ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – OzAsia Festival, Australia’s leading contemporary arts festival engaging with Asia, returns tonight with its 15th anniversary program showcasing the best of Asian and Asian Australian performance at Adelaide Festival Centre and the riverbank precinct until 6th November.
This year’s program, under the artistic direction of Annette Shun Wah, features more than 500 community, national and international artists from 8 countries, and includes 10 world premieres, one Australian premiere and seven Adelaide premieres, across 50 ticketed and free events and exhibitions.
Tonight’s opening night performances include South Korean ensemble GRUEJARM Productions with the Australian premiere of the magic and comedy extravaganza SNAP at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Mixing sleight of hand, vaudevillian comedy and incredible visual effects, SNAP conjures up a magical cabaret that has wowed international audiences on Broadway and at Edinburgh Fringe.
In contemporary Australian crime thriller The Demon, award-winning novelist Michael Mohammed Ahmad investigates the history of the White Australia Policy. Fresh from a successful run at Sydney Opera House, action-filled, neo-noir The Demon has its Adelaide premiere at Dunstan Playhouse on Friday, addressing the challenges we all face as a multi-cultural, multi-faith, and multi-racial Australian society.
Premiering in Space Theatre tonight, renowned journalist Jane Hutcheon delves into her family archives to narrate her mother’s extraordinary childhood in pre-communist China using projected images from the family archive. Lost in Shanghai is a tale of an ordinary Eurasian family in extraordinary times, set against a backdrop of fading colonial opulence and looming war.
OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah: “OzAsia Festival audiences are in for a treat, with so many stellar artists coming our way.
We’re thrilled to present the best of the best in dance, music, theatre, comedy, visual arts and literature.
Together with the Festival’s well-loved community events the whole precinct will sparkle and hum for the next three weeks. What better way to reconnect?”
Inspired by the pilgrimage of over 16,000 Chinese miners in the 1850s to Victoria’s goldfields, the world premiere of choreographer Sue Healey’s groundbreaking dance performance The Long Walk, will be performed on South Australia’s Robe’s coastline by dancers Kimball Wong, Julian Renlong Wong, Ko Yamada, Tayla Hoadley, and Queenie Wu, and simultaneously streamed online and to Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre via drone this Sunday.
Family favourite Moon Lantern Trail returns to light up Tarntanya Wama/Pinky Flat from tonight until Sunday. Marvel at more than a dozen giant lanterns, including the 40-metre-long Hong Kong Dragon and a new lantern designed by local artist Michelle Lee at this free event. Be welcomed through the new Gate of Grace, created by acclaimed artist Tianli Zu, enjoy roving performances, puppetry, and live music, and join an interactive workshop.
Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM: “OzAsia Festival is a wonderful showcase of contemporary Asian and Asian Australian performance at its finest. This year’s OzAsia program is an important celebration of diversity within Australia, exploring ideas central to our multicultural community. I look forward to welcoming everyone to the fantastic variety of events that we have on offer across three spectacular weeks.”
Next week music takes centre stage with something for everyone including; Bridge of Dreams, a breathtaking collaboration between 22 pre-eminent Australian and Indian musicians, featuring Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan led by award-winning saxophonist Sandy Evans at Her Majesty’s Theatre for one night only.
At Dunstan Playhouse, iconic New York-based Singaporean pianist Margaret Leng Tan explores her 50-year career and its impact on avant-garde music in Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep. Hip-hop and RnB fans can catch Kuya James, Diola, Eastmode, Parvyn, Barkada and Clazwhen Nexus Arts hosts Eastmode in the West End: the biggest block party you’ve seen this side of the pandemic, right in the heart of Adelaide’s west end.
Rounding out next week’s music offerings is the free world premiere of rock opera The Rat Catcher of Angkor Wat, an outdoor musical theatre and puppetry experience set in the futuristic year of 2222, created by Victoria’s A Blanck Canvas and world-famous psych rockers The Cambodian Space Project.
Back by popular demand, The Special Comedy Comedy Special returns to Her Majesty’s Theatre with a stellar bill of Asian Australian comedians including Jennifer Wong, Michael Hing, Suren Jayemanne, Suraj Kolarkar, Lizzy Hoo, Annie Louey, Patrick Golamco, Jason Chong, and The Coconuts (Shabana Azeez and Leela Varghese.)
Cinephiles can look forward to leading film actor and fight choreographer Maria Tran’s theatrical debut in Action Star at Dunstan Playhouse. Filled with world-class stunts, weapon-wielding, and explosive choreography, Maria’s jaw-dropping fighting skills leap from screen to stage in this virtuosic autobiographical performance.
In OzAsia’s third and final week, Dalisa Pigram, a Yawuru and Bardi woman with Malay and Filipino heritage, reaches into Australia’s history of colonisation and industrialisation to ask how we can shift from a broken past to a brighter future in the intimate dance performance Gudirr Gudirr.
In association with State Theatre Company South Australia comes playwright Michelle Law’s smash hit family comedy Single Asian Female, a heartwarming story about love, family and karaoke from one of Australia’s most exciting writers.
Chinese Australian musician, composer, and performer Mindy Meng Wang returns to OzAsia Festival with When, a deeply personal tale of upheaval, family, and the global pandemic, sharing stories between her hometown of Lanzhou, Wuhan and her new home of Melbourne.
A highlight of the festival’s final week is Korean alternative K-pop sensation LEENALCHI (이날치) and Australian-Korean hip-hop supergroup 1300 teaming up in an Adelaide exclusive.
Writing and ideas program In Other Words returns under the new curatorship of writer and performer Jennifer Wong, bringing together more than 60 writers and thinkers from diverse backgrounds over three stages around Adelaide Festival Centre as they engage in important conversations from politics to pop culture. Events include Business Breakfast, hosted by business leaders Karen Loon and Ming Long, and the popular Lunch on the Riverbank hosted by Jane Hutcheon in which audiences can enjoy Japanese cooking prepared by acclaimed Adelaide chef Simon Bryant while hearing from local celebrated author Katherine Tamiko Arguile about her connection to the dishes.
OzAsia Festival foodie favourite, Lucky Dumpling Market, returns to Elder Park serving up a delicious range of cuisine from the best local vendors. Enjoy free live entertainment at the Lucky Beats stage, community performances, and free workshops each weekend. A new addition this year is the Bubble Tea Garden at Festival Plaza from 5-6 November, celebrating the beloved Taiwanese delicacy that has taken the world by storm.
For the duration of the festival, Adelaide’s Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre foyers will display exhibitions focusing on the theme of Women at Work including Art, Not War featuring the work of Shamsia Hassani, Afghanistan’s first female graffiti artist, Dream Job, curated by Melbourne-based Sophia Cai, examining the highs and lows of how, where, why, and for whom women work in the modern world and opening next week from Indonesia Batik Sangiran showcasing cloth cultural motifs designed by a team of thirteen researchers and ten women batik artists.
Adding to OzAsia Festival’s rich visual arts offerings, Nexus Arts hosts Pendulum, curated by South Australia’s Jonathan Kim, featuring six local second-generation Asian immigrant visual artists exploring the process of acculturation and the restoration that comes from reconnection.
OzAsia Festival 2022 runs from 20th October to 6th November 2022. More information available here
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