Want to get the most out of the OzAsia Festival this spring but not sure where to start? We’ve got you! Here’s your guide to the best of the fest.
What’s so special about OzAsia?
With more than 300 artists from 13 countries, three world premieres and seven Australian premieres, Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia is the nation’s leading contemporary Asian and Asian Australian arts festival.
The event, which runs from 19 October to 5 November, serves up a jam-packed program featuring dance, live music, art, cinema, comedy and literature, plus great Asian cuisine.
Now in its sixteenth year, OzAsia is a favourite on the Adelaide festival calendar, drawing 175,000 attendances across its events in 2022.
It’s a festival that delivers bang for your buck, too. A lot of the big events are free, and the price for most ticketed events is $30 if you’re aged under 30. That’s a pretty sweet deal for a big night out.
There’s also a three-show pass offer available. South Aussies of any age can buy tickets to three performances for just $99. And if you’re under 30? Grab yours for $69!
Why go to OzAsia in 2023?
OzAsia Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah has delivered a 2023 program that reflects the times, with profound and provocative works exploring themes of freedom, survival of endangered cultures and resilience.
OzAsia Festival, Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah: “I’m so pleased with the strength of the program this year, with some of our region’s leading choreographers, composers, writers, musicians and theatre artists joining us to offer rare and thrilling new experiences for OzAsia Festival audiences.
It will be a wonderful way to connect with the ideas, conversations and exceptional talents that international audiences are excited by right now, and to celebrate the Australian artists who are right up there with them.”
Here are some stats from the latest census:
- The top three non-English speaking countries of birth for South Australians are Asian (India, China and Vietnam).
- After English, Mandarin is the most commonly spoken language in South Australian homes.
- 13 per cent of South Australians identify as Asian Australians.
Festivities and food are how we connect across, and within, cultures. So what better time than now to grab a group of friends, book your OzAsia tickets, and spend a night out enjoying Asian Australian culture?
Want more? We discuss how multiculturalism is being recognised and what it means to SA’s collective identity, in Hot Topics episode 23:
10 OzAsia program highlights
Moon Lantern Trail
Always a festival highlight, the free, family-friendly four-night event lights up the Adelaide Riverbank precinct with a magical display, alongside roving performances, live music, interactive workshops and delectable food.
Lucky Dumpling Market
Another OzAsia fave is back at Elder Park serving up delicious cuisine from the best local vendors alongside free live music on the outdoor Lucky Beats stage. The local and international acts performing include Emily Wurramara, 1300, Jaguar Jonze and Singapore’s SAtheCollective.
Spend a day enjoying anime, manga, cosplay and karaoke at this vibrant Japanese pop culture celebration.
Special Comedy Comedy Special
This comedy extravaganza is hosted by Sami Shah and features a stellar bill of 10 top Asian Australian comedians, including Jenny Tian, AJ Lamarque, Jason Chong and Jennifer Wong.
tiaen tiamen Episode 1
Contemporary dance fans shouldn’t miss the Australian premiere of choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava’s bold statement about the survival of culture. Performed by Bulareyaung Dance Company, an Indigenous performing arts group from Taiwan, this spectacular work combines tradition with the optimism of youth, radiant colour and psychedelic electronic beats.
Paradise or the Impermanence of Ice Cream
New Zealand’s Indian Ink Theatre Company’s powerful play melds a dash of Bollywood disco and playful puppetry with thought-provoking musings on impermanence – of life, love and ice cream. Jacob Rajan delivers a lot of laughs as he channels seven characters in a dazzling solo performance.
The Bridal Lament
Award-winning vocalist, producer and artist Rainbow Chan fuses the traditional and contemporary in her multi-disciplinary live performance. Drawing on her Weitou ancestry (the first settlers of Hong Kong), the work reimagines a ritual known as the bridal lament, bringing to life an emotive and dynamic world of projection, movement and colour.
WIN two tickets to the OzAsia Festival’s The Bridal Lament, Wednesday 1 November 2023 – click here for details!
Buried TeaBowl – OKUNI
This solo performance is by Yumi Umiumare, Australia’s leading artist of Butoh – an avant-garde form of Japanese dance theatre. Funny, strange, wistful and wild, Yumi combines dance, text, song and a tea ceremony to channel the character of Okuni, a Japanese shrine maiden who invented Kabuki theatre.
Misty Mountain, Shining Moon: Japanese landscape envisioned
At the Art Gallery of South Australia, this free exhibition features works by some of the world’s most celebrated artists as they capture the beauty of the Japanese landscape. The art ranges from the sixteenth century to contemporary works.
In Other Words
More than a literary festival, this is three days of (free!) thought-provoking conversations between poets, novelists, journalists and playwrights. The line-up includes MasterChef faves Sarah Tiong and Poh Ling Yeow, award-winning novelists Shankari Chandran and Andre Dao, Australia’s most successful hip-hop journalist Simone Amelia Jordan, plus Myeongseok Kang, best-selling author of Behind the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS.