Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival is back this year, with more than 500 artists from eight countries, 10 world premieres and 50 ticketed and free events over three weeks. The innovative and daring multi-arts festival will bring the best of contemporary Asian and Asian-Australian performance, art, literature, cuisine and culture to Adelaide from October 20 to November 6.
Among the highlights are a free family-friendly event, the Moon Lantern Trail, on the festival’s opening weekend, featuring more than a dozen giant handcrafted lanterns, including a 40-metre-long dragon; a live music performance by K-pop sensation Leenalchi and Australian-Korean hip-hop supergroup 1300; a massive block party celebrating Asian hip-hop and R’n’B, featuring multi-award-winning artist Kuya James, DJ Diola and many more; and a comedy special featuring Michael Hing, Lizzy Hoo, Annie Louey, Jason Chong and more.
Artistic director Annette Shun Wah is back in the hot seat for her second festival, this year joined by writer, comedian and performer Jennifer Wong (host of ABC iView’s Chopsticks or Fork?), the new curator of the festival’s writing and ideas program, In Other Words. “I loved the way OzAsia Festival audiences embraced our program last year,” Shun Wah said in a press release. “With borders open this year we offer even more exceptional, meaningful, and enthralling works of creativity and artistry, putting Asian and Asian-Australian perspectives, imaginations, and ideas firmly at the centre of this unique festival.”
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Four works will premiere in 2022 after postponements last year, including actor and fight choreographer Maria Tran’s Action Star, which smashes everything from glass ceilings to gender and racial stereotypes; and Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s gripping play The Demon, which explores the history of the White Australia Policy in an action-filled, neo-noir investigation set in modern-day Sydney. Playwright Michelle Law’s hit comedy Single Asian Female, originally scheduled for State Theatre Company South Australia’s 2021 program, will also finally make its Adelaide debut, directed by local Nescha Jelk.
Taking place on the final weekend is In Other Words, under the new curatorship of Wong along with guest curators Beverley Wang (ABC Radio National) and Marc Fennell (SBS TV’s The Feed). It’ll feature hard-hitting conversations between poets, novelists, journalists, playwrights, performers and creatives from around the world (the full In Other Words program will be announced and on sale in September.)
And festival favourite, the Lucky Dumpling Market, will return to Elder Park serving up delicious pan-Asian cuisine, live music (including performances by multi-disciplinary artist Rainbow Chan and genre-bending producer Yeo) and free family-friendly workshops. This year, it’ll be joined by a two-day Bubble Tea Garden (November 5-6) next door.
OzAsia runs from October 20 to November 6. Tickets are on sale now.