OzAsia Festival 2023 and the In Other Words program came to a magnificent close on Sunday, with over 180,000 attendees relishing 190 indoor and outdoor events. From 19 Oct - 5 Nov '23, under the artistic direction of Annette Shun Wah, this year's festival featured more than 300 national and international artists from 13 countries.
The festival included three world premieres, seven Australian premieres, and nine Adelaide premieres. Audiences were treated to captivating performances across theatre, music, dance, comedy, literature, and visual art.
Outstanding shows like MotherTongue, MotherLand, 1988, Saudara Sound System, AnimeGO!, Buried Teabowl – OKUNI, and A Notional History played to sold-out crowds. Audiences were invited to explore the concept of freedom in unique ways, such as standing on the Festival Theatre stage with the dancers in Infinitely Closer, or being moved by the touching message in I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron by Canadian composer and performer Njo Kong Kie.
The festival began with a remarkable opening week, attracting 85,000 attendees and featuring the Australian premiere of indigenous Taiwanese contemporary dance tiaen tiamen Episode 1. Families enjoyed the Moon Lantern Trail, which attracted more than 35,000 attendees at Tarntanya Wama/Pinky Flat and featured two new lanterns this year: Jade Rabbit by Nicky Tsz Tung Li and Kurdany Tangku (Rainbow Serpent) by Jaydenlee Tong, created to celebrate Adelaide Festival Centre's 50th Anniversary.
OzAsia Festival 2023 celebrated the connections between Asian and Australian artists, writers, and communities. Annette Shun Wah was honored with the inaugural OzAsia Award, which recognises outstanding contribution to Australian/Asian cultural engagement. As Annette’s tenure as Artistic Director of OzAsia Festival concludes, it was also announced that she will continue to be involved with future festivals in a programming consultancy role. Annette will work closely with Executive Producer of OzAsia Festival, Joon-Yee Kwok whose role expands to include taking the artistic lead for next year’s festival program.
OzAsia Festival concluded at the weekend with the return of writing and ideas program In Other Words, under the curatorship of Jennifer Wong with guest curators Sami Shah and Durkhanai Ayubi. More than 27 free sessions were presented by 60 of Asia and Australia’s leading contemporary writers and thinkers including 2023 Miles Franklin Award winner, Shankari Chandran (Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens) covering topics such as politics, memoir, romance, poetry, travel, fiction, food and more.
Crowd favourite Lucky Dumpling Market saw foodies enjoying the very best in Asian delights, with more than 23 vendors selling 350,000 dumplings, whilst crowds listened and danced to the hottest acts from Adelaide, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore with free performances at the Lucky Beats stage.
Arts-lovers can still catch OzAsia Festival exhibition Misty Mountain, Shining Moon at Art Gallery South Australia until Sunday 12 November, exploring the beauty of the Japanese landscape as represented by some of the world’s most celebrated artists.
OzAsia Festival will return in next year, from 24 Oct - 10 Nov '24.