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The 2017 OzAsia Festival program places Adelaide at the centre of cuture, events and tourism in Asia

Marianna Sigala - 27 July 2017, 00:13

The 2017 festival program includes 6 world premieres, and 19 Australian premieres. Of the 50 events programmed, 35 are exclusive to Adelaide.


Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival proudly launches its program today. Running from 21 September – 8 October, Australia’s leading international arts festival engaging with Asia brings together over 300 professional artists from across Asia and Australia alongside more than 400 local community artists. Comprising a mesmerising mix of theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and literature from all across Asia, this year’s program features the best contemporary artists from Japan, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Korea, The Phillipines, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

The 2017 festival program includes 6 world premieres, and 19 Australian premieres. Of the 50 events programmed, 35 are exclusive to Adelaide. The festival will present more than 97 professional performances, over 100 community performances, 18 talk events, 21 film screenings, 6 exhibitions and 67 workshops. Approximately 150,000 people are expected to attend over the 18 days.

Check in to check out epic headline performance Hotel by W!ld Rice Theatre, where 100 years of Singaporean history unfolds in one luxurious hotel. With a consistently full occupancy courtesy of Japanese soldiers, Cantonese nannies and a multicultural mix of film stars, Bridezillas and street workers, witness the country shifting from British colony to Malaysian state to sovereign nation. An Australian premiere presented in two parts over five hours, audiences can choose whether to see the performance over two evenings, or together in one day. 28 – 30 September, Dunstan Playhouse.

Coming full circle from performing in Peter Brook’s iconic staging of The Mahabharata, when he was a child, celebrated choreographer Akram Khan brings his brand-new award-winning work Until the Lions to Australia for the first time. Drawing together a Pan-Asian cast from Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines as well as four live musicians, Until the Lions retells a passage from the famous Indian text: princess Amba is abducted by the powerful warrior Bheeshma, rendered unmarriageable and in turn invokes the power of the Gods to seek revenge. 22 & 23 September, Dunstan Playhouse.

Imagine an opera with nobody on stage, and no orchestra…that’s the reality when Japanese cultural phenomenon Hatsune Miku, a vocaloid singer, hits the stage to perform Australia’s first virtual pop opera, The End. With a voice powered by a singing voice synthesizer, and over 100,000 songs to her name, she can literally sing anything that her fans suggest and compose; however for The End, the music is by acclaimed Japanese composer Keiichiro Shibuya, as Miku contemplates her fears about living forever as a perpetual 16-year-old, in that she will never grow older or experience death. With her long, fetching turquoise locks and sassy style further enhanced by costumes by Louis Vuitton, come and experience a true 21st century opera. 3 & 4 October, Dunstan Playhouse.

Continuing with the theme of questioning life’s meaning, and the gnawing sense that this world and its realities are not enough, in a major coup for the festival, Singapore Art Museum has selected key items from its extensive collections of contemporary Southeast Asian art (one of the world’s largest), to present After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art. Curated by Tan Siuli and Louis Ho and presented in partnership with Samstag Museum of Art at the University of South Australia, and featuring moving image, installation, painting and sculpture from Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India and China, After Utopia explores the way that our ideals mirror our innermost yearnings. Until 1 December 2017, Samstag Museum of Art

OzAsia Festival Artistic Director, Joseph Mitchell, says, “The 2017 OzAsia Festival program is our largest and most expansive program to date. As we turn 11 and enter our second decade, the festival program looks towards the future with a selection of works that embrace the bold vision of contemporary Asia in the 21st century."

For dance lovers, the festival will open with the latest production by internationally renowned choreographer Akram Khan. For audiences looking for something different, opera will be redefined by Japan’s Keiichiro Shibuya who will present two new works that replace human singers on stage with a virtual pop star and one of the world’s most advanced AI robots. Theatre takes centre stage with epic productions from Singapore and Japan sitting alongside powerful new Asian-Australian theatre. The Mercury Cinema is home to an incredible line up of outstanding Asian cinema and across Adelaide there is an array of stunning visual art exhibitions. With Adelaide’s UNESCO status as a Creative City of Music, OzAsia Festival will present an incredibly diverse line up of the best music from across Asia and Australia.  

Adelaide is Australia’s festival city and there is no better place to celebrate the best contemporary arts and culture from Asia. I encourage everyone to come and enjoy the festival this year by trying out a selection of different things from tasty food, drink and community programs in the popular Lucky Dumpling Market to the various visual art exhibitions across the city and a stunning selection of theatre, dance, film and music.”

