2016 OzAsia Festival reveals exciting 10 Year Anniversary celebration

Split Flow and Holistic Strata photo by Ryuichi MaruiFeaturing an impressive array of performance works by contemporary Asian artists who are pioneers in their field, the Adelaide Festival Centre has revealed the program for the 2016 OzAsia Festival.

Running from 17 September – 2 October, performers congregating for the Festival come from a far-reaching and diverse number of Asian countries including Japan, India, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Cambodia, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Israel.

More than 280,000 people are expected to attend OzAsia Festival over the 12 days in 2016 across a mix of free and ticketed events that features 47 major events, including 35 Australian premieres. There are 111 professional performances, as well as 101 performances by community groups, 8 exhibitions, 16 film screenings, 59 workshop events and more. More than 330 professional artists will perform in Adelaide, along with 458 community artists.

“2016 OzAsia Festival gives Australian audiences an insight into the vibrant contemporary arts scene from across Asia,” says Festival Director, Joseph Mitchell. “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.”

To celebrate the Festival’s 10 Year Anniversary, a special Outdoor Live Music Concert Series, which is free for everyone to enjoy, will run over ten nights in Elder Park with high profile international artists each night. Artists include Japan’s Kenta Hayashi; Indonesia’s Ega Robot, Eyuser and Ria Rhythm Chambers; India’s biggest cultural and musical export Raghu Dixit along with Pung Cholom.

Hong Kong will be represented by Jin Wong, four-girl band GDJYB, Jabin Law and SIU2. Don’t miss super cool Singapore band The Steve McQueens and Charlie Lim and The Mothership; Taiwanese folk-band Wonfu, Freedom Beat  X DJ Cheer and Fade to Blue; Korea’s We Dance and Danpyunsun and The Sailors. Australia’s Electric Fields and Ngaire,  Malyasia’s Tenderfist and Cosmic Cambodia.

Rounding off the ten free nights of music will be a special performance of King of Ghosts, a live film score to a classic Indian film, created by India’s Soumik Datta and featuring Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The ten nights of free music will have Elder Park pulsing to the beat of contemporary music from across Asia.

The Festival environment and atmosphere will spill out of Adelaide Festival Centre as the Good Fortune Market forms a massive festival hub in Elder Park filled with delicious food, stunning design and loads of free music and performances every night.

Offering audiences with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the best performance culture from across Asia, highlights of the 2016 program includes: City Contemporary Dance Company’s performance of As If To Nothing – capturing the urgency and anxiety of modern day Hong Kong with a technically brilliant ensemble of 14 dancers, accompanied by live multimedia and sound in a moving set choreographed by internationally renowned Sang Jijia.

Providing an exciting record of Adelaide’s social fabric in 2016, The Record brings together 45 people from South Australia to create a live performance that captures and explores the essence of mortality. 600 Highwaymen Artistic Directors Abigail Browde and Michael Silverston are known for their innovative theatrical works which focus on the inherent poignancy and theatricality of our innate desire and need for convergence.

Choreographer and dancer Hiroaki Umeda is one of the leading figures in Japan’s avant-garde art scene. Split Flow and Holistic Strata have enthralled audiences the world over and the Australian premiere will be a blistering storm of frenetic pixels blurring the boundaries between the physical dancer and their relationship with light and sound.

Theatre aficionados will delight in the return of China’s leading theatre director Meng Jinghui with the Australian premiere of Two Dogs. Acclaimed as the most performed drama in mainland China, it is a hilarious comedy that challenges the lifestyles and idealistic views of modern China.

An immersive and participatory event, Skin is based on true stories of human trafficking. A cutting edge contemporary new promenade-style theatre and dance work by TerryandtheCuz, in collaboration with Australian choreographer Ashley Dyer. While acclaimed Tokyo theatre director Toshiki Okada brings baseball to the stage in God Bless Baseball – a comical investigation into how the iconic American sport of baseball has been fused into Japanese and Korean pop culture.

Soft Machine: Rianto demonstrates how the transition between man and woman can be a simple gesture. Created and directed by Choy Ka Fai, The mesmeric and captivating Indonesian artist Rianto, will perform the traditional erotic dance Lengger in a solo performance alongside new contemporary styles.

Cambodia’s Phare Circus is an edgy, high energy, all-singing-and-dancing Cambodian circus extravaganza suitable for all ages. This special OzAsia Festival world premiere presentation set in the Ukiyo Tent in Elder Park is full of adrenaline-pumping action and mind blowing stunts! The company was founded in 1994 by young men returning from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge.

Premiering at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, The Company Theatre Mumbai award winning Hindi translation of Twelfth Night is set in the frenetic and bustling city of Mumbai – filled with original music, singing, dancing and many nods to the chaos of contemporary life in modern day India.

Inspired by her mentor, the legendary John Cage, Margaret Leng Tan is the world’s first professional toy piano virtuoso in addition to her toy piano, she will bring music boxes, two-note paper accordions and bell bicycle in Cabinet of Curiosities.

Artspace Gallery presents Sequential Movement. Two of Japan’s leading dance choreographers and exponents of digital media installation Hiroaki Umeda and Mikuni Yanaihara guide you through the matrix of digital performance with a mesmerizing blend of body movement, multimedia immersion, electronic sound and choreography.

Nexus Arts Gallery presents two stunning works of collaboration between Australia and China. Unworldly Encounters features the work of experimental artists Shi Jinsong, Cang Xin, Sam Leach and Tony Lloyd who were inspired by Indigenous cultures and natural wonders of their respective nations. Divine Interventions offers a partnership between Damien Shen and Badiucao – visionaries who question concepts of identity, culture and belonging in our modern regions.

Be transported to the busy back street of Indonesia via the patterned work of Emily Rustano’s Pola: Motif Exhibition at the Festival Theatre Foyer, while at the Adelaide Central Gallery bear witness to the immersive installation exploring Philippine culture and history in Roundabout by Mark Valenzuela, Riel Hilario and Wawi Navarroza.

Japan’s teamLab are a world-leading artist collective known for staging large-scale indoor and outdoor interactive installations  drawing on themes of nature and humanity. In partnership with Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) and Samstag Museum of Art, three stunning works will be exhibited in Adelaide including the unveiling of Ever Blossoming Life II – Gold and Cold Life at AGSA, and The 100 Years Sea at Samstag.

For the first time OzAsia presents two incredible nights of electronic and experimental music. Subverse features some of the most progressive experimental music from underground Asia alongside a handpicked selection of exceptional talent. Immerse yourself in a bold, subterranean universe of sound, pop culture, music and digital art as Nexus Arts space transforms into a vibrant sonic temple.

“Asia is where the rules for contemporary performance are being shaped for the 21st century,” says Mitchell. “Artists from this region of the world are drawing on a fusion of technology, tradition, modernity and international collaborations across international cultures, and this year our festival program provides a glimpse into the incredible visionary arts from Asia shaping the future.”

The 2016 OzAsia Festival runs from 17 September – 2 October. For more information and complete program, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.

Image: Hiroaki Umeda’s Split Flow & Holistic Strata – photo by Ryuichi Marui