A bold, risk-taking and genre-breaking selection that challenges preconceptions of Asian culture.

With 270 artists, across 41 events, including five world premieres and 15 Australian premieres, during 90 performances, eight exhibitions and 15 film screenings, the 2015 OzAsia Festival, hosted at the Adelaide Festival Centre, will offer a cutting edge programme of theatre, dance, music, film and visual arts that challenge the traditional stereotypes of Asian culture. Over the course of the 11 day festival more than 100,000 people are expected to swarm to Adelaide’s Riverbank precinct for the celebration of 21st-Century Asian art.

For this year’s selection, new OzAsia Festival Director Joseph Mitchell has brought together a collection of “young, bold, risk-taking artists who are creating genre-blurring performances that celebrate the immediacy and fast-paced culture of Asia in the 21st Century.” One major focus of 2015’s programme will be work from Indonesia, including Teater Garasi’s pioneering immersive production The Streets. The Space Theatre will be transformed to look and feel like a busy Indonesian Street in Jakarta, with the audience in the thick of the action as the peformance unfolds.

Another not-to-be-missed experience will be on offer from Japanese pop culture radical Miss Revolutionary Idol Berskerker’s high-octane hybrid performance. Part concert, part performance art, part installation, audience members will be brought to a secret underground location, given raincoats, before cannons filled with water, tofu and seaweed are fired over the crowd during the “chaotic” show.

Culture-seekers looking for more conventional performances can also enjoy some cross-cultural exchanges including collaborations between Australia’s Dancenorth and butoh dancers from Japan, and the Australian Art Orchestra and musicians from Chengdu in China.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and dancer Shantala Shivalingappa in Play

In what will be one of the true contemporary dance highlights on offer anywhere in Australia this year, the Australian premiere of Play. The show was created at the behest of the late and legendary choreography Pina Bausch by choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and dancer Shantala Shivalingappa. Bausch invited both acclaimed artists to collaborate, and the result is an exquisite fusion of traditional Indian dance and modern choreography that intertwines two cultural aesthetics with astonishing beauty.

The Festival management have also promised a contingency plan for the annual Asia Moon Lantern Festival, which has been called off two years in a row due to poor weather conditions. Inclement conditions, which have negatively impacted on previous years have been taken into consideration by Mitchell in preparations for 2015’s Festival, with certain aspects of planned events redesigned to make wet and windy weather less of a problem, and with flexibility in the Festival schedule that may allow for certain events to be postponed in necessary. “We’ve kept the design a little bit closer to the ground. It’s much more immersive so it’s slightly more wind and rain proof, but in the circumstances of extreme wind and rain which is something we can’t control, we have a holdover day,” Mitchell said.

The 2015 OzAsia Festival takes place at the Adelaide Festival Centre, September 24 – October 4. 

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