha Koo with Cuckoo – a reflection on his country’s recent history with help from three ‘talking’ rice cookers, which was seen at the 2018 Taiwan Arts Festival.
On the world music line-up, look out for singer Susheela Raman as she presents Ghost Gamelan, along with Lebanese producer Hadi Zeidan, the electronic soundscapes of Beirut Electro Parade and vinyl vibes of Shik Shak Shok. Using the death of his hero Muhammad Ali as a lyrical springboard, rapper/poet/award-winning author Omar Musa will bring his electrifying show Since Ali Died to Adelaide for the first time after a sell-out season in Sydney.
Says Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM: “There is simply nothing like our OzAsia Festival. No other arts festival demonstrates as well as this one the value of artistic exchange and the contribution to positive social, cultural and economic relationships between Australia and Asia. This year’s program is a feast of theatre, dance, music, visual art, literature, ideas, film, food and community events; with an emphasis on contemporary performance, collaboration and new commissions.”
Returning OzAsia Festival favourites include the thrilling Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker with a whirlwind tribute to Japanese subculture and Japanese theatre maker Kuro Tanino with The Dark Master, a gripping performance featuring a mysterious chef giving directions through an earpiece.
Following a successful run at OzAsia Festival 2016 with their human trafficking-themed Sk!N, Malaysian theatre company Terryandthecuz is teaming up with Black Lung Theatre co-founder Thomas Henning to present LIGHT – an experimental work providing a revisionist history of Penang and the birth of Adelaide as told through the respective stories of Frances Light and his son William.
After impressing local audiences with The Smile Off Your Face and Fight Night at Adelaide Festival, Belgium’s Ontroerend Goed is set to delight OzAsia Festival attendees with £¥€$ – an interactive theatre work about the global financial system and how the world’s biggest banks pull strings to make it work in their favour.
Says South Australian Minister responsible for the Arts the Hon Steven Marshall MP: “The Government is proud to support OzAsia Festival and the important role it plays in our state. By showcasing the best of contemporary art from Asia and fostering positive relationships between Australia and its neighbouring countries, this festival provides major opportunities for artists across the Asian region to play their part in connecting our people and communities.”
Now in its second year, JLF Adelaide will feature a transnational celebration of cultural connections and new perspectives. Former Adelaide Writer’s Week director Laura Kroetsch has joined the team as a producer for this year’s event after recently directing Dark and Dangerous Thoughts at Dark Mofo 2019. Speakers confirmed so far include JLF Co-Directors William Dalrymple (UK/IND) and Namita Gokhale (IND), who will be joined by fellow history writers Shashi Tharoor (IND), Frank Dikötter (NLD) and James Crabtree (UK/SGP).
This year’s OzAsia Festival will also see the Australian premiere of visual art exhibitions including Still by Taiwan’s Joyce Ho, Samsung Loves Us All by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, The Glamorous Boys of Tang by Taiwan’s Su Hui-Yu, Sorry for Real by French Guiana’s Tabita Rezaire and Sisters Sangam – an exhibition of works from 14 emerging and established artists from India and South Australia brought together by Adelaide’s Daniel Connell.
Says His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia and Patron of OzAsia Festival: “I am delighted to see OzAsia Festival continue to flourish as a celebration of our cultural diversity and the exciting ways in which artists from Asia are exploring contemporary performance. This year’s program has so much to offer, and I hope to see audiences engaging with all kinds of experiences in addition to the ever-popular Moon Lantern Parade and Lucky Dumpling Market. I think they will be thrilled by everything there is to see and do.”
OzAsia Festival 2019 takes place from 17th October to 3rd November 2019 at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Tickets and more information available here