Adelaide Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre is welcoming back audiences in spectacular style with two new entrances unveiled today, featuring the reinstatement of significant artworks, and a program of exciting light shows, entertainment, and free events over the coming weeks.
To celebrate, from this weekend Adelaide Festival Centre will present seven unmissable weekends of live performances, and a dramatic light show that will illuminate the iconic building and enliven the precinct.
Welcome Back to Festival Theatre will feature live bands on an outdoor stage outside the Dress Circle foyer, along with pop-up bars, food trucks, family activities, free exhibitions, and performances by more than 200 local artists and musicians from Saturday 12 February through until the end of March.
This weekend, audiences can enjoy pre-performance outdoor entertainment by acclaimed local musicians Alana Jagt, Ryan Martin John, Jen Lush and Kelly Menhennett and snap a picture at the new immersive art experience, Tunnel Of Light.
The highly anticipated reopening of Festival Theatre features two beautifully redeveloped and spacious entrances – the King William Road Entrance and Festival Plaza Entrance, both displaying significant artworks.
The new areas open to the public tonight, ahead of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s John Williams at 90 concert, bringing the 2000-seat theatre back to looking its best!
“We are thrilled to be reopening Festival Theatre after seven months and we warmly welcome back audiences and artists by celebrating South Australia’s UNESCO City of Music status with more than two hundred South Australian musicians and artists performing in the coming weeks,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM.
“We are excited to be creating a buzz of activity at our new entrances that border the new Festival Plaza, which will become the gateway to the vibrant Riverbank Precinct. This much loved theatre will continue to light up on March 25 for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala and in May when hit Broadway Musical Frozen takes to the stage.”
“South Australians love musicals and we will be announcing more big shows soon as we lead into our 50th Anniversary in 2023,” said Mr Gautier .
“This is a terrific opportunity for South Australians to engage with a program of art, music, theatre and family fun in the areas surrounding one of Adelaide’s most of iconic and beloved theatres – Festival Theatre,” said South Australian Premier and Minister for the Arts Steven Marshall.
“This is a snapshot of what’s to come when we officially launch the revitalised Festival Plaza public realm in March, which will become a world-class leisure and entertainment destination for visitors in the heart of the Adelaide Riverbank.”
Tomorrow, a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony performed by Senior Kaurna Man Uncle Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien and First Nations dancers from Tjarutja Dance Theatre Collective will mark the official unveiling of the significant Kaurna Reconciliation Sculptures at their new home, visible from King William Road.
Other key artworks have also been reinstated including Sir Sidney Nolan’s striking Rainbow Serpent work, the brass sculpture Sundial by Owen Broughton and steel Sculpture No. 2 by Bert Flugelman (who also created The Spheres, best known as the Malls’ Balls’).
“Kaurna people have always welcomed people to our land. These sculptures recognise Kaurna people’s connection to this country, and through the art, we share the stories, history, language, beliefs, and laws, which the Kaurna people live by,” said Uncle Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien.
“When we use our observation eyes, and our enquiring ears we gain greater connection to a millennium of cultural wisdom and knowledge. Niina Marni, Kaurna Yarta-ana, welcome to Kaurna country.”
Patrons can also wander around one of the many exhibitions on offer in new expansive galleries in Festival Theatre foyer, including Bravo Festival Theatre! – which features untold stories through artworks, costumes, and objects from Adelaide Festival Centre’s Works of Art and Performing Arts Collections.
This weekend will also feature Adelaide Festival Centre’s Students Got Talent show in Dunstan Playhouse and the sold out The Stones’ Sticky Fingers concert in Festival Theatre, bringing Aussie rock legends together to celebrate the music of one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
On the long weekend of 11 – 14 March, Adelaide Festival Centre will host the grand opening of Children’s Artspace gallery and help celebrate the new-look Festival Plaza with workshops, installations, roving performers and family friendly activities programmed by the creative team behind Families at Adelaide Festival Centre.
The first stage of Festival Theatre back of house upgrades have also been completed in the last 7 months, including dressing rooms, the Orchestra Assembly Room, Stage Door, and production offices. The second stage of these upgrades is in planning.
The Festival Theatre renovations, together with the new public realm and event spaces, form a key part of the State Government’s overall redevelopment of Festival Plaza, with $993 million of public and private sector investment from the State Government in partnership with SkyCity and Walker Corporation.
For more information about the Adelaide Festival Centre and its programs, visit: www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au for details.
Image: Festival Theatre King William Entrance featuring Kaurna Reconciliation Sculptures – photo by Peter Barnes