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The 1972 Adelaide Festival was held from Friday, March 3 to Saturday, March 25, led by Artistic Director and Administrator Louis van Eyssen.

Festival highlights included performances from big theatre names including Leo McKern, Timothy West, Timothy Dalton and Frank Thring, popular performances of Jesus Christ Superstar and The South Australian Theatre Company’s production of The Alchemist featuring Australian actors Edwin Hodgeman and Dennis Olsen.

Other highlights included the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Charlie Byrd Trio and Cleo Laine.

Adelaide Writers' Week featured Andrei Voznesensky from the Soviet Union and the beat and experimental American poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg.