History & Overview
Adelaide Festival Centre is the heart of the arts in South Australia
Established in 1973, Adelaide Festival Centre is Australia’s first capital city arts venue. The splendid riverbank venue hosts more than one million people annually within its theatres (Festival Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre), restaurants, galleries and function spaces. As well as presenting theatre, dance, music, and exhibitions, Adelaide Festival Centre creates diverse festivals to inspire, challenge, educate, and entertain. Adelaide Festival Centre welcomes audiences of all ages, experience, and cultures.
Since 1988 Adelaide Festival Centre Trust has managed and operated Her Majesty’s Theatre, located on Grote St. Originally opening as The New Tivoli Theatre in 1913, Adelaide’s theatre for the stars re-opened in 2020 as a completely reinvigorated world-class proscenium theatre; redefining the theatre-going experience.
Adelaide Festival Centre is committed to supporting and co-presenting some of the world’s biggest touring musicals and work hard to ensure the delivery of shows that wouldn’t otherwise be seen in South Australia.
Adelaide Festival Centre is home to:
Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Opera of South Australia, Australian Dance Theatre, State Theatre Company South Australia, Windmill Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Brink, Restless Dance Theatre, Slingsby, Patch Theatre Company and No Strings Attached.
While Adelaide Festival Centre relies on funding from the SA Government, it is a commercial operation drawing around 70% of revenue from commercial activity. Key parts of the organisation include:
- Catering services – including function business and retail food and beverage operations at all venues.
- Marketing and Publicity Services – delivery of marketing and publicity solutions for external venue hirers, based on our local knowledge and experience in the SA market for arts and entertainment.
- Theatre hire – use of the venues to external arts companies and commercial producers.
- Theatre workshops – workshop facilities build sets and provide engineering solutions for theatrical productions and cultural events.
- Ticketing and Database marketing - BASS ticketing system provides ticketing solutions for external festivals and events.
- Merchandise – Adelaide Festival Centre sources and produces merchandise related to festivals and shows.
In 2015-2016, Adelaide Festival Centre achieved $160.2 million in economic and social contribution.
An Ernst and Young report released in 2017 found that the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust made a $107.8 million economic contribution to the Greater Adelaide economy in 2015-2016. This represents a return of over $8 on every dollar the government invests in operating and activity funding.
The Ernst and Young report also highlighted Adelaide Festival Centre’s “significant social contribution [which] encourages greater social cohesion in the community.” This social contribution was valued at $52.4 million bringing the total estimated economic contribution to $160.2 million.
Adelaide Festival Centre’s economic contribution resulted in the direct and indirect creation of 1,076 jobs in Greater Adelaide.
Adelaide Festival Centre respects the Kaurna peoples' spiritual relationship with their country. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land and acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to those people living today.