Adelaide Festival Launches 2022 Program

The 2022 Adelaide Festival program encourages us all to return to live performance with joy and anticipation, and will gather together a community of artists from across Australia and the globe.

The 37th Adelaide Festival program will run over 17 days from Friday 4 to Sunday 20 March. Announced on Tuesday 26 October at Bonython Hall and via livestream, the program offers a total of 71 events in theatre, music, opera, dance, media and visual arts, including uniquely local programs Adelaide Writers’ Week, UKARIA Chamber Landscapes and WOMADelaide.

9 World premieres, 6 Australian premieres and 17 shows playing exclusively in Adelaide will demonstrate the Festival’s tenacity and creative ambition and the adventurous spirit of artists from around the corner and around the world. It is both a showcase of thrilling and contemporary live performance and an opportunity for celebration, reconnection and optimism.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield say:

“We welcome audiences to a festival that refuses to curl and shrink, to aim low and take it easy. A feisty and defiant festival that begins with a phalanx of young bodies colliding and hurling each other through space, and ends with a hundred and fifty breathing humans pleading for the pain in our lives to fly away. We invite audiences to experience the release of primal dance, of exhilarating performance and how the spark of collegiate music making can jump centuries. It’s all there again for the taking: a celebration of body and soul and how great it is to keep them together”.

Steven Marshall, Premier of South Australia, says:

“I congratulate our Festival Directors, organisers and volunteers on a magnificent program – we are truly spoilt for choice. Whatever you are doing in March, make sure you take the opportunity to soak up some of this remarkable Festival.”

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on Milestones and accessibility of their sixth Adelaide Festival:

“We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of that brave, first WOMADelaide, which began as part of the 1992 Adelaide Festival program; the 40th anniversary of seminal Aussie band ICEHOUSE’s anthemic Great Southern Land; and a darker milestone: the 50th anniversary of the 1972 death of Dr George Ian Duncan, one of those sliding-door moments of enduring importance to this city.”

“We welcome back former Festival Directors Barrie Kosky and Paul Grabowsky. Barrie at the helm of our flagship opera, Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel; and Grabowsky once again headlining our eclectic Summerhouse menu of contemporary musicians, this time together with PNG-born chanteuse Ngaiire.

“And we acknowledge the remarkable achievements of Adelaide Writers’ Week Director Jo Dyer, whose brilliant 2022 program wraps up her 3-year stewardship of this great free literary event, beloved by writers and readers alike.

“As always, the 2022 Adelaide Festival program includes more free events: a gift to the people of our city, state and our visitors. This year, these include the unforgettable opening event Macro; the soaring Skywhales installation; the ‘conversation-we-have-to-have’, Climate Crisis and the Arts forum; the cheeky Cupid’s Koi Garden in Mount Barker and Groundswell, a fascinating interactive soundscape in Rundle Mall. Adults, kids, locals and visitors are invited to discover them all and find wonder, escape, reflection and joy.

“Meanwhile, our popular discounting programs (Tix For Next To Nix, Pay What You Can, Youth & Education) are returning to ensure that price is no barrier to attending.”

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The MAJOR EVENTS:

“Having nurtured the development of our homegrown contemporary circus powerhouse Gravity & Other Myths through several Festivals, it feels right to present them as our free Adelaide Festival opening extravaganza on our first Saturday night – and it’s exciting to know that the same show will travel the seas next August to close the 2022 Edinburgh International Festival.”

“It’s equally fitting that our own Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Elder Conservatorium Chorale and Graduate Singers will farewell this 2022 Festival with Prayer for the Living, an uplifting Sunday-twilight choral finale that reaffirms meaning and hope in this era of uncertainty and change.”

Electrifying local contemporary circus company Gravity and Other Myths teams up with dance sensations Djuki Mala from North East Arnhem Land to present Macro, featuring a 30-strong acrobatic troupe, a mass choir, ancient Celtic rhythms, fireworks and giant projection scrims in a fun, free family event that will kick off the 2022 Festival with a bang.

Another major event, on Sunday evening of the opening weekend, will be ICEHOUSE: Great Southern Land 2022, a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band’s legendary anthem. Also on the bill will be yidaki master William Barton and Groote Eylandt’s ARIA-nominated blues and roots artist, Emily Wurramara.