For theatre lovers and fans of Japanese culture, a secluded bath house in the mountains of northwest Japan sets the scene for The Dark Inn, written by internationally renowned Japanese playwright Kuro Tanino and winner of the prestigious Kishida Prize for Drama. When a puppeteer and his dwarf father arrive at the mysterious inn following a request to perform there, they soon discover nobody actually made a booking for their show. Stuck in the remote location, the father and soon discover there are plenty of other occupants keen to make their acquaintance…and that the misunderstanding about their arrival may be mental as well as physical. Spoken in Japanese with English surtitles and with a multi-level revolving set that boasts impeccable detail, The Dark Inn invites you to peek through the windows and doors of some fascinating characters and by doing so, exposes some deeper fundamental truths. 3 & 4 October, Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Minister for the Arts, the Hon Jack Snelling MP, says: “The Government is proud to continue to support OzAsia Festival and recognises the role it plays in continuing to foster positive relationships between Australia and our Asian neighbours, as well as providing a staple cultural and family event in the calendar each October."

Through sports, leisure, tourism and economic trade with Asia, the perception of our state in Asian regions continues to flourish, and in return South Australians continue to receive a top-notch understanding of all aspects of contemporary Asia from a young age, to which there is no doubt OzAsia Festival has greatly assisted in enabling over the past decade."

In Meeting Points, the Australian Art Orchestra will perform the world premieres of three musical pieces by composers from four parts of the world in one spellbinding event embracing the past, present and future. Cocoon, by China’s Mindy Meng Wang, extensively showcases the guzheng, a Chinese stringed instrument, and traces key events in Wang’s own upbringing including time spent in China, London and Australia, where she continues to live. Seoul meets Arnhem Land in Ecstatic Voice, composed by South Korea’s Bae Il Dong and Arnhem Land’s Daniel Wilfred, drawing upon natural musical elements from both cultures, including South Korean p’ansori (in which singers hone their technique by singing into waterfalls) and Yolungu manikay (the traditional passing on of songs that helped shape and name the lands throughout generations). The End’s composer, Japan’s Keiichiro Shibuya, continues to push boundaries with new work Scary Beauty being written for and performed live by Skeleton, a sophisticated new robot with a neural network that replicates the human brain. 30 September, Space Theatre (Scary Beauty also performed on 1 October)

A collaborative effort also takes place in Rising, where award-winning British Indian contemporary dancer Aakash Odedra performs four unique solo dance pieces crafted by a selection of the world’s most influential choreographers including Akram Khan, Russell Maliphan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui). Fusing together classical Indian dance with themes of ballet, contemporary dance,, theatrics and much more, audiences will see the influence of three of the world’s leading choreographers on one acclaimed young dancer, Aakash Odedra. 6 & 7 October, Dunstan Playhouse

Hip hop and urgent social politics collide on the Space Theatre stage when 2017 Helpmann Award winners (‘Best Cabaret’), the Hot Brown Honey crew struts in, where MC Busty Beatz and her sassy crew explore various sexual, political and racial stereotypes over the years, before firmly stomping on top of them through dance, poetry, comedy, circus, song and possibly some striptease to have audiences buzzing long afterwards. 26 – 30 September, Space Theatre.

Two shows examine cross-generational relationships and Australian-Asian identity through humour and family memories. In Recalling Mother, Claire Wong and Noorlinah Mohamed undertake a heartfelt discussion of balancing caring for aging mothers with the challenges of modern Singaporean life, taking it in turns to portray the other’s mother and using comedy, multilingual word play and a ton of heart to see life from another perspective. 22 & 23 September, Space Theatre

Whilst In Between Two takes a male perspective of courtship, long distance love and cultural barriers. Written and performed by Chinese-Australian rapper/writer/spoken word artist Joelistics (Joel Ma) and Filipino-Australian songwriter/musician/producer James Mangohig, whose parents were pen pals – between Adelaide and the Philippines – and were married in Adelaide. They both bring their families’ stories to life via use of humour, photos and live music. 5 & 6 October, Space Theatre

50 years on from the ground-breaking release of classic album The Velvet Underground & Nico, Aussie rock favourites Regurgitator together with China’s Mindy Meng Wang and German-Australian musician Seja deliver the ultimate multicultural post-pop sound, and a big nod to both Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, in collaboration to re-interpret the songs. 29 September, Space Theatre

