ADELAIDE Lights Up Again this March!

WORDS: Phil Hawkes PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

The 2023 Adelaide Festival will light up Adelaide from 3 – 19 March, presenting a total of 52 events including 11 world premieres, 8 Australian premieres and 17 exclusives at venues throughout the CBD, Adelaide Hills and surrounding areas.

Australia’s City of Light will host a selection of the best local, national and international artists in theatre, music, opera, dance, media and visual arts, as well as major festivals-within-the-festival Adelaide Writers’ Week (4-9 March), UKARIA Chamber Landscapes (10-12 March) and WOMADelaide (10-13 March) over the 17 days and nights.

In a transition from six hugely successful Festivals curated by artistic directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield, there is now a new, all-women team in the driving seat: internationally respected Artistic Director, Ruth Mackenzie CBE, who is also on board to direct the 2024, 2025 and 2026 Adelaide Festivals; renowned arts leader Kath M Mainland CBE (Chief Executive); and prominent publishing industry leader, Adelaide Writers’ Week Director Louise Adler AM.

The free opening night event on Friday 3 March will once again take place in Elder Park, in the heart of the city, after a three-year hiatus, and will feature the incredible, powerful voices and harmonies of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls in Cairns-based choir Marliya and powerhouse singer-songwriter Emma Donovan in Spinifex Gum. With music written by Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill (The Cat Empire), choreography by Deborah Brown and accompaniment by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the artists sing in both English and Yindjibarndi to speak to important social and cultural issues with passion and exuberance, confronting some of the most hard-hitting issues of our time, while emphasising the importance of empowerment and recognising what can be achieved when we come together as one.

With gates opening at 5pm and the performance beginning at 7:30pm, there are no ticket bookings required – simply turn up with your picnic blanket to secure the best spot! More information here.

Ticketed highlights of the 2023 Festival include:

  1. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

3 – 12 March, Her Majesty’s Theatre

The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of the smash hits of the 2022 Adelaide Festival, and director/adaptor Kip Williams has again brought his signature personal touches to the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale, to incorporate live video and quick changes by actors Ewen Leslie and Matthew Backer in this dazzling new production. Follow London lawyer Gabriel Utterson’s attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding his friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the shadowy Mr Edward Hyde.

  1. A Little Life

3 – 8 March, Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre

No other novel in recent memory has captivated and moved millions of readers quite like Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. No other director in recent memory has created unique theatre experiences quite like Ivo van Hove and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, renowned for its epic productions included two from past Adelaide Festivals – the celebrated Shakespeare cycles Roman Tragedies and Kings of War.

In its Australian premiere and exclusive to Adelaide Festival, van Hove and his extraordinary ensemble of actors take on this modern classic with a similarly grand scope that dives into timeless themes of ambition, privilege, cruelty and power. It follows a group of four male friends over 30 years – actor Willem, visual artist JB, architect Malcolm and Jude, a lawyer with a past shrouded in mystery.

  1. Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk]

10 – 12 March, Dunstan Playhouse

This breathtaking new work from one of Australia’s most innovative dance companies, Marrugeku, connects the shockingly disproportionate levels of Indigenous Australians in custody and the indefinite detention of asylum seekers in Australia’s immigration detention centres.

Jurrungu Ngan-ga, translated from Yawuru as “straight talk”, takes inspiration from the words and experiences of Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson, Kurdish-Iranian writer and former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani, and Iranian-Australian scholar-activist Omid Tofighian.

Blending movement, music, soundscape, spoken word and projection, the company’s exceptionally talented dancers evoke dark aspects of the Australian psyche, drawing on cultural and community experience to move deftly between horrific surrealism, truth-telling and stunning physicality with dark humour and courage.

  1. Air Play

15 – 19 March, Festival Theatre

Creators and performers Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone are also married to one another! They’ve travelled the world performing this incredible, wordless work to over 150,000 people.

It’s suitable for audiences 5 years and up – you’ll see umbrellas flying impossibly high, fabrics soaring over the audience, balloons swallowing people and even swirling snow, in this breathtaking work paying homage to the power of air. With clever use of movement and technology, audiences are guaranteed to leave with a smile!

  1. Lorde

16 March, Adelaide Oval

Lorde’s impossibly catchy hit song “Royals” shot her to fame in 2013 as a 16-year-old from New Zealand who took the pop world by storm with her enthralling vocals and commanding stage presence. This special event marks her first South Australian visit since 2014.

Celebrating her 2021 album, Solar Power, Lorde is joined by LA-based trio MUNA (fresh from supporting Taylor Swift!) and South Australian singer-songwriter Stellie.

Don’t miss your chance to witness the undeniable talent of these brilliant musicians.

  1. The Sheep Song

16 – 19 March, Dunstan Playhouse

Belgian theatre company FC Bergman is currently one of Europe’s most talked-about collectives, and this is the only opportunity to see this performance in Australia, this year!

This captivating, wordless fable follows the story of one sheep who feels the desire to lead a more glorious life. It strikes a Faustian bargain and undergoes the ultimate transformation to being a fantastical odyssey, encountering the inexplicable and irrational world of human beings, with all its flamboyant and exotic characters.

  1. Revisor

17 – 19 March, Her Majesty’s Theatre

The farcical world of Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector inspired this astonishing brand-new work from one of the world’s best dance theatre companies, Kidd Pivot, last seen at Adelaide Festival in 2017 with Betroffenheit.

The recorded script provides the score for arresting choreography brought to life by the phenomenal dancers and costumes, who move in sync with the spoken words. Gogol’s 19th-century work, set in politically corrupt Imperial Russia, draws many parallels with the 21st century…including the satirical ones!

Be there… so much to see in Adelaide in March!

For all programme information and ticket bookings: