Presented annually by the Adelaide Festival Centre, OzAsia usually features a strong line-up of theatre, music, dance, exhibitions, films and forums, with last year’s event attracting around 200,000 attendances.
With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of the live program – including the popular Moon Lantern Parade – the recently appointed Shun Wah will instead host a program of online talks and panel discussions featuring guests ranging from Helpmann-award-winning playwright S Shakthidharan, whose work Counting & Cracking was presented at last year’s Adelaide Festival, to Jing Han, longtime head of the SBS Subtitling Department and leading subtitler for Chinese reality-TV show If You Are the One.
The series will launch on October 20 with a live event at Her Majesty’s Theatre where Shun Wah will be joined on stage by Art Gallery of SA director Rhana Devenport and international panellists via video link, with the discussion livestreamed on Facebook.
“In a year when so much has happened to shift the way in which individuals and communities connect with each other, the cultural engagement of Australia and Asia could not be more crucial,” Shun Wah says.
“The arts play a vital role in deepening this engagement, but the pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on artistic practice and thinking.
“OzAsia Talks is an opportunity to share experiences and new ideas from artists and arts leaders in our region.”
The final event in the program will be Drop the Mic, a collection of livestreamed poetry performances on November 3. With a line-up including Eritrea-born Adelaide-based storyteller Manal Younus and Indigenous musicians Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Drop the Mic is being curated by the team behind the Jaipur Literature Festival, which in recent years has presented the three-day satellite event JLF Adelaide at OzAsia.
Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier described OzAsia Talks as “a fabulous digital re-imagining of OzAsia Festival in a year when our relationships within a global community are more important than ever before”.
“We hope to welcome back larger audiences to ticketed performances and the Moon Lantern Parade at Adelaide Festival Centre in 2021,” he added.
The full program of events is on the OzAsia Festival website, while OzAsia Talks will be available to be viewed on the festival’s Facebook page. The festival will present an online moon-lantern-making workshop on October 23.