Green Room: Sweeney Todd on tour, hot tickets

SA arts and culture news in brief: State Opera to remount Sweeney Todd for eastern states tour, more tickets released for in-demand shows as theatre capacity increases, change at the helm of ActNow Theatre, and a valuable opportunity for visual artists.

Mar 16, 2022, updated Mar 17, 2022
Ben Mingay as the homicidal maniac Sweeney Todd in State Opera's Adelaide season of the show. Photo: Soda Street Productions

Ben Mingay as the homicidal maniac Sweeney Todd in State Opera's Adelaide season of the show. Photo: Soda Street Productions

National tour for Sweeney Todd

State Opera South Australia will be remounting Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street for a tour along Australia’s east coast in 2023 after receiving $570,000 in RISE funding from the Federal Government.

“This production is special,” State Opera artistic director Stuart Maunder says of Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller. “Sweeney Todd is undoubtedly the most powerful, dramatic and theatrical horror tale ever set to music.

“It is also a fitting tribute to mark the passing of Stephen Sondheim late last year to show this glorious production to more people. Stephen was a legend of musical theatre, and with Sweeney Todd he created a deliciously scary; dark, sinister… and thrilling story that directors like myself are lucky to work with.”

Funding for the tour was secured through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, which the Federal Government established to help arts companies reactivate after the pandemic. The production will visit locations throughout New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Read our review of State Opera’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street from the May 2021 Adelaide season here.

Shows now selling to full capacity

The State Government’s announcement of increased theatre capacity in the latest easing of COVID restrictions has enabled arts companies and venues to release extra tickets for in-demand shows during and after the peak festival season.

With venues now operating at full capacity, Adelaide Festival has released more seats for The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Wudjang: Not the Past, and the dance and drumming show Manifesto, among others.

The Adelaide Festival Centre has also announced that it is releasing more tickets for the 2022 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala on March 25, which had previously sold out at 75 per cent capacity.  The gala is this year being presented ahead of the Cabaret Festival in June, with additional seats also now available for early-release events including festival artistic director Tina Arena’s headline show Songs My Mother Taught Me. 

Adelaide Cabaret Festival executive producer Alex Sinclair welcomed the increased theatre capacity.

“This is encouraging news for our audiences, artists and the arts in South Australia and a vote of confidence for the future of our industry, which like many others has been deeply impacted by COVID,” Sinclair says. “We are thrilled to be one of the first festivals in the state to be able to operate back at 100 per cent audience capacity and know that the release of more tickets to our previously sold-out Variety Gala will be snapped up by our loyal cabaret fans. Safety is also paramount to our audiences, staff and artists and we will continue to ensure mask-wearing and other COVID-safe practices are adhered to at Adelaide Festival Centre venues and throughout the festival.”

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The Cabaret Festival’s full program will be launched at the Variety Gala, hosted this year by Australian comedian Paul McDermott 

Breaking Ground applications now open

South Australian visual artists from regional areas are now invited to apply for Country Arts SA’s 2023 Breaking Ground award.

The award has provided visual artists with the valuable opportunity to broaden their professional experience and develop their practice since its launch in 2012.

The artist awarded Breaking Ground will receive $10,000 over the next year to support the development of a body of work for a solo exhibition. This exhibition will be held at an Adelaide CBD gallery as part of the 2023 SALA festival. A mentorship opportunity, worth $5000, is also available as part of the award.

The 2021 recipient, Adnyamathanha and Luritja artist Juanella McKenzie (profiled in this SALIFE article) has described the award as a life-changing opportunity that enabled her to explore her identity and art practice as a First Nations visual artist.

Breaking Ground is a collaboration between Country Arts SA and SALA. Applications close at midnight on May 18, with the award recipient to be announced at the SALA launch and awards night in July 2022. More information is available on the Country Arts SA website.

ActNow Theatre farewells executive director

Rhen Soggee.

South Australia’s ActNow Theatre has announced that executive director and co-CEO Rhen Soggee will be stepping down from their role to focus on the next stage of their career.

Soggee has been a part of the ActNow team since 2018, previously fulfilling the roles of general manager and international producer. Under their leadership, ActNow was able to deliver an ambitious program throughout the pandemic, retaining ongoing funding support and strengthening relationships with other oranisations.

“ActNow has offered me an incredible space in which to grow and to generate meaningful opportunities that support a more representative and relevant South Australian arts industry,” says Soggee. “As I prepare to pass on the reigns, I know I could not be leaving the company in better hands.”

The recruitment process for a new executive director and co-CEO will begin soon.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture. Get in touch by emailing us at [email protected]

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