2021 Adelaide Festival opens 70 events, 10 world premieres, 14 Australian premieres and 18 events

The 2021 Adelaide Festival officially opens today having already hit its box office target! With a whole host of events over the next 17 days, 2021 marks the 61st Adelaide Festival and the fifth under Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy.

Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy said: “This has easily been our most challenging Festival to plan – and we are not alone in learning how to adapt to last minute changes. But the Festival is here! COVID-safe and just as inspirational, nourishing and energetic as its previous years 60 years. We’re so thrilled to welcome the Adelaide community and audiences from around Australia to celebrate the amazing artists of the 61st Adelaide Festival over the next seventeen days.”


Friday 26 February is opening night for the highly anticipated A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Adelaide Festival Theatre. The opera by Benjamin Britten and directed by Neil Armfield, plays 4 shows across the opening week.

Opening Event Concert with Jessica Mauboy on Saturday 27 February, starts at 8pm at Adelaide Oval. The concert is FREE!

New York based artists Robin Frohardt brings The Plastic Bag Store to Rundle Place in Rundle Mall, an installation where visual art and performance intersect. Designed to simultaneously confront, entertain, amuse, challenge, surprise and instruct, the FREE installation launched on Tuesday 23 February and runs until the end of the festival.

The Summerhouse, a new home and hub for Adelaide Festival will feature 40 free and ticketed events involving more than 130 artists and special guests from Thursday 25 February. Transforming its look and feel from early morning breakfast sanctuary, a go-to meeting place before a show, to live music hotspot; it is set to become the new beating heart of the Adelaide Festival.

Opening weekend will feature San Cisco (SOLD OUT) on Friday night, Prince: A Tribute by Late Night Tuff Guy (SOLD OUT) on Saturday night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Big Screen (SOLD OUT) on Sunday night. Breakfast with Papers kicks off on Saturday 27 February with Tom Wright and a panel of informed guests at 8am daily.

The Australian premiere of A German Life, staring Australian stage and screen legend Robyn Nevin in a demanding ninety-minute solo performance, has already opened at Dunstan Playhouse and will run until the end of the Adelaide Festival.

South Australia’s best of the best take to the stage over opening weekend, with three world premieres in the Adelaide Festival. Gravity & Other Myths returns home with The Pulse, a heart stopping show where audience, acrobat and choir fuse together at Her Majesty’s Theatre for 6 performances from Thursday 25 February. Slingsby and State Theatre Company South Australia come together in a major new co-production at the Adelaide Showgrounds from Thursday 25 February, The Boy Who Talked to Dogs is a true story of a homeless teenager adopted by a pack of stray dogs. The accomplishments of Restless Dance Theatre continue under the direction of Michelle Ryan as the company take over a bowling alley in Norwood from Friday 26 February. Guttered is an intelligent and witty performance about denial of the dignity of risk and well-intentioned ‘help’ that smothers potential growth.

FANGIRLS, with its stand out cast (including Aydan from The Voice), inexhaustibly funny dialogue, and heart-pumping, infectious songs opens on Saturday 27 February at the Ridley Centre at the Adelaide Showgrounds.

Race Cards, the interactive installation premiering in Australia exclusively at the 2021 Adelaide Festival opens on Friday 26 February in the Institute Building, State Library of South Australia. This brilliantly thought-through antidote to subliminally race-based attitudes invites you into a global conversation, five years in the making.


Update on Box Office (as of Friday 26 February, 12AM)

The box office target was $2,770,581, Adelaide Festival is at 105% of target with revenue currently at $2,912,334

Sales: 35,742 tickets sold
Revenue: $2,912,334

Sales to schools: 4,411 tickets sold
Revenue: $70,931

Facts and Figures for the 2021 Adelaide Festival:

  • 17 days, 70 events across music, opera, dance, film and visual arts events alongside Adelaide Writers’ Week and WOMADelaide events.
  • The line-up includes 14 Australian premieres,10 world premieres and 18 events exclusive to Adelaide
  • 5 works are especially commissioned by the Adelaide Festival.
  • The Summerhouse, a new home and hub for Adelaide Festival will feature 40 free and ticketed events involving more than 130 artists and special guests
  • Adelaide Writers’ Week will host 147 authors and 35 chairs across 95 Writers’ Week sessions, with 16 sessions and 2 performances running across Kids’ Day + Middle Grade& YA Day.
  • There will be a total of 896 performances (includes 113 writers week sessions + Kids’ Day +Middle Grade & YA day) given by 847 artists from 22 countries.

Sold out shows:

  • The Live from Europe LIVESTREAM performance of Eugene Onegin by the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia
  • The Summerhouse – San Cisco on Friday night, Prince: A Tribute by Late Night Tuff Guy on Saturday night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Big Screen on Sunday night
  • Sold Out shows at UKARIA include Love Sonnet and The Hermit of Green Light
  • Both Ngarku’adlu fine dining dinners on the final weekend  at the South Australian Museum
  • World Premiere of the documentary My Name is Gulpilil at the Adelaide Festival Theatre
  • Various 1:1 concerts including those at Carrick Hill and Hans Heysen House

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Being COVID Safe is a shared responsibility. We want you to enjoy the Festival and stay safe.

The Adelaide Festival, including Adelaide Writers’ Week, will be delivered under COVID plans following strict guidelines set by the SA Health. We will provide any necessary updates via website, social media, and/or direct communication with registered attendees and ticket buyers.

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