The upgraded Adelaide Festival Centre (AFC) will showcase six major musicals as part of its 2018 program, which kicks off in late 2017 with the ever-popular The Rocky Horror Show on December 28.
Some of the AFC’s redeveloped areas will be open to the public by the time the musical The Rocky Horror Show (December 28 to January 14) begins at the Festival Theatre, which has been closed since July.
“The whole north-front will be a destination in its own right with the restaurants, Walk of Fame, new entrances and upgraded foyers,” says AFC CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier.
The south side of the arts complex will be completed in 2020 while the Festival Centre-operated Her Majesty’s Theatre will close for major renovations after the Adelaide Festival season in April. A fundraising gala will mark that occasion in early April, with details of the gala send-off still to come. Her Majesty’s Theatre will likely reopen in early 2020.
Next year marks the most number of major musicals to dock in Adelaide. Aside from Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, other musicals to be unleashed in 2018 are: Green Day’s American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Mamma Mia! and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. AFC’s director of programming and development Liz Hawkins says that Adelaide has proven it is a market for musicals after success with Wicked, Jersey Boys and Matilda, which was part of last year’s Cabaret Festival.
The Rocky Horror Show is just one of the musicals heading to the Festival Centre
“The [presenters of] musicals that used to miss us because they didn’t feel like they could sell here now realise that they can,” Hawkins says. “It is a prolific season for musicals. Now for the first time, we’re [Adelaide] part of that and basically going to feature in every major tour.”
Hawkins says Rocky Horror will open the transformed Festival Centre before the musical season moves to American Idiot (January 19 to January 28), which will be one of the last major performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre before it is renovated.
“It will close on the 3rd of April, immediately after the [Adelaide] Festival,” she says. “We’re going to do a really exciting closing gala performance at Her Majesty’s as part of our fundraising campaign. Then it will be open probably in the very beginning of 2020.
“[The gala] will be a fundraising event but it’s a celebration,” she says. “It’s a celebration of what that building was and what it’s going to become. The design is a phenomenal combination of the old and the new.”
Lina Limosani’s The Spinners also makes up part of the program
Away from musicals and the AFC will present four festivals next year beginning with the Adelaide French Festival in January followed by the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Guitar Festival and OzAsia Festival in the second half of the year.
AFC will host local theatre productions from Windmill Theatre Co (Grug and the Rainbow and the world premiere of Amphibian, Patch Theatre (Cranky Bear and The 78-Storey Treehouse), Brink Productions (Memorial as part of Adelaide Festival) and the State Theatre Company (Sense and Sensibility).
AFC’s development program InSPACE has six local works in development. Next year’s crop includes the artists Ellen Steele (Digging a Hole to China), Tim Overton (In the Dark), Tobiah Booth-Remmers (The Wedding), Finegan Kruckemeyer and Daisy Brown (The World is Looking For You) and Daniel Evans (Drive).
Some exciting dance performances include the world premiere of Alison Currie’s Concrete Impermanence, Australian Dance Theatre’s The Beginning of Nature, Lina Limosani’s The Spinners, as well as the Australian Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty.
Other major shows include former Adelaide resident Ben Folds (February 9) and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Chinese New Year Concert on February 18.