Asian Australian talent to be showcased in OzAsia Festival 2021

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OzAsia Festival 2021 will feature more than 300 artists in what is expected to be the world’s most significant showcase of Asian Australian talent, with tickets now on sale for an exciting range of contemporary works.

Held from October 21 to November 7, OzAsia Festival will present around 100 performances and includes 11 world premieres and two Australian premieres across more than 30 ticketed and free events – everything from theatre, music, dance and comedy to film, literature and visual art.

The festival returns to Adelaide Festival Centre following last year’s online offering, and will mark the first full-scale OzAsia Festival to be delivered under the leadership of its new Artistic Director, Annette Shun Wah. “OzAsia Festival 2021 takes place at a critical moment for Australia’s engagement with Asia, and there’s no better time to ensure the people who best embody that connection – Australians of Asian background – lead the conversation,” he said.

World premiere performances include The Demon by award-winning novelist Michael Mohammed Ahmad, who will debut his talents as a playwright at OzAsia Festival 2021.

Internationally renowned martial arts performer Maria Tran will present her new theatre work Action Star, and choreographer/dancer Alison Currie and award-winning Japanese soloist Yui Kawaguchi will perform in their first collaboration together for Somewhere, Everywhere, Nowhere.

Indonesian-Australian artist Jumaadi is reinvigorating the ancient art of shadow play for Perahu-Perahu, while The Long Walk will see boundary-pushing choreographer/filmmaker Sue Healey combine dance and drone footage for a livestream from the rugged yet beautiful coastline of Robe, South Australia.

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Adelaide audiences will also be the first to enjoy When by seasoned OzAsia Festival performer Mindy Meng Wang, who will combine film and live music to share emotional stories of life during lockdown.

Storytellers will be the focus of two unique experiences at this year’s festival. Double Delicious will see a stellar cast including renowned author Benjamin Law and celebrity chef Elizabeth Chong reveal the secrets of dishes significant to their lives, while Open Homes immerses audiences in the personal and moving accounts of everyday people who have chosen to call Adelaide home.

Major events at Her Majesty’s Theatre include Ahimsa: Meditations on Gandhi, a heartfelt tribute celebrating the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, and Hand to Earth with Yolngu songman Daniel Wilfred, Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and the Australian Art Orchestra. Acclaimed pianist Belle Chen will present the Australian premiere of Destinations, while The Special Comedy Comedy Special features some of this country’s leading Asian Australian comedians.

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Nexus Arts will host Pinoy St Party, a night of street food and entertainment led by Filipino musician Kuya James, along with Playlist by progressive independent acts Rainbow ChanCorin, (Mindy Meng Wang and Sui Zhen.

Dance theatre work Two will explore the interdisciplinary relationship between contemporary dancer Raghav Handa and maestro tabla musician Maharshi Raval, while Sydney Theatre Company and Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta present Anchuli Felicia King’s White Pearl – a blisteringly funny satire about a skincare company whose new TV commercial goes viral for all the wrong reasons.

Other speakers confirmed so far include broadcast journalist Marc Fennell, filmmaker Tony Ayres, Indigenous rights advocate Larissa Behrendt, finance expert Satyajit Das, newsreader Mimi Kwa, barrister Lyma Nguyen, foreign correspondent James Oaten, economist Geoff Raby AO, University of Cambridge Professor Sujit Sivasundaram, food writer Hetty McKinnon and women’s health and safety advocate Amani Haydar.

The full OzAsia Festival program can be viewed online at www.ozasiafestival.com.au.