The 2022 Adelaide Festival program encourages us all to return to live performance with joy and anticipation, and will gather together a community of artists from across Australia and the globe.

The 37th Adelaide Festival program will run over 17 days from Friday 4 to Sunday 20 March. Announced on Tuesday 26 October at Bonython Hall and via livestream, the program offers a total of 71 events in theatre, music, opera, dance, media and visual arts, including uniquely local programs Adelaide Writers’ Week, UKARIA Chamber Landscapes and WOMADelaide.

9 World premieres, 6 Australian premieres and 17 shows playing exclusively in Adelaide will demonstrate the Festival’s tenacity and creative ambition and the adventurous spirit of artists from around the corner and around the world. It is both a showcase of thrilling and contemporary live performance and an opportunity for celebration, reconnection and optimism.

The Major Events:

Electrifying local contemporary circus company Gravity and Other Myths teams up with dance sensations Djuki Mala from North East Arnhem Land to present Macro, featuring a 30-strong acrobatic troupe, a mass choir, ancient Celtic rhythms, fireworks and giant projection scrims in a fun, free family event that will kick off the 2022 Festival with a bang.

Another major event, on Sunday evening of the opening weekend, will be ICEHOUSE: Great Southern Land 2022, a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band’s legendary anthem. Also on the bill will be yidaki master William Barton and Groote Eylandt’s ARIA-nominated blues and roots artist, Emily Wurramara.

Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan marks 50 years since the infamous drowning of Dr George Ian Ogilvie Duncan, which triggered an alleged police cover-up, a city-wide scandal, national outrage, a Scotland Yard investigation, pioneering gay law reform but no convictions. The new oratorio is the product of some of Australia’s most acclaimed creative talents: librettists Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas; composer Joe Twist; director Neil Armfield and choreographer Lewis Major.

Based on 30 years of research by local historian Tim Reeves, this long-awaited artistic response to a landmark tragedy is a joint commission between Adelaide Festival, Feast Festival and State Opera South Australia.

 The Theatre Program:

The zeitgeist relevance of Sydney Theatre Company’s landmark production of The Picture of Dorian Gray is just one of the reasons this remarkable stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic had Sydney critics grasping for superlatives and audiences on their feet going wild. Director Kip Williams and virtuoso performer Eryn Jean Norvill’s interpretation is both a lush period drama and a knowing conversation with the here and now, while ground-breaking use of live and pre-recorded video allows Norvill to play all 26 characters simultaneously until it’s hard to know who is made of flesh and blood.

The very special Queen’s Theatre is the venue for Blindness, Donmar Warehouse’s edge-of-your-seat adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago’s novel. Adapted by Simon Stevens, its depiction of the aftermath of a global pandemic makes for riveting, adrenalin-fuelled theatre, told entirely through sound and the voice of the incomparable Juliet Stevenson.

The Nightline by theatre/sound-artist duo Roslyn Oades and Bob Scott; The Photo Box by Adelaide’s Vitalstatistix and Brink Productions and starring Emma Beech; and Sex and Death_and the Internet from Melbourne artist Samara Hersch, all revolve around communication – over the years, between generations and via differing modes – and immerse the spectator in their telling: whether in a room full of 70s rotary-dial phones; poring over old photos in a regional South Australian town; talking intimately to a stranger across the age divide. It’s theatre, but not as we know it.

The stellar solo role in Dennis Kelly’s Girls & Boys, with its gearshift between Fleabag-style hilarity and searing horror, gives longstanding TV-drama actor Justine Clarke an opportunity to reveal the full range of her talents, in a State Theatre Company production directed by Mitchell Butel.

 The DANCE and DANCE THEATRE programs:

 The recently renovated Her Majesty’s Theatre is the venue for a Festival-exclusive major dance work. The Rite of Spring / common ground[s] has an extraordinary pedigree: emanating from Germany, Senegal and the UK; produced by the Pina Bausch Foundation, École des Sables and Sadler’s Wells; choreography by the late Pina Bausch, her contemporary Germaine Acogny and Bausch colleague Malou Airaudo. 38 dancers from 14 nations across the African continent, Rite of Spring is Bausch’s towering and unsurpassed response to Stravinsky’s music, recreated in its entirety by a brilliant, hand-picked ensemble.

 Stephanie Lake, possibly the most exciting choreographic talent to emerge in Australian dance in the last decade, brings her eponymous company to the Dunstan Playhouse to present the world premiere of Manifesto, dazzling us with the elemental human rituals of dancing and drumming, to a score by iconoclastic composer Robin Fox.

Another Australian premiere, exclusive to Adelaide, Juliet & Romeo is more dance-theatre than pure dance, and more a hilarious sequel rather than a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s iconic love story: the star-crossed lovers are now 40-ish, approaching a mid-life crisis and in the midst of couples counseling. Produced by UK’s dance/theatre/comedy/circus company Lost Dog, this work has gathered legions of fans and devotees wherever it has been performed around the world.

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