When the Adelaide Festival in 2012 went from being a biennial event to one that happens every March, this writer was among those who feared something special had been lost. The whole point was that the festival came around only every other year, and was reason for out-of-towners to make a special pilgrimage to Adelaide. If I still had any of those reservations, Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, co-directors in Adelaide since 2017, have thoroughly banished them. The Adelaide Festival can’t come around soon enough. Their sophisticated, aspirational programming, their deep immersion in Australia’s cultural life and understanding of their constituent audience has made the festival one of the vital conduits for Australia’s conversation with the wider world of performing arts.
2020 marked Adelaide Festival's 60th anniversary: for 60 years, audiences have delighted in an outstanding mix of internationally acclaimed theatre productions, an eclectic array of world-class musicians, breathtaking dance pieces, renowned writers and striking visual arts displays. Enjoyed amid warm March days and starry nights, Adelaide Festival’s celebration of creative excellence makes for an event of truly epic proportions.
2020 was the fourth Adelaide Festival presented by Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy. All four of their festivals from 2017 – 2020 have been a resounding success breaking box office records. Neil and Rachel will direct the 2021, 2022 and 2023 Adelaide Festival programs, making them the longest serving Artistic Directors.
Adelaide Festival has shared Australia’s best new work along with some of the world’s great companies and artists including Lloyd Newson, Lyon Opera Ballet, Scottish Opera, Romeo Castellucci, Johan Inger, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hofesh Shechter, Meryl Tankard, Milo Rau, Grace Jones, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Akram Khan, Sylvie Guillem, John Zorn, Marlene Dietrich, Allen Ginsberg, James Thiérrée, Philip Glass, Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal, Isabelle Huppert, Schaubühne Berlin, Yehudi Menuhin, Isabella Rossellini, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Nina Simone, Jane Birkin and Malcolm McLaren.
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Adelaide Festival is a member of Festivals Adelaide: representing Adelaide's ten major arts and cultural festivals.