The life, travels, military service and career of Australian painter Ian Fairweather is explored by composer Erik Griswold, author Rodney Hall, artist Glen Henderson, koto (traditional Japanese stringed instrument) performer Satsuki Odamura and Adelaide’s own Zephyr Quartet, in Fairweather. 23 September, Space Theatre

Self-confessed grown-up babies, hailing from Korea are The Ongals, who juggle mime, magic, clowning and music with…actual juggling, as they take everyday objects and transform them into a topsy-turvy beat-box of babbling hilarity! 7 & 8 October, Space Theatre

Fusing together live music with a film screening is Sever, in which legendary Chinese general Guan Yu finds himself in modern-day China and meets the beautiful Diao Chan as she prepares to give a performance. Audiences will gain a beautiful, darkly funny insight into one of Chinese folklore’s most classic tales. 7 Oct, Elder Hall.

Adelaide Festival Centre is delighted to host over 400 theatre sector representatives at the biennial 2017 Australian Theatre Forum, where new discussions and ideas from practitioners, producers and cultural provocateurs from all across the country will unfold on the Festival Theatre stage. 3–5 October, Adelaide Festival Centre. More information and registrations at australiantheatreforum.com.au.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO Artistic Director and AAPPAC Chairman Douglas Gautier says, “We look forward to welcoming the country’s best theatrical minds for the Australian Theatre Forum as part of this year’s festivities, and are greatly pleased that the Adelaide Festival Centre will be the setting for these important discussions, as we once again welcome audiences, artists and community members to OzAsia: Australia’s leading contemporary arts festival.

Singapore engagement is a comprehensive part of this year’s OzAsia Festival, and in addition to presenting some of that country’s most outstanding and cutting edge cultural and artistic performances and exhibitions, all exclusive to our festival, we will host the Australia - Singapore Cultural Leaders’ Forum and Asian Dramaturgs Network, generating and canvassing ideas for future collaborations.”

Nexus Arts will host an array of alternate, underground and boundary-pushing musical acts from both Asia and Adelaide, kicking off with Air Bandung. Featuring a lineup of four post-rock groups from both Adelaide and Bandung (West Java, Indonesia), at times mixed with funk, electronic and jazz beats, groups 1.1 Immermann, Trah, yeahyeahabsolutelynoway! and Under the Big Bright Yellow Sun will have audiences spellbound in no time. 23 September, Nexus Arts

Iconic Japanese all-female pop-punk group Shonen Knife joins forces with Adelaide band Satan’s Cheerleaders for one night of musical mayhem (29 September, Nexus Arts) and take the ultimate trip back in time to 70s and 80s Bollywood when Melbourne’s beloved Bombay Royale share the stage with Adelaide’s Shaolin Afronauts. 30 September, Nexus Arts.

Gender stereotypes in Filipino nightclubs are flipped in Macho Dancer, as dancer Eisa Jocson performs a typically male-dominated "macho dance" (usually performed by young men for male and female clients) appropriated for a female, to an electrifying soundtrack. 21 & 22 September, Nexus Arts.

A conversation between East and West expressed via dance is Specific Places Need Specific Dances, whereby Papua’s Darlane Litaay and Germany’s Tian Rotteveel share contemporary dance performances based around the themes of waiting in different places, sharing culture and exchanging daily habits. 27 & 28 September, Nexus Arts.

Taking its name from a 19th century term diagnosing the urge to escape from slavery, the Australian premiere of Drapetomania by Spanish composer Grey Fliastine and Indonesian vocalist Nova Ruth utilises music, live cinema and dance in an audiovisual strike against xenophobia, pondering the possibility of a borderless world. 7 October, Nexus Arts.

Sunday 1 October will see Elder Park come alive for perennial OzAsia Festival and community event, the Moon Lantern Festival. Australia’s largest lantern parade will feature over 40 different handmade lanterns led by the giant Hong Kong dragon, plus community and roving performances, a trail of 20 exquisite lanterns placed throughout the park for families to explore, and plenty of amenities and food from many of Adelaide’s most iconic food trucks, finishing with a liberal sprinkling of fireworks over the Torrens. 5 – 8pm, 1 October, Elder Park.

