We are very excited here at Eventalaide as the Oz Asia Festival kicks of this Sunday 18th September and continues for two weeks till the 2nd October. The Event is Australia’s premier international arts festival focusing on contemporary Asia. This year celebrating its 10th anniversary with a dynamic program packed to the gills of the best in Asian theatre, dance, music, film and visual arts.
I was fortunate enough to meet up with Festival Director Joseph Mitchell and learn a thing or two about the mastermind behind this exciting and unique event.
Joseph was always interested in the arts; he majored in journalism, as well as a double degree in theatre; he was previously the Resident Director and Youth & Education Manager at the Queensland Theatre Company, and the Executive Producer of the Brisbane Arts Festival.
A big career move into Arts Festivals early on was becoming the Senior Director of the Luminato Festival in Toronto; which is internationally renowned for its presenting of new and challenging works.
With these impressive credentials behind him, Joseph was now looking for something with a point of difference, and hence ended up here in Adelaide, landing the role as Festival Director of Oz Asia in 2015, a role and a challenge that greatly appealed to him.
On questioning him about this year’s festival; unlike previous years where they focused on a specific region; this year’s festival captures the true sense of contemporary Asia, including performers from a diverse range of Asian countries and with 47 major events to choose from, there will be something for everyone.
With such a diverse program incoming, I asked Joseph if there was any one particular show which stood out? He highly suggests seeing SKIN, Artists TerryandTheCuz offer us a glimpse into the hidden world of human trafficking; this show is experimental and involves crowd participation, so be sure to check it out.
Also To celebrate the Festivals 10 Year Anniversary, a series of special free outdoor music concerts will be run over 10 nights in Elder Park. Featuring a swag of high profile international artists each night, these should be a wonderful way to close of each session. On top of that, the fun festival atmosphere continues, as Elder Park transforms into a sprawling hub of Asian food, music and entertainment, with the team behind the hugely successful Royal Croquet Club bringing us the “Good Fortune Markets”, these guys have an eye for a great idea, so expect this to be a highlight.
And last but not least, be sure to bring your family and friends along to the beautiful Moon Lantern Festival this Saturday. The world famous lantern parade will make its way through Elder Park accompanied by a live score from Hong Kong’s acclaimed musicians SIU2; your senses will go into over drive as you take in the vibrant sea of colours from all the lantern installations. The evening will finish with a spectacular fireworks show over the River Torrens.
In closing, I asked Jospeh, “where did he see the future direction of this amazing Festival?” He answered,“if we can maintain our position as the premier Asian Arts Festival, then I’m happy”. With what’s on offer this year, I think it’s safe to say he is doing exactly that.
Words by Kathryn Robertson