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2018 Adelaide Festival announces biggest box office takings in its history

16 March 2018

The 2018 Adelaide Festival curated by Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy still has two days to go but has already set a new record, with the biggest box office takings in the event’s 58-year history, so far achieving a total box office income in excess of $4.5 million *.

With a festival program that was rich with Australian and international voices, bold new visions and contemporary theatre classics, the Adelaide Festival included 48 theatre, music, opera, dance, film and visual arts events including 4 world premieres, 14 Australian premieres and 13 events exclusive to Adelaide.

The Festival’s box office total is up by 10.3 per cent on the previous box office record of $4.08 million, set by Armfield and Healy’s first program in 2017.

Attendances are also up, with a total audience of more than 353,954 across all Adelaide Festival events (including WOMADelaide), a 24 per cent increase on last year’s attendance of 284,954. Ticketed attendances of audiences across 48 ticketed events are already in excess of 75,000 with several shows still to run across the closing weekend.

Total attendances across free and un-ticketed events were also up this year, with audiences of more than 48,880 taking in free visual art exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia for the Divided Worlds: 2018 Adelaide Biennial, Waqt al-tagheer: Time of Change at ACE Open and Youseff Nabil at GAGPROJECTS. It also includes Breakfast with Papers and Festival Forums which were free to the public on board the Palais.

Adelaide Writers’ Week attracted a record crowd of more than 134,000 to the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden where 85 Writers from Australia and around the world featured in the six day event, from March 3 to 8.

The 2018 Adelaide Festival has an impressive line-up of performances scheduled before the event concludes on Sunday 18 March. The hottest name in jazz worldwide, Cecile McLorin Salvant, is set to wow audiences in one sold-out performance at the Festival Theatre on Saturday night, marking her Australian debut and an Adelaide Festival exclusive. At the Ridley Centre, Wayville Showgrounds the greatest choral ensemble in the world, Rundfunkchor Berlin presents human requiem while Akram Khan performs at Her Majesty’s Theatre over three nights with Xenos, the last opportunity for audiences to see one of the world’s great male dancers before his retirement from performing. Bangarra Dance Theatre will present a season of five sell-out performances of Bennelong and Shiberhur Theatre Company’s AZZA and TAHA bring intimate and moving stories from the heart of Palestine to the Space Theatre. Nick Steur’s gravity-defying sculptural installation FREEZE! will be astonishing audiences in the Grainger Studios and Botanic Gardens before heading to Kangaroo Island for a series of performances.

The Festival’s record breaking results are indicative of the ecstatic audience reception to the second program from Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, with 11 shows selling out their seasons including: Hamlet, Kate Miller-Heidke, FREEZE!, Bennelong, Cécile McLoran Salvant, Spinifex Gum, Chamber Landscapes concert series, Anne Sofie von Otter in recital, Archie Roach, Grizzly Bear and Lior.

Not only has the 2018 Adelaide Festival program been a roaring success at the box office but also critically, earning near unanimous acclaim for its world class program.

Executive Director Rob Brookman said: “This has simply been one of the best Adelaide Festivals ever – not only have we achieved record-breaking box office, huge attendances and overwhelming critical acclaim but the responses of audiences have been phenomenal. From the contemporary operatic masterpiece of Hamlet to stunning outdoor events such as Grace Jones and The Lost and Found Orchestra, to the Palais lighting up the River Torrens, Rachel and Neil’s outstanding program has truly put Adelaide in the spotlight again as one of the world’s best and most exciting festival cities.”

Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy said: “The 2018 Adelaide Festival has been so rewarding to develop and deliver to audiences and we continue to be buoyed by the joyous response we have received from local audiences as well as our interstate and international visitors who now form such a central and enthusiastic part of our wider Festival family. The opportunity fully to engage our community as participants in major performance events (Memorial; The Lost and Found Orchestra) has been thrilling, along with the opportunity to commission new work (Xenos; Spinifex Gum; Memorial), introduce major new artists to Australia (Cecile McLorin Salvant; Bronks; Youssef Nabil; Mats Staub), present large scale events (Hamlet; Kings of War; Grace Jones; Human Requiem) and offer works of real intimacy (Us/Them; Azza; Taha; Thyestes; the Ukaria chamber music series, Compassion). These and indeed all of the event shows in our program have, we sense, become greater than the sum of their parts – an oppportunity to celebrate our extraordinary city and to be enriched by the great artists of our city, our country and our world.”

Adelaide Writers’ Week Director Laura Kroetsch said: “This year’s Writers’ Week was my final year as director and I wanted to explore the idea of change: changes that we all feel in the world around us, changes in the individual or changes in the literary landscape. There was as ever a balance of fiction and non-fiction and it was a real delight to be able to host so many young writers, especially young women. I’m happy that this program was full of opportunities for readers and writers to discover writers writing in English and in translation. Throughout my time at Writers’ Week I’ve wanted to challenge and excite the community. I like to think that the conversations we have shared, have in some way changed us, that they made us all a little better for having shared them, and that maybe as we continue our reading and thinking lives, these conversations will continue to provoke little revolutions here in Adelaide and out there in the wider world.”

The 2018 Adelaide Festival featured:

383 performances by over 1,700 artists from 53 countries
48 shows and events across music, opera, dance, film and visual arts events alongside Adelaide Writers’ Week and WOMADelaide events
4 world premieres
14 Australian premieres and 13 events exclusive to Adelaide
On the Palais – 15 music events, 10 Festival Forum events, 12 Breakfast with Paper events

* Total box office figure of $4.5million excludes WOMADelaide