OzAsia Festival celebrates record-breaking opening week

OzAsia-Festival-TWO-photo-by-Joseph-MayersAdelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival is celebrating record attendances for its opening week with an audience of around 100,000 across four days of inspiring performances and exciting community events.

Families and people of all ages were delighted with OzAsia Festival’s new interpretation of the ever-popular Moon Lantern Parade, with more than 40,000 attending the inaugural Moon Lantern Trail from Thursday to Sunday.

The interactive trail began at Adelaide Festival Centre, with attendees walking past an impressive 40m Hong Kong dragon lantern along the Adelaide Oval footbridge before reaching the main attractions over at Pinky Flat in the riverbank precinct.

More than 20 giant lanterns from previous OzAsia Festivals were on display, along with two new additions – an Adelaide rosella lantern sponsored by Green Adelaide and a moon lantern floating on the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari.

Foodies favourite Lucky Dumpling Market reported its busiest weekend in the event’s five-year history, with tens of thousands gathering at Elder Park to enjoy free live music and a diverse range of cuisines from more than 20 food vendors. Lucky Dumpling Market is open from Tuesday to Sunday and runs until Sunday 7 November.

Performances by leading contemporary Asian Australian artists included the Australian premiere of acclaimed pianist Belle Chen’s latest work, Destinations, to mark the festival’s official opening at Her Majesty’s Theatre last Thursday night.

“With another two weeks to go, we are thrilled with the support we’ve already received from audiences for OzAsia Festival 2021,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM. “After an online offering last year, it’s fantastic to come back to our biggest attendances of any OzAsia Festival opening in the 15 years since its inception.”

This week’s program highlights include The Special Comedy Special featuring award-winning Australian comedian Dilruk Jayasinha as the headline act at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Saturday 30 October.

The world premiere of Perahu-Perahu will see the ancient Indonesian storytelling technique of shadow play turned on its head for an immersive show in the Space Theatre from 27 – 30 October.

The freshest emcees, singers, musicians and DJs from Darwin and Adelaide will team up for Pinoy Street Party – a joyous celebration of Filipino culture and heritage at Nexus Arts on Friday 29 October.

Food-meets-storytelling event Double Delicious is already sold out ahead of performances at the InterContinental Adelaide from Thursday to Saturday. The show is a unique culinary and theatrical experience featuring celebrity chef Elizabeth Chong, kimchi master Heather Jeong, writer Benjamin Law, dancer Raghav Handa and Adelaide actor Valerie Berry.

“It was fantastic to see so many people out in support of our opening week. The whole riverbank precinct was absolutely glowing,” said OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah.

“Our Moon Lantern Trail gave an up-close experience with an exciting collection of giant lanterns, while in Adelaide Festival Centre venues our exceptional artists received well-deserved and rapturous applause from audiences.”

“OzAsia Festival is all about the cultural engagement between Australia and Asia, and with the new direction in programming there’s a focus on the people who embody those connections – Asian Australians – and their brilliant works coming through of such a high calibre.”

In the third and final week, dance theatre work TWO will explore the interdisciplinary relationship between contemporary dancer Raghav Handa and maestro tabla musician Maharshi Raval during performances in the Space Theatre on Friday 5 November and Saturday 6 November.

New writing and ideas program In Other Words (5 – 7 November) will feature more than 40 of Asia and Australia’s most inspiring contemporary writers and thinkers across more than 20 free sessions presented live from the Dunstan Playhouse.

Registrations are now open for those wishing to secure their seats, and unregistered attendees will be admitted subject to capacity. Viewers across Australia and overseas can tune in through a free livestream, and video recordings will be available to watch on the OzAsia Festival website after the event.

Independent cinema Mercury CX is hosting a film program with special screenings until Saturday 6 November, while art exhibitions on display at Adelaide Festival Centre and other CBD venues include On View: In Translation – a series of cinematic portraits by celebrated choreographer Sue Healey in the new Ian and Pamela Wall Gallery at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Local contemporary arts organisation Nexus Arts is featuring a photographic exhibition called Untitled.Showa, while the Art Gallery of South Australia is hosting visual art events True Self and A Vast Emporium.

The 2021 OzAsia Festival continues to Sunday 7 November. For more information and full program, visit: www.ozasiafestival.com.au for details.

Image: TWO – photo by Joseph Mayers