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Art Down Under: OzAsia Festival Director Joseph Mitchell Leaves, Search For New Artistic Director Begins Soon


ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – After directing five successful and critically-acclaimed OzAsia Festivals, Joseph Mitchell is leaving Adelaide Festival Centre to pursue other projects, including directing Summer of the 17th Doll for State Opera SA later in 2020.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM, said: As Artistic Director, Joseph put OzAsia Festival on the map as the nation’s pre-eminent Asian/Australian cultural event. He has successfully showcased the best of contemporary Asian performing and visual arts in a way never before seen in this country.”

“He has been a leader in presenting an event that speaks to multi-cultural Australia and the 200,000 attendances for last year’s festival show that his programming approach is very much in tune with modern Australia – now the most multi-cultural country on the planet. Joseph is in my opinion one of the finest directors of festivals in the Asia-Pacific region. We all wish him well with his future career.” 

Major new initiatives in the annual OzAsia Festival under Joseph Mitchell’s Artistic Directorship have included the Lucky Dumpling Market, Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in Adelaide and an expanded contemporary performance and visual arts program. Over the past five years there have been more than 100 world or Australian premieres at OzAsia Festival, as well as 25 commissioned works.

Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Chair, Michael Abbott, said: “Joseph brought energy, passion and an unerring eye for great shows to OzAsia Festival. He challenged and delighted audiences with programs of diversity and quality. Bringing JLF to Adelaide in 2018 was a significant achievement and one that showed Joseph’s ambition for OzAsia Festival. JLF’s global reputation is enormous and now Adelaide has secured its place as one of the event’s satellite cities which also include New York and London.”

Says Joseph Mitchell: “It has been an incredible opportunity to helm the past five OzAsia Festivals. During this time we have seen the Australian debut of many world-leading artists alongside our dedicated support for the development and commissioning of new work by Asian-Australian artists and Australian-international arts collaborations.”

“All of this was made possible thanks to a dedicated team of talented staff as well as support from our national and international partners and stakeholders. And finally, thank you to the audiences who have passionately supported the festival as it has grown from strength to strength over the past five years.”

OzAsia Festival is Australia’s leading international arts festival engaging with Asia.  The festival attracts attendances of 200,000 a year with a program of theatre, music, dance, literature, film, visual arts and major outdoor events.

Established in 2007, OzAsia Festival has played a vital role in showcasing Asian arts and culture to audiences in Australia with collaborations between Asian and Australian artists, institutional partnerships, internship programs, large-scale conferences and the popular Moon Lantern Parade event. OzAsia Festival 2018 won the South Australian Tourism Award for the Best Festival and Major Event. The process of appointing a new Artistic Director for OzAsia Festival will commence soon.

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