Both Macro and ICEHOUSE will play at Adelaide Oval’s Village Green.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The OPERA program:

“As Australia’s most celebrated international opera director, Barrie Kosky is adored for the startling vision he brings to familiar classics, so we were delighted to invite him back with a work never before seen in Australia, The Golden Cockerel, featuring the voices of operatic superstars Pavlo Hunka, Venera Gimadieva and Andrei Popov, plus our magnificent Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.”

“Far removed from Rimsky-Korsakov’s extraordinary dreamscape, Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan, is an essential chapter from our state’s history. In an almost documentary-style oratorio, this powerful new work demonstrates opera’s capacity to express emotional and imaginative truths, otherwise obscured by the infamy of Duncan’s death”.

Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan marks 50 years since the infamous drowning of Dr George Ian Ogilvie Duncan, which triggered an alleged police cover-up, a city-wide scandal, national outrage, a Scotland Yard investigation, pioneering gay law reform but no convictions. The new oratorio is the product of some of Australia’s most acclaimed creative talents: librettists Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas; composer Joe Twist; director Neil Armfield and choreographer Lewis Major.

Based on 30 years of research by local historian Tim Reeves, this long-awaited artistic response to a landmark tragedy is a joint commission between Adelaide Festival, Feast Festival and State Opera South Australia.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The THEATRE program:

“Theatre-makers have used the travails of the last two years to fully realise the opportunities that new technologies offer audiences. The 2022 theatre program captures a trend toward one-on-one interactive experiences, audio theatre events using cutting edge binaural technology and soundscapes, audacious use of live and pre-recorded video, cross-artform experimentation and – as ever – extraordinary scriptwriting delivered by brilliant performers.”

The zeitgeist relevance of Sydney Theatre Company’s landmark production of The Picture of Dorian Gray for is just one of the reasons this remarkable stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic had Sydney critics grasping for superlatives and audiences on their feet going wild. Director Kip Williams and virtuoso performer Eryn Jean Norvill’s interpretation is both a lush period drama and a knowing conversation with the here and now, while ground-breaking use of live and pre-recorded video allows Norvill to play all 26 characters simultaneously until it’s hard to know who is made of flesh and blood.

The very special Queen’s Theatre is the venue for Blindness, Donmar Warehouse’s edge-of-your-seat adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago’s novel. Adapted by Simon Stevens, its depiction of the aftermath of a global pandemic makes for riveting, adrenalin-fuelled theatre, told entirely through sound and the voice of the incomparable Juliet Stevenson.

The Nightline by theatre/sound-artist duo Roslyn Oades and Bob Scott; The Photo Box by Adelaide’s Vitalstatistix and Brink Productions and starring Emma Beech; and Sex and Death_and the Internet from Melbourne artist Samara Hersch, all revolve around communication – over the years, between generations and via differing modes – and immerse the spectator in their telling: whether in a room full of 70s rotary-dial phones; pouring over old photos in a regional South Australian town; talking intimately to a stranger across the age divide. It’s theatre, but not as we know it.

The stellar solo role in Dennis Kelly’s Girls & Boys, with its gearshift between Fleabag-style hilarity and searing horror, gives longstanding TV-drama actor Justine Clarke an opportunity to reveal the full range of her talents, in a State Theatre Company production directed by Mitchell Butel.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The FINE MUSIC program:

“This is a fine music program for our times – diverse, virtuosic with thrilling combinations of classic repertoire and unjustly neglected masterworks. It is also a program full of youthful energy and optimism with players from across Australia and across the globe meeting in Adelaide to share the frisson of collegiate music-making.”

“We can’t wait to make the happy pilgrimage to UKARIA in the Adelaide Hills on the long weekend, to see and hear what scholar, conductor and curator Erin Helyard has put together in Chamber Landscapes – the theme this year is Resonance.”

