Come Celebrate an Icon, Adelaide Festival Centre 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert

For 50 years, Adelaide Festival Centre has been the home of culture in South Australia, sharing the very best in arts and entertainment for all.

To commemorate 50 wonderful years, we’ll host a party like no other. Adelaide Festival Centre 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert will take place on Adelaide Festival Centre’s actual birthday, Friday June 2 at Festival Theatre. With performances by an all-star South Australian line-up followed by an after-party celebration featuring cake, cocktails, live music and DJ’s. This is a party, not to be missed.

This special event hosted by Libby O’Donovan OAM, will showcase Adelaide Festival Centre’s five festivals; DreamBIG Children’s Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide Guitar Festival and OUR MOB. These festivals are curated to reflect contemporary Australia, and showcase South Australia’s strength in Asian engagement, First Nations culture, education and youth development, music and our connection as a UNESCO City of Music.

The concert will feature the talents of Adelaide Guitar Festival Artistic Director Slava Grigoryan, acclaimed cellist Sharon Grigoryan, First Nations singer/songwriters Nancy Bates and Katie Aspel, Helpmann Award winning cabaret artist Michael Griffiths, Counterpoint Ensemble who wowed audiences in the 2022 line-up of the OzAsia Festival, Latin trumpet virtuoso Lazaro Numa and the South Australian Primary Schools Choir which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. This memorable program is written and directed by South Australian performer and creative Johanna Allen.

Being the first major Arts Centre to open in the country, Adelaide Festival Centre is a place of national significance. From welcoming international superstars to nurturing emerging and local artists, Adelaide Festival Centre looks forward to continuing to engage and entertain audiences for many more years to come.

The Hon. Anthony Albanese, MP, Prime Minister of Australia:

50 years ago, two great Labor leaders, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and SA Premier Don Dunstan, stood shoulder to shoulder and launched the first Arts Centre in Australia, Adelaide Festival Centre.

Both leaders were adamant believers in the power of culture to strengthen society and bringing us all together. Half a century on, my government believes and acts on the same convictions.

Happy Birthday Adelaide Festival Centre, long may your curtains rise.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM:

For 50 years Adelaide Festival Centre has been the heart of the arts in South Australia and on our golden anniversary we look back at our rich past and ahead to our future with great pride.

Adelaide Festival Centre was the first major Arts Centre to open in our country and shall always aspire to be the best.

We look forward to celebrating this milestone Birthday with all South Australians.

Minister for Arts, the Hon. Andrea Michaels MP:

Labor Premier Don Dunstan understood that art and culture is a powerful way of connecting with each other and the world when he opened the first national arts centre in Australia and now, 50 years later, I am thrilled to be celebrating this extraordinary milestone with a 50th anniversary concert.

Featuring an all-star line-up of South Australian talent, this concert is a celebration of 50 years of innovative, thought-provoking and exciting performances. South Australians are rightly proud of our state’s legacy as the festival state with the Festival Centre at its heart.

Adelaide Festival Centre 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert Creative Director Johanna Allen:

To be asked to creatively lead the Adelaide Festival Centre 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert is a joyous chance to give back to the place that gave me my world. This incredible centre is 50 years young. And we are going to celebrate its history, its identity, and its place as the cultural heartbeat of our city.

Libby O’Donovan:

Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to this iconic venue to witness every form of theatre imaginable. Artists and audiences alike have had their hearts and souls filled over the last half century and all who have graced the stage and the stalls are part of a big, beautiful community.

Celebrating the first 50 years of the Adelaide Festival Centre with a magnificent and grand concert is an exciting way to honour this glorious centre and to acknowledge the past, present and future of the arts in Adelaide.

In addition to the concert, the exhibition, Turn Up Your Radio which celebrates Adelaide’s music scene, will open on June 2. The exhibition will feature music memorabilia including original handwritten song lyrics, costumes, photographs and gig posters from South Australia’s best-known bands and will include photographs submitted by music lovers, amateur photographers, gig attendees and professional photographers. Turn Up Your radio will be open to the public Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm during show times in Festival Theatre Galleries until August 12.

Adelaide Festival Centre will also celebrate throughout the year starting with DreamBIG Children’s Festival in May with The BIGGEST Big Family Weekend (20-21 May) and Adelaide Cabaret Festival (9 – 24 June) features an all-star line-up of Artistic Directors, including Julia Holt, David Campbell and Lisa Campbell, Kate Ceberano, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor, Julia Zemiro, Alan Cumming and Tina Arena.

Adelaide Festival Centre was the first major Arts Centre built in Australia, opening on June 2, 1973, by Australian Prime Minister at the time Gough Whitlam along with South Australian Premier Don Dunstan and Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Robert Porter. The first performance was a classical gala concert and opera excerpt at Festival Theatre. Adelaide Festival Centre was designed by architect John Morphett and the complex took almost three years to construct.

So come along – you’re invited to the party. Share in the joy, the success and continuing story of a place we all belong to. Happy Birthday Adelaide Festival Centre. Come and share the cake!

Supported by Adelaide Economic Development Agency and the City of Adelaide.

Season Details

Venue: Festival Theatre
Dates:  2 June 2023

For more information click HERE

Photo Credit: Simon Shiff, Ben Searcy

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