From Korean synth-rock stars to visionary Japanese performance, heart-breaking Chinese theatre to haunting Indonesian puppetry this year’s OzAsia Festival had it all. Record attendance figures have shown the Festival has hit its straps, with more than 230,000 people engaging with the event.
The Festival also achieved critical acclaim and introduced a cutting edge contemporary program that heralded a bold new vision on Australia’s arts festival scene featuring 41 events, including 5 world and 12 Australian premieres.
There were 180 scheduled activities including more than 90 performances, 8 exhibitions, 15 film screenings, 10 speaking events and a variety of workshops and other activities. More than 270 professional artists performed across the Festival and more than 2,500 people participated in a variety of community events, performances and workshops.
Over two weeks, the Festival has delivered on multiple fronts – engaging, entertaining and thrilling audiences and cementing the Festival’s reputation as one of Australia’s leading international arts festivals, produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre.
The 2015 program gave audiences the chance to immerse themselves in some of the most exciting contemporary performances and visual arts from across Asia. There were a number of undisputed Festival highlights including:
A celebration of Indonesian culture with the biggest showcase of arts from Indonesia ever presented in Australia, with more than 20 events and over 100 artists from Indonesia performing in the Festival. It included the Australian premiere of Teater Garasi’s acclaimed production of The Streets. Under the direction of prominent Indonesian theatre director Yudi Ahmad Tadjudin, it transported patrons onto the jostling streets of Jakarta.
Eko Supriyanto’s Cry Jailolo, a mesmeric contemporary dance work featuring seven young men from North Maluku who brought to life the mystical underwater world of Jailolo Bay. Indonesia’s extraordinary Papermoon Puppet Theatre used the universality of non-verbal performance, whimsical theatrics and multimedia to reveal an intimate moment of Indonesia’s untold past in Mwathirika.
Chaos reigned supreme as Japan’s Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker took to the stage and surprised audiences with their high octane energy and boundless enthusiasm. Superposition was simply super, Japan’s acclaimed electronic composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda polarised audiences with its cutting edge contemporary fusion of art and science.
The world premiere of Spectra blended contemporary dance, Japanese butoh, live music and digital artwork, co-commissioned by Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival, the result of an artistic collaboration between Australian regional dance company Dancenorth and Japanese Butoh dance company Batik.
Adelaide turned out in droves each night for the very first Adelaide Night Noodle Market, which was abuzz with activity as visitors meandered under the glowing lanterns and sampled the best in Asian cuisine at bustling food stalls.
The sun shone at the Moon Lantern Festival and the Hong Kong Dragon kicked off the parade in spectacular style. The parade featured 38 signature lanterns being carried by over 1,100 people school students and community groups. Over 40 community groups were involved, along with 70 volunteers and 180 performance artists. It was a special opportunity for the community to celebrate together under the full moon, enjoying an amazing fireworks display including a cascading waterfall of fireworks off of the Adelaide Oval footbridge.
“OzAsia Festival is the leading Australian/Asian cultural engagement event in our country and it has become an integral part of Adelaide’s cultural calendar,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director, Douglas Gautier. “Over the last 10 days, the Festival has brought the arts of Asia to Adelaide and in doing so, given our audiences a chance to see cutting edge Asian performers, many of whom would not otherwise perform in South Australia.”
“The Festival also attracted large numbers of local Asian communities to participate in a celebration of culture. Community engagement and cross cultural learning are some of the very reasons we present OzAsia Festival and it is a delight to see local communities embracing the Festival.
OzAsia Festival Director Joseph Mitchell is already busily programming a Festival that promises to deliver many more performances that blur the lines between audience and actor – creating immersive environments that allow for close-up and intimate performance experiences that will inspire and enthral.
“OzAsia Festival 2016 will be the 10 year anniversary and will be the largest ever celebration of Asian arts in Australia, says Mitchell. “The program will reflect contemporary performance and cultural celebration from the entire Asian region, as well as showcase new commissions, world premieres, Australian premieres across a wide variety of theatre, dance, music, visual arts, film, talks, forums, food and cultural activities with something for everyone.”
The 2016 OzAsia Festival will run from 16 September – 2 October. For more information, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.
Image: Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker (supplied)