The 39th Adelaide Festival, the first of the next three Festivals curated by Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie CBE and Chief Executive Kath M Mainland CBE, invites citizens, artists and communities to help shape the way the Festival can support and inspire us all.
Ruth and Kath bring international festival experience from Melbourne, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna and London, with the added expertise of Associate Artistic Director Wouter Van Ransbeek, who focuses on new ideas and talent in the northern hemisphere.
Ruth and Kath’s first program builds on Adelaide Festival’s legacy of world class artistic excellence and innovation, with a line-up of both returning international stars Robert Lepage, Thomas Ostemeier, Laurie Andersen, Angélique Kidjo, Barrie Kosky, Stephen Page, Akram Khan and Milo Rau; and artists making their Festival debuts: Marina Abramović, Elizabeth Streb, Jacob Boehme, Édouard Louis and Víkingur Ólafsson.
Adelaide Writers’ Week, curated by Australian literary leader Louise Adler AM, once again brings together writers from across the world, with a focus in 2024 on South Asia and an impressive array of star names including Dame Mary Beard, Édouard Louis, Richard Ford, Elizabeth Strout, Ted Chiang, Yanis Varoufakis, Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart.
Ruth and Kath’s first program delves deeper into the role of an international festival in the 21st century. It provides opportunities for everyone to get involved through new bookend events Create4Adelaide and Floods of Fire and unveils Adelaide Festival’s three-year plan co-commissioning ambitious new works showcasing Australian talent to the world.
Highlighted shows include:
28 Feb – 2 March, Glenelg Beach
Stephen Page has chosen Adelaide’s beautiful Glenelg Beach as the location for our opening work’s world premiere Baleen Moondjan, his first major commission since leaving Bangarra Dance Theatre.
It’s inspired by a story from Stephen’s grandmother, from the Ngugi/Nunukul/Moondjan people of Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island). Set amongst giant whale bones, it depicts a proud Elder, a curious granddaughter and the day a baleen whale visits, in a celebration of First Nations stories and culture, and the human connection to earth, sky and sea.
Bring the whole family and your picnic rug to experience this spectacular work of striking choreography, live music and storytelling as the sun sets!
29 Feb – 3 March, Her Majesty’s Theatre
Guuranda also has its world premiere on opening weekend, based on stories from the Narungga people of Yorke Peninsula.
Adelaide Festival has commissioned Narungga/Kaurna theatre-maker Jacob Boehme to develop this piece with a collective of First Nations artists (including visual artist Kylie O’Loughlin, songwoman Sonya Rankine and songman Warren Milera), Narungga Elders, and non-Indigenous artists.
Guuranda weaves together theatre, song, puppetry, dance and visual art to share ancient stories that are vital, violent, delightful and dangerous, for audiences 8 years and up.
The Nightingale and other Fables
1 – 6 March, Festival Theatre
Iconic Canadian artist Robert Lepage returns to Adelaide with his most joyous masterwork which has an instant appeal to young audiences and opera first-timers, as well as seasoned opera lovers.
Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, Igor Stravinsky’s rarely performed first opera is blended with Russian fables and musical influences from Asia, Europe and early jazz from America. It uses acrobatic shadow play, Taiwanese hand puppets and Vietnamese water puppetry, supported by a superb cast of singers from around the world, plus the State Opera South Australia Chorus and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
It’s suitable for 10 years and up, and it will be an unforgettable experience.
The Threepenny Opera
6 – 10 March, Her Majesty’s Theatre
Director Barrie Kosky is well known to Adelaide Festival audiences for good reason – he’s one of the world’s best.
The Threepenny Opera needs no introduction, but did you know that Brecht and Weill wrote it specifically for the Berliner Ensemble to perform when it premiered in 1928? The same ensemble comes to Adelaide in 2024 in Barrie’s new production that demonstrates its timeless power.
Set amongst the poverty, crime and corruption of London, follow notorious criminal Macheath, a.k.a. Mack the Knife and his gang for this biting mix of sex, sin, love, betrayal and anti-capitalist politics.
It’s your only chance to see the production in Australia and you won’t want to miss it.
Angélique Kidjo with Maatakitj
12 March, Festival Theatre
Climate change is a key thread in many of this year’s works, and it’s also the inspiration for singer Angélique Kidjo’s newest album, Mother Nature, in her 40th year of live performance and on a new national tour which also includes performances in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in Feb and March.
Her music is a delightful mix of the West African traditions of her Benin childhood with American R&B, funk and modal jazz, alongside influences from Europe and Latin America. She’s supported by brilliant Perth-based Noongar song-maker Maatakitj.
It’ll be an evening of rapturous music brought to us by a charismatic performer hell-bent on leaving the world a better place.
Jungle Book reimagined
15 – 16 March, Festival Theatre
One of the world’s best choreographers, Akram Khan, has reinterpreted Rudyard Kipling’s much-loved story through the eyes of a young climate refugee – a now-female Mowgli – who finds herself in a deserted modern city, where wild animals claim the streets as their own.
The dancers’ incredible movements blend powerfully with state-of-the-art animation and a specially commissioned score.
Speaking to audiences of all ages, Jungle Book reimagined reminds us of the need to respect our natural world, in a powerful piece of passion and activism also appearing in Perth and Canberra.
Floods of Fire
16 – 17 March, The University of Adelaide and Festival Theatre
Adelaide Festival’s final weekend to celebrating the creativity of people living in South Australia, connecting cultural stories of creation to our natural world and extreme weather events.
On Saturday in a fun-filled free event, Floods of Fire will take over the campus of the University of Adelaide which celebrates 150 years in 2024. The event take will see composers and communities create new music, stories and art in response to extreme weather events. Move freely through the campus as citizens, communities, cultural leaders, artists, scientists, researchers, activists and artivists present short artistic interventions before The Citizen’s Orchestra takes to the stage that evening.
On Sunday, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of the Floods of Fire Symphony in the Festival Theatre, followed by award-winning electronic music duo Electric Fields with their own Floods of Fire commissioned song.
All tickets and more information HERE.
For more information visit http://www.adelaidefestival.com.au