2015 OzAsia Festival – contemporary Asia in an explosion of colour and culture

AFC_OzAsia_The StreetsAdelaide Festival Centre has revealed its new contemporary programming for this year’s OzAsia Festival which runs for 10 days from 24 September 2015.

OzAsia Festival is Australia’s leading international arts festival presenting the best theatre, dance, music, film and visual arts from across Asia.  This year’s program features an impressive array of performance works by artists at the cutting edge of contemporary Asia, with a focus on arts from Indonesia across the opening weekend followed by performances from countries including Japan, India, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea throughout the Festival.

The 2015 OzAsia Festival features 41 events, including 5 world premieres and 15 Australian premieres. There are 180 scheduled activities including more than 90 performances, 8 exhibitions, 15 film screenings, 9 talk events and a variety of workshops and other activities.

More than 270 professional artists will perform in Adelaide and more than 2,500 people will participate in a variety of community events, performances and workshops. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend OzAsia Festival in 2015 across a mix of free and ticketed events.

“2015 OzAsia Festival gives Australian audiences an insight into the vibrant contemporary arts scene from across Asia,” says Joseph Mitchell, OzAsia Festival Director. “There is a generation of young, bold, risk-taking artists who are creating genre-blurring performances that celebrate the immediacy and fast-paced culture of Asia in the 21st Century.”

“International collaborations are also a feature in this year’s Festival program. We have world premiere performances by Australian artists who have been collaborating and developing new work with their international counterparts, such as Australia’s Dancenorth working with contemporary butoh dancers from Japan and also the Australian Art Orchestra working with musicians from Chengdu in China.”

The Festival opens with the Australian premiere of Teater Garasi’s acclaimed production of The Streets. Under the direction of prominent Indonesian theatre director Yudi Ahmad Tadjudin, the Space Theatre will be transformed to look and feel like a busy Indonesian Street in Jakarta where the audience will feel like they are part of the performance which unfolds.

Also on opening night, Eko Supriyanto’s Cry Jailolo, is a mesmeric contemporary dance work featuring seven young men from North Maluku who will bring to life the mystical underwater world of Jailolo Bay, East Indonesia.

Indonesia’s extraordinary Papermoon Puppet Theatre uses the universality of non-verbal performance, whimsical theatrics and multimedia to reveal an intimate moment of Indonesia’s untold past. Mwathirika is thought-provoking, emotionally chilling and is a visually bold work that tells the difficult story of Indonesia’s dark days of the 1965-66 anti-communist purge.

Topeng Cirebon, a celebration of the Cirebon region of West Java, is renowned for topeng (mask dance). Two of Indonesia’s leading dancers of this ancient ritual will present their unique performance styles. Nani Losari is an eighth generation performer of the spiritual Losari topeng style and Inusi is third generation of the energetic Selangit style.

China’s leading theatre director Meng Jinghui returns to Australia with the Australian premiere of Amber – an emotionally charged love story that transcends culture. Mind-blowing impromptu rock, dance and rapid-fire multimedia all combine to explore the nature of love, loss of innocence and the commercialisation of sex in modern China.

Blending contemporary dance, Japanese butoh, live music and digital artwork, the world premiere of Spectra features choreography by rising star of Australia’s contemporary dance scene, Kyle Page and leading contemporary dancers from Australia alongside performers from butoh collective Batik in Tokyo.

Inspired by the music compositions of John Cage, Taiwan’s M.O.V.E Theatre presents Dear John – an immersive sound and performance work weaves original music, installation and physical theatre into an intimate theatrical event.

Experience the rich sound of winds, piano and percussion in a wild intercultural celebration of Chinese and Australian culture with world premiere of Water Pushes Sand. Featuring composer Erik Griswold and the Australian Art Orchestra, teaming up with all-star musicians from Sichuan Province in China to create a 10-piece big band fusing traditional Sichuan melodies with modern jazz improvisation.

The Moon Lantern Festival returns on Sunday 27 September featuring a lantern parade and a stunning new design concept in Elder Park with never-before-seen lanterns, including the largest lantern ever created for a Moon Lantern Festival, the 36 person long Hong Kong Dragon.

The Festival environment and atmosphere will spill out of Adelaide Festival Centre and into the surrounding Riverbank precinct with the Adelaide Night Noodle Markets forming a massive festival hub filled with delicious food, stunning design and loads of free music and performances for people to enjoy every night.

“Over the last eight years, Adelaide Festival Centre has built an international reputation for its successful focus on enhancing Australian-Asian cultural relationships,” says Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier. “OzAsia Festival is the centrepiece of our long term, multifaceted Asian engagement strategy.”

“We are very much looking forward to sharing the 2015 OzAsia Festival with audiences, who will discover a visionary program of the best contemporary artists from across Asia in the areas of dance, theatre, visual art, music and film.

The 2015 OzAsia Festival runs 24 September to 4 October. For more information and complete program, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.

Image: Teater Garasi – The Streets (supplied)