Before Prayer for the Living closes the 2022 Festival, classical music will leave a resounding echo with Adelaide audiences. Those witnessing the Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, in Australia for the first time, will be witnessing history. The unique, UK-based platform for majority Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians, brainchild of Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, arguably UK’s finest exponent of the double bass, is a legend of the BBC Proms. Their Australian premiere season exclusive to Adelaide, will present two new Australian commissions, from William Barton and Deborah Cheetham, amongst works by Schubert, Prokofiev, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Grant Still and Valerie Coleman – in the fine acoustics of the Adelaide Town Hall.

The Town Hall will also host Haydn’s Solar Poetics: Morning, Noon & Night by the Australian Haydn Ensemble, featuring rarely-heard Haydn keyboard concertos and works by the teen-aged Mozart; and accomplished, charismatic classical guitarist Karin Schaupp, solo and in concert with Melbourne’s Flinders Quartet.

Adelaide-based pianist and author Anna Goldsworthy creates a fascinating illustrated recital of Beethoven’s famous ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ in the context of Tolstoy’s misogynist novella of the same name and a recently rediscovered riposte by Tolstoy’s wife Sofya. After Kreutzer is performed by Anna at Ayers House, joined on violin by ex-BBC and current Sydney Symphony Concert Master, Andrew Haveron.

The Festival’s hub and FESTIVAL CLUB returns at The Summerhouse

With an exciting line-up of events drawing crowds to the beautiful riverbank precinct in the balmy Adelaide autumn, punters can be wowed by Australian entertainment royalty: pop-princess-turned-soul-queen Kate Ceberano, and quirky, bittersweet The Whitlams. Not to mention Billy Davis & The Good Lords, Genesis Owusu, Josh Cohen, Connan Mockasin, Montaigne, Ladyhawke, Babe Rainbow, Client Liaison, Isaiah Firebrace and plenty more in an enticing and eclectic mix of popular genres.

Summerhouse musicians and bands confirmed to date include:

  • Soul, future-funk and jazz, gospel, R&B and hip-hop tunes by virtuosic keyboardist, composer and producer Billy Davis, backed by 11-member band The Good Lords;
  • Psychedelic pop-based rock from New Zealand’s Connan Mockasin;
  • Melbourne four-piece punk rock band Amyl and the Sniffers, led by ‘human firework’ Amy Taylor;
  • Jazz pianist extraordinaire and former AF Artistic Director Paul Grabowsky together with the unique soulful sounds of Ngaiire in an event that combines jazz standards and re-orchestrated songs from her new album 3;
  • Multifaceted pianist and recipient of over 8 million online views, Josh Cohen who has the band’s blessing to reinterpret the best of Radiohead, along with a live visual response from artist Joshua Batty of art/technology studio Mindbuffer;
  • Genre-hopping ‘showman savant’ Genesis Owusu encompassing jazz, hip-hop, no wave and post-gospel soul;
  • Australia’s 2021 Eurovision representative Montaigne with her trademark powerhouse vocals;
  • Electronica pop from Melbourne-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Running Touch;
  • Infectious indie pop from Ladyhawke sharing tunes from her fourth album, Time Flies;
  • Mind-expanding and meditative psych-rock from Byron Bay beach lovers Babe Rainbow;
  • Nostalgic dance sounds, elaborate costumes and multisensory dance ballads from keyboardist Harvey Miller and frontman Monte Morgan who together are Client Liaison;
  • The world’s most-streamed First Nations pop artist and stage companion of Jessica Mauboy, Isaiah Firebrace with an evening of original songs including his brand-new single, You;
  • Kate Ceberano showcasing her evolution from pop princess to soul and jazz queen via ten covers and two new tracks from her 2021 album, Sweet Inspiration;
  • Spiderbait stalwart KRAM who teases a touring yarn or two alongside songs that have inspired and shaped his musical career in a solo show, Alone with You;
  • Raucous six-piece band Northeast Party House with contagious melodies and booming bass build-ups;
  • Two concerts paying homage respectively to Dr Dre and Daft Punk from interstellar party-music masters Alternative Symphony, complete with light show;
  • The ultimate closing night experience from The Whitlams with the debut of their long-awaited newest album Sancho;
  • Late-night deck spinning throughout the Festival for those who just need to keep the party going a little longer from HMC, Stafford Brothers and TV Rock, K.I.M. and The Jawbreakers, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Dr Packer and Mel Hall, John Course and Vinyl Destination
  • Good news – WOMADelaide returns to its spiritual home in Botanic Park for its 30th birthday to showcase the very best traditional and contemporary music, arts and dance: 100 performances across seven stages. The first line-up announcement will be made in November.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The DANCE and DANCE THEATRE programs:

