OzAsia Festival reveals a taste of 2019 program

An intergenerational epic from Taiwan-based playwright and 2018 festival favourite Stan Lai features in an initial OzAsia Festival program drop that places migration, heritage and the global financial system in the spotlight.

Leading this first string of announcements for the 13th OzAsia Festival is the Australian premiere of What the Day Owes to the Night, a 2013 contemporary dance work from French-Algerian choreographer and dancer Hervé Koubi. Featuring male twelve dancers in a work that reflects upon Koubi’s Algerian ancestry, the piece has been described as a “creation of poetic beauty” by the New York Times.

Celebrated playwright Stan Lai proved a sellout hit at last year’s OzAsia Festival with his play Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land. In 2019, South Australian audiences will be able to experience Lai’s take on the last few decades of Taiwan’s history with The Village (pictured above), which spans half a century from the flight of refugees to the island during the Chinese Civil War, to the communities they created in their new home.

What the Day Owes to the Night (Photo: Nathalie Sternalski)
What the Day Owes to the Night (Photo: Nathalie Sternalski)

Belgium/Hong Kong theatre company Ontroerend Goed will turn an eye to the world’s financial system, and their audience, with £¥€$. A blend of gaming and theatre, £¥€$ sees audience members sit around a series of poker tables to take on the roles of bankers, financiers and the super-rich, as the peaks and troughs of the global economy become playthings in their hands.

In another piece of audience-participatory programming, the Art Gallery of South Australia will see Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei revisit his intimate musical work Sonic Blossom, which features trained singers perform classical pieces to individual gallery visitors in a unique one-on-one experience that appears to be part Marina Abramovic, part making extended eye contact with a street performer. Originally mounted for South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the work has since visited MOMA in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Auckland Art Gallery under then-director Rhana Devenport.

£¥€$ (Photo: Thomas Dhanens)
£¥€$ (Photo: Thomas Dhanens)

In music, Malaysian pop star Siti Nurhaliza will perform live in Australia for the first time in a single show at the Festival Theatre on October 18. Having sold in excess of six million albums over a 23-year career and with a repertoire that encompasses Malay, Mandarin, English, Javanese, Arabic, Urdu and Japanese languages, Nurhaliza’s backup dancer and costume change-inclusive performance promises to be a memorable addition to the festival.

Having previously impressed WOMADelaide crowds, British-Indian composer Nitin Sawhney will return to Adelaide in October to revisit his watershed 1999 album Beyond Skin in light of its 20th anniversary. Japanese theatre troupe SIRO-A look set to be a crowd-please with Techno Circus, an energetic, technicolour performance blending technology and physicality.

Former Adelaide Writers’ Week director Laura Kroetsch will return to Adelaide for JLF Adelaide

Popular staples of the festival including the Moon Lantern Parade and Lucky Dumpling Market will also return in October. Jaipur Literature Festival will also host its South Australian spinoff JLF Adelaide once more, this time programmed by former Adelaide Writers’ Week director Laura Kroetsch.

Tickets for these announced shows are on sale now, with the full OzAsia Festival 2019 program to be revealed in August.

OzAsia Festival
October 17 – November 3

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.