• Stephen Page's 'Baleen' will receive its world premiere at the Adelaide Festival. Photo by Daniel Boud.
    Stephen Page's 'Baleen' will receive its world premiere at the Adelaide Festival. Photo by Daniel Boud.
  • A scene from Akram Khan's 'Jungle Book reimagined'.
    A scene from Akram Khan's 'Jungle Book reimagined'.

Next year’s Adelaide Festival will be the first to be presented by new Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie and her colleagues, Chief Executive Kath Mainland and Netherlands-based Associate Director Wouter Van Ransbeek. They have curated their debut program with one eye firmly on upholding the AF's legacy of artistic excellence and strengthening Adelaide's position as Australia's premier international arts festival. 

Well-established “giants” of the performing arts will be featured, some familiar to AF audiences, some performing in Australia for the first time. 

  • Acclaimed Canadian auteur Robert Lepage presents Stravinsky opera, The Nightingale and Other Fables  

  • Berlin’s Schaubühne director Thomas Ostermeier returns after AF2017’s acclaimed Richard III with the stage adaptation of Édouard Louis’ memoir Qui a tué monpère (Who killed my father)  

  • Inventive artistic and musical legend Laurie Anderson, who shares AI-created works resulted from her work as the world’s first AI Artist in Residence at the University of Adelaide  

  • Celebrated choreographer Akram Khan with a fresh re-imagining of The Jungle Book in a world lost to climate change 

  • Former Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Barrie Kosky’s Australian premiere of Brecht and Weill’s masterful The Threepenny Opera and Stephen Page’s world premiere work Baleen, performed at Glenelg Beach, which is also a first for Adelaide Festival 

  • Violin virtuoso and Adelaide Chamber Orchestra Artistic Director Richard Tognetti in the Curator’s chair of contemporary concert series Chamber Landscapes at UKARIA.

 International luminaries of the arts world who are headed to Adelaide for the first time are:

  • The world’s best-known conceptual artist, Marina Abramović and the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI): Takeover participatory project in the Space Theatre, creating brand-new site-specific work with invited artists 

  • The USA’s Elizabeth Streb, inventor of choreographic art form Extreme Action, which combines dancers with prototypic “Action Machines” in the exhilarating Time Machine 

  • Narungga/Kaurna theatre-maker Jacob Boehme, who has utilised Creation stories of South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula for the world premiere of Guuranda 

  • French writer and philosopher Édouard Louis, who performs in the one-man stage show of his memoir growing up as a young gay man in the shadow of his violent father, Qui a tué monpère (Who killed my father). He will also appear at Adelaide Writers’ Week 

  • Icelandic pianist phenomenon Víkingur Ólafsson whose debut Australian tour begins in Adelaide, and currently wowing international audiences with his visionary interpretations of one of the most challenging piano pieces ever written: J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. 

Other dance works will be: 

Restless Dance Theatre’s Private View and Australian Dance Theatre’s Marrow (both world premieres) and Dance North's spectacular Wayfinder, a highlight of last year’s Brisbane Festival. 

In addition to these established artists, Mackenzie is continuing the AF’s tradition of encouraging rising talent and nurturing creativity and involving as many people in the event as possible. To enable this she is handing over “curatorial poweras she describes it, to the public.  

Among her plans is Create4Adelaide, which provides the opportunity for artworks to be submitted and commissioned by people of all communities and ages. 

For example, she has engaged Jacob Boehme, a multi-disciplinary theatre maker and choreographer who has directed many large-scale events. Together with Country Arts SA, he will activate collaborations with South Australian schools, many in regional areas. So far 125 schools have already signed up, and Mackenzie hopes to triple this number by 2026. 

“Since 1960, Adelaide Festival has led the way with international artists opening hearts and minds through inspiring art," Mackenzie says. "It is an honour to play my part in creating an Adelaide Festival program which give artists and all of us in South Australia an important voice to the world.”


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