“The 2022 dance program showcases great dance-makers pushing into new directions and reinventing their individual choreographic language. Pina Bausch’s seminal Rite of Spring is recreated by 38 African dancers while Bangarra Dance Theatre and the UK’s Lost Dog merge theatre and dance to tell old stories coming face to face with a new world. And in a highly-anticipated world premiere, Australia’s most dazzling choreographic talent Stephanie Lake matches 9 dancers with 9 drummers in a night of explosive energy and sound.”

The recently renovated Her Majesty’s Theatre is the venue for a Festival-exclusive major dance work. The Rite of Spring / common ground[s] has an extraordinary pedigree: emanating from Germany, Senegal and the UK; produced by the Pina Bausch Foundation, École des Sables and Sadler’s Wells; choreography by the late Pina Bausch, her contemporary Germaine Acogny and Bausch colleague Malou Airaudo. 38 dancers from 14 nations across the African continent, Rite of Spring is Bausch’s towering and unsurpassed response to Stravinsky’s music, recreated in its entirety by a brilliant, hand-picked ensemble.

Stephanie Lake, possibly the most exciting choreographic talent to emerge in Australian dance in the last decade, brings her eponymous company to the Dunstan Playhouse to present the world premiere of Manifesto, dazzling us with the elemental human rituals of dancing and drumming, to a score by iconoclastic composer Robin Fox.

Another Australian premiere, exclusive to Adelaide, Juliet & Romeo is more dance-theatre than pure dance, and more a hilarious sequel rather than a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s iconic love story: the star-crossed lovers are now 40-ish, approaching a mid-life crisis and in the midst of couples counseling. Produced by the UK’s dance/theatre/comedy/circus company Lost Dog, this work has gathered legions of fans and devotees wherever it has been performed around the world.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The VISUAL ARTS program:

“The 2022 visual arts program shows the frontiers of new Australian creative energy – from the 25 new works of the 2022 Adelaide Biennial gathered from leading artists from every corner of the continent, to Neoteric, a showcase of new work by mid-career South Australian artists. Samstag Museum’s three solo exhibitions include an opportunity for Adelaide audiences to experience major new work by British artist Isaac Julien.”

Sebastian Goldspink, one of this country’s most dynamic and energetic advocates for contemporary Australian art, brings his singular curatorial skills to Australia’s longest-running survey of contemporary Australian art, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, in 2022 titled Free/State, a play on SA’s colonial origins. The Biennial will showcase 25 artists from every state and territory across multiple generations with a focus on amplifying and celebrating individual artistic voices.

Neoteric, curated by Julianne Pierce, presents new work by respected local artists with 10-15 years exhibiting experience, working across the fields of photography, painting, performance, sculpture, installation, video, sound, ceramics and mixed media. This Festival-exclusive exhibition represents a harvest of diverse work by creative South Australians.

The Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia presents the kaleidoscopic installations of major British artist Isaac Julien, thrillingly presented across multiple screens; a new body of work – handmade terracotta vessels of mysterious function – developed for the Adelaide Festival by the redoubtable Helen Fuller; and Rite, a seven-hour living sculpture installation/ contemporary dance hybrid which can be sampled at random or viewed as a whole, by dancer/choreographer Daniel Jaber.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on INSTALLATIONS and INTERACTIVE EVENTS:

“This year, we expand the concept of inflatables to new heights and breadth: Patricia Piccinini’s two magnificent Skywhales float ten stories high, and ENESS’ Cupid’s Koi Garden, with its interactive soundscape, LED lighting and water feature extends the Festival’s reach to Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills (also home to Chamber Landscapes). Back in Rundle Mall, Melbourne artist Matthias Schack-Arnott’s Groundswell has created a gigantic interactive sonic disc that the public are invited to clamber over and move to create a memorable soundscape.”

