We offer a diverse program of festival quality shows for a broad range of tastes and budgets throughout the year. As well as our own festivals, we make sure the festival continues with a year packed full of music, dance, theatre and exhibitions.
Adelaide Festival Centre aims to;
- Be the South Australian arts hub and a leading Arts Centre in the Asia Pacific region.
- Reinvent and comprehensively upgrade Adelaide Festival Centre and successfully integrate the Festival Centre within the Riverside Precinct Development
- Sustain and develop our program led ethos to deliver great work in all our venues.
- Consolidate and increase ticketed attendances and visitation and sustain them.
- Ensure high quality customer experience across all aspects of Adelaide Festival Centre operations.
- Implement a more sustainable, responsive financial model to underpin the overall objectives of Adelaide Festival Centre.
In the 1960s, the Adelaide Festival of the Arts started to outgrow the city's existing venues. Liberal Premier Steele Hall saw the sloping banks of the River Torrens as a natural choice for the home of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts and the cultural heart of the city. During this time, the State Government changed but the drive for a new Centre continued with fervour.
The Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Robert Porter, supported by Labor Premier and arts advocate Don Dunstan, launched a public appeal to raise funds to build a Festival Hall and put Adelaide, along with its fledgling festival, on the global arts map. Most of Adelaide shared this vision and the appeal raised its target within a week. It was soon over-subscribed and the surplus was set aside to create a world-class collection of artworks to grace the new State icon.
Australia's first multi-purpose arts centre was designed from the inside out by architect John Morphett. Work began in Elder Park in 1970 and on 2 June 1973 the Festival Theatre opened. Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, officially opened the venue at a gala performance of Act Two, Scene 1 of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony.
The Playhouse, Space Theatre and Amphitheatre soon followed and Australia's first multi-functional performing arts complex was complete. The flourishing Festival Centre became a role model for many other performance venues as they strove to emulate its functionality and versatility. Since then it has become a place that South Australians regard with pride and a strong sense of ownership. 40 years later, it still maintains its status as a national arts icon.
As well as managing the theatres and surrounding areas of the complex, the Festival Centre is one of Australia's most active arts centres and presents a wide range of arts activities and performances for the community.
The first-class facilities, dynamic and progressive programming, and range of exciting events have ensured that Adelaide Festival Centre has emphatically placed itself as the heart of the arts.
Adelaide Festival Centre Trust was created by an Act of Parliament. Adelaide Festival Centre is a statutory authority under the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Act 1971 responsible for encouraging and facilitating artistic, cultural and performing arts activities, as well as maintaining and improving the building and facilities of the Festival Centre complex.
Adelaide Festival Centre funds over 60% of its operating costs through earned revenue including box office, catering, ticketing (through Adelaide Festival Centre’s BASS), venue hire, meetings and conference business as well as scenery building and engineering workshops. The State Government of South Australia contributes approx 40% of the Festival Centre’s revenue.