The cultural melting pot bubbled over during the fourth annual OzAsia Festival: through story-telling, theatre, dance, music, visual arts and film South Australians united and celebrated the rich and diverse cultural offerings of Asia and its interactions with Australia.
The 2010 program featured 133 artists from Korea, Indonesia, Tibet, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and the best from Australia. There were 11 shows, 6 special events, 3 food events, 8 forums, 19 films, 6 short films and 5 exhibitions. 11 Adelaide premieres, including 3 Australian premieres and 1 world premiere.
The Festival’s popularity is reflected by the fact that this year attendances grew to more than 32,000 total attendances across the two weeks a 28% increase from 2009 and five events sold out.
The community were able to participate in the Festival through many free events, performances, exhibitions and workshops. A highlight was the free Keynote Lecture by prominent International Sociologist and Political Scientist Dr Ashis Nandy The lecture presented in association with The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the School of Law at UniSA as part of The UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture Series was attended by more than 800 people.
Sold out events and performances included by acclaimed chefs Cheong Liew and Luke Nguyen as they provided patrons with a gastronomic evening with their Street Food Feast from the Far East presenting 18 individual dishes in an authentic-style banquet comprising fresh Malay and Vietnamese flavours and Nguyen’s three intimate Cooking Demonstrations also sold out. two dinners
Indonesia’s Nan Jombang Dance Company performances of SangHawa sold out along with Tenzin Choegyal’s Mystical Tibet Concert and Yohangza Theatre Company’s Hamlet sold out on the opening weekend and received critical acclaim.(Eve) & Rantau Berbisik (Whisperings of Exile)
The Festival’s favourite annual community gathering The Moon Lantern Festival on 22 September, saw record attendances for the event with 18,000 people converging on Elder Park to enjoy the free performances (an increase of 38% on 2009 figures), eat moon cakes and watch the parade of over 800 school children and community group members with home-made lanterns to celebrate and admire the beauty of the full moon.
The Festival ended on an all time high as the mighty Dhol Foundation opened the floodgates on a torrent of percussive grooves and the Festival Theatre was transformed into a club like atmosphere as for the first time audience members were encouraged to stand up and dance in the stalls.
Highlights from this year’s Festival included Korea’s Yegam Theatre Company’s irresistible martial arts comedy Jump andinternationally acclaimed Yohangza Theatre Company performances of Hamlet which faithfully recreated the tragedy and drama of Shakespeare’s original in contemporary Korean language.
Jacinta Thompson, OzAsia Festival Director says “I have been personally touched from the feedback to this year’s Festival – from people in the audience coming up to me and discussing performances and thanking me to handwritten notes from school students to let me know what they experienced from attending this year’s events. Certainly giving audiences an opportunity to engage with cultural diversity through Asian-Australian collaboration is one of my ambitions and I think this year’s Festival has certainly achieved this in the public and artist’s eyes.”
The OzAsia Festival continues to garner a reputation for presenting some of the finest international companies from around the region. 2010 proved to be another artistic success with the Festival receiving rave reviews and even had the Premier of South Australia Mike Rann tweeting “Just been to OzAsia’s Street Food Feast, a culinary journey through Vietnam and Malaysia with Cheong Liew and Luke Nguyen. Sensational!” And “Everyone saying Jacinta Thompson’s festival is already a triumph with more than a week to go! Don’t miss out.”
And if you didn’t get a chance to indulge in the cultural offerings of the Festival you can still engage by viewing the many free visual arts exhibitions which are on show to the public until 17 October. 6 different exhibitions, by 7 artists, for full exhibition details, jump onto ozasiafestival.com.au.