Adelaide Festival: Artistic Director David Sefton’s top picks!

The Adelaide Festival kicked off last night and with the help of Artistic Director David Sefton, we have put together a top 5 picks to help get your festival started!

From now until March 16, Adelaide is host to some of the greatest artistic work the world has to offer. With so much on offer, it’s often difficult to choose just a few works to see, but David Sefton told AussieTheatre his picks for the festival…

Roman Tragedies

L-R Renee Fokker, Eelco Smits, Jacob Derwig and Marieke Heebink in Roman Tragedies. Image by Jan Versweyveld.
L-R Renee Fokker, Eelco Smits, Jacob Derwig and Marieke Heebink in Roman Tragedies. Image by Jan Versweyveld.

On all the shows Adelaide Festival Artistic Director has sat through, this is in his TOP TEN, ever!

Staged for the first time in Australia and exclusive to Adelaide, this is a festival must-see as visionary director Ivo van Hove presents Shakespeare’s power trilogy Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra as a sprawling and immersive multimedia spectacular. Shattering theatrical conventions, the audience is invited on stage and into the thick of this political drama that frames personal ambition and national interest through our obsession with the 24 hour news cycle. Grab a drink at the bar, move among the actors and settle into a couch as this epic, ground-breaking production unfolds around you.

Sadeh 21:

Sadeh21. Image by Gadi Dagon
Sadeh21. Image by Gadi Dagon

Artistic Director David Sefton said: “Batsheva is one of those dance companies that everyone talks about with good reason. Ohad Naharin is unquestionably one of the most important chorographers in the world. I am thrilled to be bringing the company to Adelaide for the first time in almost 20 years.”

Sensation of the 1996 Adelaide Festival, Batsheva Dance Company makes its long-awaited return to Adelaide with the electrifying dance odyssey Sadeh21. Embark on a choreographic voyage of cinematic proportions with Ohad Naharin, one of the world’s pre-eminent contemporary dancemakers, in this explosion of beauty and control. An emotional, paralysing and captivating dance work, not to be missed.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

The Tiger Lillies in Rime of the Ancient Mariner Image by Mark Holthusen
The Tiger Lillies in Rime of the Ancient Mariner Image by Mark Holthusen

In a modern retelling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic, legendary balladeers The Tiger Lillies spin this epic tale into a hauntingly beautiful, large-scale multimedia performance. Together with acclaimed visual artist Mark Holthusen, the flamboyant and eccentric band unfolds the story of the ill-fated mariner with exquisite melancholy and lusty menace. Part concert and part film, this is a welcome return from the co-creators of the cult sensation Shockheaded Peter (2000 Adelaide Festival). Artistic Director David Sefton said: “This is the most stunning theatrical show The Tiger Lillies have done since Shockheaded Peter. It is just beautiful.”

An Iliad:

Denis O'Hare in An Iliad. Image by Joan Marcus
Denis O’Hare in An Iliad. Image by Joan Marcus

The time is now: the present moment. The power of Homer’s age-old story is unleashed on to a modern audience in a contemporary, in-your-face retelling created by acclaimed director Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O’Hare (Tony Award winner, HBO’s True Blood and The Good Wife). Smartly conceived and powerfully performed, the familiar tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battle become a breathtaking tour-de-force. A sweeping account of humanity’s unshakeable attraction to violence, destruction and chaos that begs the question: has anything really changed since the Trojan War?

Needles and Opium:

Marc Labreche in Needles and Opium. Image by Nicola Frank-Vachon.
Marc Labreche in Needles and Opium. Image by Nicola Frank-Vachon

Adelaide Festival presents an Australian exclusive restaging of legendary Canadian theatre maker Robert Lepage’s masterpiece Needles and Opium. Presented as a hypnotic series of fictional vignettes, this fascinating, introspective show explores the complex relationships between displacement, drug addiction and the creative drive, as revealed through the lives of Parisian poet/filmmaker Jean Cocteau on his way to New York, and American jazz legend Miles Davis during his stay in Paris in 1949. Artistic Director David Sefton said “I cannot wait to see this updated version of one of LePage’s classic pieces and see what they’ve done with the help of modern projection technology.”

For more information on the Adelaide International Arts Festival, visit their website

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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