The brand-new Lucky Dumpling Market next to the Riverbank footbridge will ensure that festivalgoers are kept nourished in between performances and events. With free entertainment from local and international bands, artists and DJs, and a sizzling array of curries, noodles and of course the title cuisine, the market is created together with the team behind Adelaide Fringe’s Gluttony and is the ultimate spot for both a warming afternoon lunch and spicy late-night hangout. Bands performing include Australia’s Electric Fields, Malaysia’s Alena Murang, The Philippines’ Enrique De Dios, Indonesia’s Mocca and Singapore’s SA. 21 September – 8 October, Convention Centre Lawn.

Stunning visual arts exhibitions can be found across Adelaide. One of Hong Kong’s most prolific artists, GayBird Leung, took inspiration from the Chinese character for ‘’home’’ (a pig underneath a roof), as well as Adelaide’s Rundle Mall sculptures, to create Home, a 3-D installation of houses installed on Adelaide University’s Goodman Lawns. Wander throughout the sculptures with your experience enhanced by playful sounds. 3 – 15 October, The University of Adelaide, Goodman Lawns (outside Elder Hall).

GayBird Leung is also an exemplary sound artist, and will join forces with Adelaide’s Zephyr Quartet to perform the world premiere of his electronic composition Music in Anticlockwise. 6 October, Nexus Arts.

Adelaide Festival Centre will display a real-life portrait of the constantly changing contemporary Chinese landscape via a selection of work from China’s outstanding Chengdu Blue Roof Museum in Shifting Permanence (7 September – 7 October, Artspace Gallery) whilst Hong Kong’s Doris Wong Wai Yin will undertake her first Australian exhibition with seemingly everyday objects revealing much deeper meanings in A Place Never Before Seen Is Not A Place (7 September – 8 October, Nexus Gallery).

Mixed media images and stories by John Young, Brian Castro and Luke Harrald depict Macau, the oldest European settlement in Asia and home to its own remarkable culture and identity (23 September – 7 October, Migration Museum), and the extraordinary heritage of Buddhist art from across Asia, in particular when the Indian prince Siddhartha achieved enlightenment to become the Buddha, is the focus via sculpture, painting and ritual artefacts of Awakening: Art of Buddhism. Until 29 October, Art Gallery of South Australia.

Adelaide University’s Confucius Institute throws open its doors for a free Family Day, where from 11am – 4pm families can sample China through all five senses including Tai Chi classes, calligraphy, cultural performances and food. 8 October, The University of Adelaide, North Tce (outside Elder Hall).

The Confucius Institute will also present its annual lecture, titled Australia and China in the 21st Century, by guest speaker Frances Adamson (former Australian Ambassador to China and current Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) as both countries continue to move forward in the 21st century. 7 October, Elder Hall, North Terrace, Adelaide

OzAsia Festival’s film component remains as popular as ever, with all films screened at the Mercury Cinema and beginning with Singapore Now, three films by contemporary Singaporean directors: one of whom, Kirsten Tan, will also introduce the opening night of her acclaimed film, Pop Aye. A selection of award-winning films depicting modern day Asia comprises Across Asia, in addition to three additional titles by Women Directors in Asia. Fresh and New is an evening of next generation Hong Kong shorts screened alongside experimental student works from Flinders University, whilst Iranian Independents celebrates the important role of sales agent Mohammad Attebai in bringing the best new Iranian films to the world. 20 September – 6 October, Mercury Cinema, Morphett St Adelaide.

Writing China is a partnership between OzAsia Festival and Open State, and presents a free day of literary events and panels on writing, publishing, picture books and theatrical writing. The event has been curated by acclaimed author Nick Jose alongside Sam Prior and features some of Australia’s most prolific Asian-Australian writers and artists, including Anthony Ma, Alice Qin, Dorothy Tse and Julie Koh. 8 October, Open State Hub, North Tce.

The full list of free events and talks can be found in the OzAsia Festival brochure or online at www.ozasiafestival.com.au

His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, says, “As the OzAsia Festival enters its second decade, it is with great pride that we acknowledge the festival’s outstanding contribution to artistic excellence and the celebration of cultural diversity in our State, as well as the unique experiences it offers to audiences from South Australia, interstate and overseas.

I encourage everyone to gather with their families and friends and immerse themselves in what the festival has to offer, including six world premiere performances, the Moon Lantern Festival, the Lucky Dumpling Market and a range of cultural experiences around every corner.”

2017 OzAsia Festival is supported by the Government of South Australia, Arts South Australia and Brand South Australia.


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