The 2020 Adelaide Festival program launched on Tuesday 29 October 2019 at Bonython Hall and has reaffirmed the Festival’s pre-eminence in Australia, 60 years after its debut in 1960.
AF20 offers a total of 74 events in theatre, music, opera, dance, film, writing and visual arts – with uniquely local festivals-within-the-Festival Adelaide Writers’ Week, Chamber Landscapes at UKARIA and WOMADelaide returning – over 18 days from 28 February to 15 March.
16 Australian premieres, 7 world premieres and 19 events playing exclusively in Adelaide will establish this 35th Adelaide Festival as a cultural benchmark in a very special year which also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art – along with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, whose works inform four major events in the 2020 program.
Adelaide Festival – 60 Years, a landmark commemorative book, will be amongst the titles launched at Adelaide Writers’ Week.
Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield say of their fourth Adelaide Festival, “Over 60 years Adelaide Festival has forged a reputation as a catalyst for muscular relationships between artists and audiences. It has provoked, enraged and thrilled its audiences and has harnessed the city’s curiosity and openness to the unexpected.
“Over six decades countless creative moments from the hearts and minds of the world’s finest artists have been imprinted on the cultural memory of generations of Adelaide residents and visitors. 60 years of the Adelaide Festival is but a heartbeat in the life of the millennia-old wisdom of the Psalms and the poetry of The Iliad – texts which drive one massive, city-wide choral event, and one intimate spoken-word theatre piece, just two of 74 events in our 2020 program.”
Healy and Armfield say the 2020 Festival will be the most accessible yet, with significant enhancements to our discount ticket schemes and educational programs, along with many free-admission activities.
It was also announced that the Adelaide Festival is the first major arts festival in Australia to achieve a carbon neutral certification.
One of the main attractions of the free opening event will be Australian all-round talent, actor/song-writer/comedian and globally acclaimed musician Tim Minchin. The free birthday concert – complete with fireworks – will be held in Elder Park on the evening of Saturday 29 February.
150 Psalms is one of the most all-encompassing and perhaps memorable event of this Festival: 150 sacred songs, gathered together 3,000 years ago to become the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms; performed over four days, in four sacred spaces and one secular space including St Peter’s Cathedral and Adelaide Town Hall; in 12 concerts by four internationally-renowned choirs, with musical settings by 150 composers spanning 10 centuries of choral tradition.
Another special event set against the traditional beauty of an Adelaide-landmark venue is Fire Gardens, a dazzling, glowing installation in the green haven of the Adelaide Botanic Garden created by France’s luminary alchemists Compagnie Carabosse: tunnels of fire and delicate sculptures that flicker and dance to an immersive soundtrack of live musicians will transform the Garden into a magical wonderland of air, fire and water.
Of course, other always popular inclusions will return, such as cornerstone event Writers’ Week. The 2020 Writers’ Week will take place in an exciting new venue, The Workshop, and features Nigeria’s Man Booker-shortlisted Chigozie Obioma, Pakistani journalist Sanam Maher and Tyson Yunkaporta, academic, critic and researcher from the Apalech Clan in Far North Queensland.
In addition to the usual massive AWW program of free events, the Twilight Talks which were introduced in 2019 will make the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden the place to be as the sun sets and work is done for the day. Kids Day on the opening Saturday will feature again as with the YA (Young Adult) day on the Sunday.
Opportunities to reflect on the Festival themes, current affairs and/or the meaning of life can be seized in the Festival Centre’s Star Kitchen & Bar; with a panel of special guests in host Tom Wright’s Breakfast with Papers, and as David Marr interviews artists appearing at AF20 in the Festival Forums.
For the full program of events, see here.