Paolo Sebastian designs Commemorative Gown for Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary

Paolo-Vasileff-photo-by-Daniel-PurvisIn celebration of Adelaide Festival Centre’s golden 50th anniversary milestone, South Australian atelier Paolo Sebastian has designed a stunning commemorative dress to mark the occasion.

The one-of-a-kind couture gown by Paolo Sebastian designer Paul Vasileff, will be on display in the Festival Theatre foyer from Friday 2 June – Adelaide Festival Centre’s official birthday.

As a lasting tribute, the gown will become a cherished addition to Adelaide Festival Centre’s beloved Performing Arts Collection.

The Performing Arts Collection was established in 1979 by Premier Don Dunstan with the aim to preserve, record and display the significant contributions artists have made on stage and behind-the-scenes. It also holds items of cultural importance.

Since its inception, the Performing Arts Collection has evolved to become one of the most important and comprehensive performing arts collections in Australia and comprises over 100,000 objects.

Items in the collection range from ephemeral (programs and ticket stubs); to artworks (paintings and photography) design (costume renderings and set models) architecture (theatre fittings, furniture and décor) textiles (costumes and millinery) and archives and event files dating back to 1858.

Committed to fostering collaboration and inclusivity, Adelaide Festival Centre celebrates art and artists in all forms and is proud to house the Performing Arts Collection. The invaluable resource can be accessed by appointment by practitioners, researchers, and anyone with a keen passion for the arts.

“I have taken inspiration from various elements of Adelaide Festival Centre. I looked at different iconography and found key parts that made the space unique. Such as, the original carpet design, the colour palette, and textures, I then translated these elements into the embroidery techniques to create this design,” said Founder and head designer for Paolo Sebastian, Paul Vasileff.

“What better way to celebrate our 50th birthday than with a new dress! Since Don Dunstan dared to wear a turtleneck at the Festival Theatre’s opening in 1973 instead of the traditional tuxedo, opening night fashion has always been an important part of the theatre’s culture,” said Adelaide Festival Centre Performing Arts Collection Coordinator, Helen Trepa.

“Every thread and stitch of Paolo Sebastian’s stunning bespoke gown has been inspired by the history, architecture and colours of Adelaide Festival Centre.”

“Paolo Sebastian’s gown is a unique acquisition for the Performing Arts Collection where we will forever immortalise one of South Australia’s most prestigious designers and the Festival Centre’s half a century birthday.”

“You can see the gown on display in the Festival Theatre foyer along with many other special exhibition pieces,” said Ms Trepa.

Adelaide Festival Centre 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert will take place on the Festival Theatre stage on Friday 2 June. With performances by an all-star South Australian line-up followed by an after-party celebration featuring cake, cocktails, live music and DJ’s. This is a party, not to be missed!

This special event hosted by Libby O’Donovan OAM, will showcase Adelaide Festival Centre’s five festivals: DreamBIG Children’s Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide Guitar Festival and OUR MOB.

The concert will feature the talents of Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan, Sharon Grigoryan, Katie Aspel, Michael Griffiths, Counterpoint Ensemble, Lazaro Numa and the South Australian Primary Schools Choir. This memorable program is written and directed by South Australian performer and creative Johanna Allen.

In addition to the concert, the exhibition, Turn Up Your Radio which celebrates Adelaide’s music scene, will open on Friday 2 June.

The exhibition will feature music memorabilia including original handwritten song lyrics, costumes, photographs and gig posters from South Australia’s best-known bands and will include photographs submitted by music lovers, amateur photographers, gig attendees and professional photographers.

Turn Up Your Radio will be open to the public Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm and during show times in Festival Theatre Galleries until Saturday 12 August 2023.

The Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert will take place in the Festival Theatre on Friday 2 June 2023. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Paolo Vasileff – photo by Daniel Purvis