Frank Ford’s legacy to South Australian Arts Organisations

AFC Frank Ford AM - photo by Claudio RaschellaAdelaide’s founding father of Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Adelaide Fringe, the late Frank Ford AM has bequeathed a long lasting legacy to his beloved SA arts community. Three generous bequests amounting to half a million dollars over the next decade will offer life-changing opportunities for artists at Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the Adelaide Fringe and Cabaret Fringe Festival.

The Frank Ford Commissioning Award will provide $20,000 a year towards the commissioning of new South Australian cabaret works to be performed by local artists at Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Ford, who conceived the festival, was awarded the Adelaide Cabaret Festival icon award in 2015 and was chair of the festival’s advocacy committee.

Frank was a man who clearly stood for all the good things: music, art and love. My talks with him inspired and energised me. His passion for theatre and music was enthralling,” said Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Julia Zemiro. “I am deeply humbled and thankful to be one of the drivers in finding excellent work through this generous yearly gift.”

Adelaide Fringe has been gifted $20,000 annually. The Frank Ford Award will assist a South Australian artist to take a creative work and present it interstate or overseas. Ford was the Founding Chair of Adelaide Fringe Festival in 1975 and its first Honorary Life Member.

“The Adelaide Fringe is so grateful for this bequest. It is very rare to see bequests like this directed to independent performing artists – once again Frank Ford has shown himself to be a true visionary and ahead of his time,” said Adelaide Fringe Director Heather Croall. “This bequest will make the world of difference to independent South Australian artists who always have to work so extremely hard to present their work further afield.”

A bequest of $10,000 annually to Cabaret Fringe Festival will give another South Australian performer the opportunity to take their work beyond SA. Ford’s involvement in Cabaret Fringe saw him encourage and develop emerging local artists.

“The Cabaret Fringe Festival is proud and honoured to be asked to continue Frank Ford’s legacy of helping South Australian artists develop and take their works to wider audiences,” said Cabaret Fringe Festival Director and Founder Paul Boylon. “Frank always had his door open for advice whenever needed and we’re looking forward to presenting the inaugural Frank Ford award next year.”

Frank Ford AM, who died last month aged 83, was a pivotal figure in the development of both Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Adelaide Fringe. He was a mentor to several generations of Adelaide artists and creatives and was an active writer and director.

Last night more than 700 people gathered at Adelaide Festival Centre for a celebratory send off. Among those who paid tribute were, former Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Directors David Campbell and Julia Holt.

Image: Frank Ford AM – photo by Claudio Raschella