Scene News: 2017 Adelaide Festival sets record with biggest box office sales in two decades

Just seven days out from its opening weekend the 2017 Adelaide Festival has already made history by breaking the $3 million mark in box office sales, the largest sales for Adelaide Festival in over 20 years.

The Festival’s ticket sales across its main program of 31 theatre, music, opera, dance, film and visual arts shows are the highest of all Adelaide Festivals on record back to 1996. The previous highest box office achieved was $2.5 million in 2010.

With one week to go before opening weekend, ticket sales for the 2017 Adelaide Festival core program are up more than 50 per cent on this time last year.

The figures are indicative of the ecstatic audience reception to the debut program from Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, with several shows selling out well in advance of the opening weekend.

Barrie Kosky’s critically acclaimed Glyndebourne Opera Festival production Saul sold out in December, shortly followed by Canadian dance theatre work Betroffenheit in January, as well as Adelaide Writers’ Week lunch The Drunken Botanist at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant and the weekend Chamber Landscapes chamber music program, a “mini festival” at Ukaria Cultural Centre in Mt Barker curated by writer and pianist Anna Goldsworthy.

Another major drawcard of the Adelaide Festival, The Secret River, has broken box office records for State Theatre Company SA as the highest grossing production and fastest selling show in the company’s history. Excellent seats are still available with tickets still on sale for all performances.

Ticket sales have been strong across the entire program, with many shows already well ahead of their anticipated sales including theatre show Wot? No Fish!, classical music concerts by Concerto Italiano and La Gaia Scienza, Rufus Wainwright’s double bill concert of opera and highlights from Rufus Does Judy, both dance productions by Israeli company L-E-V, and Peter and the Wolf starring Miriam Margolyes alongside the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Additional performances have also been added to interactive sound installation Gardens Speak and Lynette Wallworth’s film Coral: Rekindling Venus at the Adelaide Planetarium due to popular demand.

This year’s program has been especially popular with audiences interstate and overseas; Saul has been a particularly big drawcard for tourists, with more than 40 per cent of tickets bought by people outside South Australia.

Minister for the Arts, the Hon Jack Snelling said: “This is a phenomenal achievement. Once again our city has proven why it is Australia’s number one festival destination. Every South Australian should be proud of the Adelaide Festival and its success. Of course it attracts people from all over the world, but another amazing thing it does is it creates local jobs – putting food on the table for every day South Australians and adding millions to our economy.”

Adelaide Festival Chair Judy Potter said: “It is fantastic that so many people have so warmly embraced this wonderful debut program from Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, not just locally but on a national and international level. We are delighted to be the drawcard that brings so many tourists from interstate and overseas to enjoy not only our world class Adelaide Festival, but also all the great things our city and state have to offer. More and more people are embracing the Adelaide Festival and recognising it for what it is – Australia’s pre-eminent arts festival.”

Joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy said: “We are so delighted that Adelaide audiences and our visitors from interstate and overseas have responded to our 2017 program with such eagerness. Every part of the program was developed with great love and care and from a firm understanding of Adelaide Festival’s central role in the cultural life and reputation of this state, and our national and international role as this country’s pre-eminent international arts festival. We can’t wait for the Festival to start and for our audiences to share in our program of inspiring performance, ideas and creativity.”

The Adelaide Festival features 31 theatre, music, opera, dance, film and visual arts events alongside Adelaide Writers’ Week and WOMADelaide, including 16 Australian premieres, 17 events exclusive to Adelaide and three world premieres over 17 days from March 3 to 19, 2017.

The official Festival hub, the two-storey floating Riverbank Palais and surrounding Parc Palais on the Adelaide Riverbank, will be home to more than 60 free and ticketed shows over 18 days from March 2 to 19, including a series of one-off concerts that includes US singer-songwriter Kurt Vile, US godfather of chillwave Toro Y Moi and Aussie music legends The Bamboos and Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes, as well as theatre shows The Duke, Who Am I?, and The F Word – a special series of “in conversation” events with Annabel Crabb.

Free events include Breakfast with Papers hosted by Tom Wright, every morning from 7am, and lunchtime Festival Forums hosted by David Marr, in which David will interview  Festival  artists and collaborators including Rufus Wainwright, Barrie Kosky, Lars Eidinger and Miriam Margolyes.

Adelaide Festival CEO Sandy Verschoor said: “We are looking forward to officially opening  the Riverbank Palais to the public on Thursday March 2, and launching its excellent curated program of theatre shows, talks and exquisite one-off concerts, complimented with top quality food and wine offerings, that takes audiences from their morning coffee right through to evening wine time.”

Tickets to all Adelaide Festival events are on sale now via BASS or adelaidefestival.com.au

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