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The Picture of Dorian Gray - STC
Photograph: Daniel Boud

The 6 must-see events at Adelaide Festival 2022

Get ready to party in the City of Churches, as Adelaide Festival is back with a fantastic program for 2022

Written by
Alexis Buxton-Collins

One of the few cultural events that’s been able to run through the pandemic uninterrupted,  Adelaide Festival will once again anchor Adelaide’s events season with 71 events from March 4-20 next year. The program includes nine world premieres and 17 Australian exclusive performances in a blend of Australian and international acts that includes a seminal dance work with more than 30 performers drawn from across Africa, eye-popping opera and physical theatre spectaculars and innovative theatrical productions that make use of boundary-pushing technology.

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Macro, March 5

Fresh from collecting three gongs at the inaugural International Circus Awards, Gravity and Other Myths follows up last year’s audacious The Pulse with something even more ambitious. Against a backdrop of fireworks, gigantic projections, a mass choir and a soundtrack combining First Nations Australian musical traditions with ancient Celtic rhythms, a troupe of 30 artists will construct gravity-defying human towers and perform gasp-inducing feats of acrobatics in a spectacular free performance to open the festival.

The Rite of Spring/ Common Ground[s], March 4-6

Pina Bausch was one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century, and her Rite of Spring is a masterpiece of fluid movement and primal emotion. This ambitious production, which features 38 dancers drawn from 14 nations across Africa, breathes new life into Stravinsky’s convulsive avant-garde score and is juxtaposed against a new work from two titans of the dance world. Common Ground[s] pairs “the mother of contemporary African dance” Germaine Acogny with Malou Airaudo, a founding member and frequent lead in Bausch’s company, for a tender reflection on their shared histories as mothers, teachers and choreographers.


The Picture of Dorian Gray, March 13-19

Lauded as one of the most ambitious homegrown theatre productions in years, this one-woman show is anchored by “a performance that will surely be remembered as one of the greatest ever seen on an Australian stage”. Live and recorded video allows Eryn Jean Norvill to inhabit and interact with all 26 characters in Oscar Wilde’s timeless tale, and the integration of multiple screens within the technical wizardry only sharpens this savage indictment of our eternal preoccupation with beauty.

Manifesto, March 17-20

Stephanie Lake’s Colossus heralded the emergence of a monumental talent, and dance lovers have eagerly awaited her next move ever since. Premiering at the Adelaide Festival, Manifesto was conceived with acclaimed sound designer Robin Fox and fuses hip-hop, ballet and contemporary dance. Nine drum kits are matched with nine dancers, each pair working independently as both movement and sound slowly grow in intensity until they collide and overlap in a maelstrom of kinetic energy.


Blindness, February 23 – March 20

Based on José Saramago’s novel about a pandemic of blindness that descends on the world with shocking swiftness, this remarkable “audio installation” uses binaural technology to bring the performance directly into the minds of the audience. Masterful narration and “3D” sound create the illusion that the action is taking place all around the listeners, which adds to the urgency of an apocalyptic vision that cuts uncomfortably close to the bone. 

Golden Cockerel, March 4-9

Lavish operas have been a calling card of festival directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield across their tenure, and this “glorious visual dreamscape” continues that tradition. Part Don Quixote, part King LearNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s final opera is a thoroughly modern satire revolving around the paranoia that surrounds a single ruler, and director Barrie Kosky lends a spectacular visual counterpoint to the formidable, seductive score.

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