Skywhales was originally ‘Skywhale’ when the glorious mammal floated above Canberra in 2013. Now, for its Adelaide Festival appearance, Skywhalepapa and his brood has joined in. The lofty pod is subtitled Every heart sings. They will.

ENESS, for 25 years an Australian collective of artists, musicians, software engineers, industrial designers and thinkers, now bring a gigantic Cupid surrounded by ten oversized goldfish – Cupid’s Koi Garden – to Mount Barker’s Keith Stephenson Park, over six days. A free event for all ages.

Reminiscent of 2020’s A Doll’s House and last year’s The Plastic Bag Store, Rundle Mall again becomes a pop-up environment for free and bizarre-yet-joyous experiences, with Groundswell, designed by Melbourne artist Matthias Schack-Arnott: a six-metre, circular tilting platform equipped with 40,000 illuminated ball bearings that anyone can walk on to become a composer of oceanic soundscapes.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on The UK/ AUSTRALIA SEASON initiative:

“We are thrilled to be part of a joint initiative between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade entitled The UK/Australia Season. This is a major new cultural exchange, presenting a program of events in a variety of artistic forms to reflect on the theme “Who Are We Now?” considering both countries’ shared history, current relationship, and future hopes.”

‘Australia in the UK’ takes place in the UK from September 2021 to December 2022, and ‘The UK in Australia’ from September 2021 to March 2022. A celebration of the diversity of cultures and languages, and emphasizing Indigenous voices, it will support five Adelaide Festival events: Chineke! Orchestra, Macro, Blindness, Climate Crisis and the Arts, and Samstag artist Isaac Julien. The nationwide program spans city, regional and rural areas across Australia and the UK.

Adelaide Festival Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield on WRITERS WEEK plus:

“Thank you again, Jo, for bringing Australia’s greatest writers and thinkers together with some of the world’s most interesting and erudite minds – whether in person or large as life on the screen.”

“Beyond the now-traditional Breakfast with Papers and Festival Forum sessions, we’re looking forward to a vigorous, challenging and above all productive discussion in Climate Crisis and the Arts to educate, inspire and mobilise climate action.”

Nearly 80 major Australian and overseas writers are confirmed as of today, with the full and final program to be released in January 2022. Among the confirmed speakers are Australian writers Liane Moriarty, Hannah Kent, Annabel Crabb, Christos Tsiolkas, Benjamin Law, Michelle de Kretser, and former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull together in conversation. Skywhales creator Patricia Piccinini will visit the Writers’ Week Kids’ Tent with her new children’s book Every Heart Sings. International luminaries include Colm Tóibín, Isabel Allende, Lisa Taddeo, Anuk Arudpragasam and Amia Srinivasan.

Exclusive to Adelaide Festival and free to attend, Climate Change Crisis and the Arts is a one-day event bringing together the arts and sciences to ask what role creativity and the arts can play in inspiring change over the next defining decade.

Opportunities to reflect on Festival themes, current affairs and/or the meaning of life can be seized in The Summerhouse Festival club with Tom Wright and a panel of informed guests at Breakfast with Papers; or in the early evening as we hear from key Adelaide Festival creatives with Festival Forums.


The Festival’s ‘Open House’ promotion makes attendance easier for more people, with access programs and affordable tickets:

Tix for Next to Nix – thanks to The Balnaves Foundation, 2,000 tickets have been set aside at $5 each, available to registered community groups and healthcare/pension cardholders.

Pay What You Can – healthcare/pension cardholders and students can name their own ticket price. Available shows will be announced on Saturday 29 January with tickets to be collected 1 hour before curtain-up.


Thanks to the generosity of the Lang Foundation, special prices to eight shows, plus online resources for teachers (with links to ACARA, SACE and IB) will create opportunities for students to develop as active and interrogative theatregoers and cultural critics.

Primary, secondary and full-time tertiary students will again have access to exclusive discounts to a huge range of Adelaide Festival shows. Discounted full-time student tickets can be purchased online or at and collected by presenting student ID at the box office.


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

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.

Due to the uncertainties of COVID-19, Adelaide Festival will continue to provide a flexible ticketing policy giving patrons more flexibility in the case of illness or border closure. Visit for more information.

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