From Korean synth-rock stars to visionary Japanese performance, heart-breaking Chinese theatre to haunting Indonesian puppetry this year’s OzAsia Festival had it all. Record attendance figures have shown that OzAsia Festival has hit its straps, with more than 230,000 people engaging with the event. The Festival also achieved critical acclaim and introduced a cutting edge contemporary program that heralded a bold new vision on Australia’s arts festival scene.
2015 OzAsia Festival featured 41 events, including 5 world premieres and 12 Australian premieres. There were 180 scheduled activities including more than 90 performances, 8 exhibitions, 15 film screenings, 10 speaking events and a variety of workshops and other activities. More than 270 professional artists performed across the Festival and more than 2,500 people participated in a variety of community events, performances and workshops.
Over two weeks, the Festival has delivered on multiple fronts – engaging, entertaining and thrilling audiences and cementing the Festival’s reputation as one of Australia’s leading international arts festivals, produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre.
The 2015 program gave audiences the chance to immerse themselves in some of the most exciting contemporary performances and visual arts from across Asia. There were a number of undisputed Festival highlights including:
The Festival opened with a celebration of Indonesian culture with the biggest showcase of arts from Indonesia ever presented in Australia, with more than 20 events and over 100 artists from Indonesia performing in the Festival. It included the Australian premiere of Teater Garasi’s acclaimed production of The Streets. Under the direction of prominent Indonesian theatre director Yudi Ahmad Tadjudin, it transported patrons onto the jostling streets of Jakarta.
“The Streets is a simply wonderful work of immersive theatre. It is a grittily aesthetic picture of the ordinary life of our near neighbours. It is a contemporary cultural experience, superbly wrought. A triumph of OzAsia 2015.” Barefoot Review
Also on opening night, Eko Supriyanto’s Cry Jailolo, a mesmeric contemporary dance work featuring seven young men from North Maluku who brought to life the mystical underwater world of Jailolo Bay.
Indonesian choreographer Eko Supriyanto’s glorious dance work Cry Jailolo saw the OzAsia Festival off to a terrific start. The performers are drawn from the communities with which Supriyanto developed Cry Jailolo, and all credit to them and their people for this intensely satisfying experience.” The Advertiser
Indonesia’s extraordinary Papermoon Puppet Theatre used the universality of non-verbal performance, whimsical theatrics and multimedia to reveal an intimate moment of Indonesia’s untold past in Mwathirika.
“Mwathirika is a deeply moving, beautiful and important piece of work. It opens this tragic story of the Indonesian people to the rest of the world, those of us who were shamefully unaware of what had happened, and informs us in an understated, non-judgmental and respectful way. The events portrayed touch us at our core and are wrong in any language. “ The Clothesline
Chaos reigned supreme as Japan’s Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker, took to the stage and surprised audiences with their high octane energy and boundless enthusiasm.
“Any preconceptions you have will barely come close to the reality – or non-reality – of this show. Nothing will prepare you for the visual overload or the liquid onslaught … It’s the strangest, most bizarre, amazing, wonderful and confusing bowl of Miso soup that you will ever experience; the epitome of consumerism and our modern-day throw-away culture.” The Clothesline
Superposition was simply super, Japan’s acclaimed electronic composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda polarised audiences with its cutting edge contemporary fusion of art and science.
“It’s an intense experience that overwhelms the senses, and the imagery is intoxicating…Ryoji Ikeda has created a dip into the mysteries of the universe with this exquisitely disorienting intersection of art and science.” Indaily
The world premiere of Spectra blended contemporary dance, Japanese butoh, live music and digital artwork, co-commissioned by Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival, the result of an artistic collaboration between Australian regional dance company Dancenorth and Japanese Butoh dance company Batik.
“Spectra is an outstanding artistic collaboration and, once again, the OzAsia Festival has brought us something truly unique, beautiful and stimulating.” InDaily
Adelaide turned out in droves each night for the very first Adelaide Night Noodle Market, which was abuzz with activity as visitors meandered under the glowing lanterns and sampled the best in Asian cuisine at bustling food stalls. OzAsia Festival Director Joseph Mitchell said, “It was an absolute feast for the senses for the entire family. Spring time is the new Festival season in Adelaide, across the Riverbank precinct over 150,000 people attended the Night Noodle Market to dine on some of the best Asian fusion food from Adelaide and around Australia, while also experiencing some of the best performing arts and culture during OzAsia Festival. The Night Noodle Market created a brilliant hub for OzAsia Festival patrons to engage before and after shows, and we look forward to Night Noodle Market’s return in 2016.“
Fairfax Events Head of Food James Laing said “the response to Adelaide’s first Night Noodle Markets exceeded the expectations of the team bringing this event to life for the first time in South Australia. It has been heartening to see Adelaide’s willingness to embrace a new event such as the Night Noodle Markets, and it’s clear that great food and drink alongside more than 40 OzAsia Festival free performances is what Adelaidians are looking for.” Laing said “We will certainly be returning to Adelaide in 2016 to again dish up even more noodles, yakitori and ramen.”
Don’t miss the final evening of the Night Noodle Markets on Sunday from 2 – 9pm, Riverbank Precinct.
The sun shone at the Moon Lantern Festival and the Hong Kong Dragon kicked off the parade in spectacular style. The parade featured 38 signature lanterns being carried by over 1,100 people school students and community groups. Over 40 community groups were involved, along with 70 volunteers and 180 performance artists. It was a very special opportunity for the community to celebrate together under the full moon, enjoying an amazing fireworks display including a cascading waterfall of fireworks off of the Adelaide Oval footbridge.
“The unprecedented attendance figures of 50,000 people clearly positions Moon Lantern Festival as a leading cultural celebratory event in South Australia. We are thrilled to see the extent of the community support for Moon Lantern Festival and are already planning for 2016, so that we can deliver a fantastic new design that will surprise and delight, and comfortably accommodate visitors,” Joseph Mitchell said.
And as the Festival draws to a close today don’t miss The Spice of Life on Sunday, a vibrant, fun-filled FREE family day at the Migration Museum. Come and celebrate spices from across South-East Asia, experience a variety of spice-themed activities that celebrate the diversity of tastes and cultures throughout South-East Asia. Elements will include food stalls, cooking demonstrations, community performances and hands-on activities for children. 4 October, 11am – 4pm, Migration Museum.
Along with final films in the OzAsia Film program at the Mercury Cinema, East by South East is a collection of short films looking at contemporary East and South-East Asian cultures made by Honours student filmmakers at Flinders University. The Golden Era, a film directed by Ann Hui, one of Hong Kong’s greatest directors, and winner of Best Film at the Hong Kong International Film Festival will screen this weekend.
Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says, “OzAsia Festival is the leading Australian/Asian cultural engagement event in our country and it has become an integral part of Adelaide’s cultural calendar. Over the last 10 days, the Festival has brought the arts of Asia to Adelaide and in doing so, given our audiences a chance to see cutting edge Asian performers, many of whom would not otherwise perform in South Australia.
“The Festival also attracted large numbers of local Asian communities to participate in a celebration of culture. Community engagement and cross cultural learning are some of the very reasons we present OzAsia Festival and it is a delight to see local communities embracing the Festival.
“And this year, OzAsia Festival also played its part in presenting South Australia to the world – on the opening night of the Festival we were proud to host the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding between the South Australian Government and the Government of West Java, thereby contributing to the strengthening of the important bilateral relationship between our State and Indonesia.”