Adelaide Festival reveals 2016 program

Slingsby The Young King Andy EllisThe 2016 Adelaide Festival of Arts begins with a bang in an exclusive one-night-only event when world famous French maestros of light and fire, Groupe F officially open the 2016 festival with À Fleur de Peau – the festival’s first ever performance staged at the Adelaide Oval.

After selling in excess of 10,000 tickets in only three days, the festival’s highly anticipated stadium spectacular is now officially the fastest selling show in the 55 year history of Adelaide Festival of Arts.

Dazzling pyrotechnics, a breathtaking piece of dance history, an epic theatrical spectacle and an impressive line-up of new music are just some of the things to look forward to in Artistic Director David Sefton’s fourth and final Adelaide Festival of Arts in 2016.

The stellar program features 30 theatre, music, dance and visual arts events including Adelaide Writers’ Week. The line-up includes 7 world premieres, 21 Australian premieres and 20 events exclusive to Adelaide over 18 days from 26 February to 14 March 2016.

Offering the kind of exclusive and momentous theatre experience synonymous with the festival, the award winning, epic, 11-hour trilogy from National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre of Great Britain, The James Plays makes its Australian debut exploring the lives of the three Stewart kings in a tumultuous 15th century Scotland.

Also a festival exclusive, Germany’s influential Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch perform the surreal and striking dance-theatre piece Nelken in the company’s first Australian visit since 2000 and the passing of the visionary Pina Bausch in 2009.

Other Australian premieres include avant-garde legend Romeo Castellucci’s Go Down, Moses (ITA), Canadian dance company The Holy Body Tattoo’s last ever production monumental accompanied live by post-rock giants Godspeed You! Black Emperor (CAN) and the award-winning 1927’s multi-disciplinary, darkly funny dystopian fable Golem (UK).

David Sefton has pushed the boundaries of his music program even further in 2016, with drone metal pioneers Sunn O))) and legendary avant-garde institution Magma (FRA) to co-headline at Thebarton Theatre. Radical Israeli maestro Ilan Volkov returns with Tectonics Adelaide, a two-day collision of classical and experimental music and festival favourite Unsound is back for two nights featuring phenomenal Australian premieres. Rounding out the music program is virtuosic Brooklyn balladeer Sufjan Stevens (US).

“For my last hurrah, I’ve brought together a slate of the world’s very best large-scale and ambitious performances exclusively to Adelaide. Alongside this I’m also delighted to be presenting a broad and impressive selection of South Australia’s finest artists,” says Sefton.

In 2016 the Adelaide Festival of Arts features eight South Australian companies across theatre, music and dance; Australian Dance Theatre’s Habitus, Australian String Quartet’s Alleged Dances, Zephyr Quartet’s Exquisite Corpse, State Theatre Company of SA’s The Events, Slingsby’s The Young King, Tiny Bricks’ Deluge, Stone/Castro’s The Country and Vitalstatstix’s Body of Work.

Adelaide Writers’ Week, the much-loved week of free open air readings and conversation will take place in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden from Saturday 27 February to Thursday 3 March.

The 2016 Writers’ Week program is a rich mix of fiction, fantasy, history, memoir, poetry, politics and political unease, hosting some of contemporary literature’s most exciting writers and thinkers. Guests include neuroscientist and author of Still Alice Lisa Genova (US), bestselling novelist and author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog Muriel Barbery (FRA), highly acclaimed travel writer Simon Winchester (UK), award-winning journalist Masha Gessen(RUS), award-winning novelist Charlotte Wood, environmental activist Tim Flannery and ABC journalist Kerry O’Brien.

In her fifth year as Adelaide Writers’ Week Director, Laura Kroetsch said “This year three themes have emerged and they are memory, mavericks and strong women. It seems fair to say that we live in perilous times and what cheers me about the books in this year’s program is that they are both deeply thoughtful and ultimately optimistic.”

The 2016 Adelaide Biennial, Magic Object – the flagship visual arts event presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia will bedevil classification and arouse curiosity, unfolding across an unprecedented number of venues. From magic to mythology, the festival also presents Boo!, a series of ghost stories and other scary matter depicted by local Indigenous artists and Heart Beat, an immersive 4D video installation by Melbourne artist Lisa Roet.

The 2016 Adelaide Festival of Arts runs 26 February to 14 March. Tickets are now on sale. For more information and complete program, visit: for details.

Image: Slingsby’s The Young King – photo by Andy Ellis