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Adelaide Festival smashes previous box office record

Adelaide Festival

With a string of sold-out shows, total ticket sales of more than 72,000 and two days still to go, the 2019 Adelaide Festival’s box office income has outstripped last year’s record result by 31 per cent.

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Festival organisers announced this morning that the event has set a new box office record of more than $5.98 million (including umbrella shows such as Tim Minchin’s concerts at Thebarton Theatre, but not WOMADelaide), compared with $4.56 million in 2018.

A total audience of more than 316,129 has attended more than 70 Adelaide Festival events, with interstate audiences accounting for 22 per cent of ticket sales.

“We thought that the 2018 Adelaide Festival would be hard to top but there’s a palpable sense that 2019 has gone one better,” Festival executive director Rob Brookman said in a statement.

“Not only have we achieved record-breaking box office, huge attendances, great tourism numbers and overwhelming critical acclaim, but the responses of audiences have been phenomenal.”

The 2019 Festival is the third program presented by joint artistic directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, whose tenure has been extended until 2023.

It has featured 10 world premieres and 17 Australian exclusives, with a number of shows selling out before the Festival opened, including Meryl Tankard’s Two Feet, starring Russian prima ballerina Natalia Osipova; Belgian theatre production La Reprise and Argentinian dance-comedy-physical-theatre performance Un Poyo Rojo.

Other shows which sold out included Festival centrepiece The Magic Flute by Barrie Kosky, the song cycle Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds (with singer Paul Kelly and composer James Ledger), performances by Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery Choir, Adelaide Writers’ Week’s inaugural ticketed opening address with author Ben Okri, and all three Long Lunch events on the Palais.

The Magic Flute was one of the highest-selling shows on the 2019 Festival program. Photo: Tony Lewis

The highest-selling shows throughout the season were The Magic Flute, Sretensky Monastery Choir, South African music-theatre show A Man of Good Hope and German contemporary dance production Carmen.

The Festival continues through to Sunday, with closing weekend shows including the satirical theatre hit Ulster American, from Scotland’s Traverse Theatre; Restless Dance Theatre’s Zizanie, choreographed by Meryl Tankard, and all-ages show Foehn, a ballet created from plastic bags by France’s Compagnie Non Nova.

The University of Adelaide announced today this it is awarding Brookman, Armfield and Healy honorary doctorates for what Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen described as their “outstanding and sustained contributions to the arts and festival scene”.

See all InDaily’s Adelaide Festival and Fringe stories and reviews here.

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