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celebrating 50 years : 1973-2023 : adelaide festival centre

Large but rather thin, with a forward by Douglas Gautier AM, and a table of contents at the front, this is a terrific book , a series of interviews by Samela Harris of people involved with the Centre , from planning and its being built to now, wonderfully illustrated full of famous theatrical, musical and operatic names that have worked or performed at the Centre Among the famous names are Penny Wong , Julia Gillard AC , Meryl Tankard ,Robyn Archer AO , Slava Grigorian and David McAllister. Various stories and memories of working /performing/ administration of the Centre and its development and changes are interwoven.

Built on the banks of Karrawirra Parri on Kaurna Yarta, Adelaide Festival Centre has grown and evolved over the last half century, while continuing to maintain its position as the city’s heart of the arts.

The commemorative coffee table book, published by Wakefield Press, features a profound collection of thought-provoking interviews by esteemed South Australian arts journalist Samela Harris, offering an ingenious tribute to Adelaide Festival Centre’s first fifty years.

With interviews ranging from public figures including Kate Ceberano AM, Eddie Perfect, Jimmy Barnes AO, David Campbell OAM, Julia Gillard AC, and the Honourable Penny Wong to name a few, CELEBRATING 50 YEARS is both a compilation of memories of Adelaide Festival Centre, and a shared vision of where the next 50 years will take South Australia’s hearts of the arts.

“If the corporeal part of the body is Adelaide, its beating heart is the Festival Centre.” Kate Ceberano 

“It (Adelaide Festival Centre) kicked off the pride Adelaide took in being the arts centre of the country.” Jimmy Barnes

Author Samela Harris: “Fifty years and fifty souls with tales to tell. Some are funny, some touching, some a bit naughty but they all share the magic ingredient of abiding love, pride, and hope in a singularly wonderful and crucial cultural landmark. I share it too, these many years, and gathering all these people stories was a highlight of my professional life.”

Featured image : Neil Armfield is a leading Australian director of theatre, opera and film. Alongside Rachel Healy, Neil was Artistic Director of Adelaide Festival between 2017 and 2022. Prior to that, Neil was the Artistic Director of Belvoir St Theatre, which he co-founded, for 17 years.


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