Celebrations as Adelaide Festival Centre turns 50

The Adelaide Festival Centre will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special concert and the launch of a new podcast featuring interviews with artists such as Robyn Archer, William Barton and Todd McKenney.

Jan 29, 2023, updated Jan 31, 2023
Adelaide Festival Centre. Photo: Trentino Priori/Adelaide Festival Centre

Adelaide Festival Centre. Photo: Trentino Priori/Adelaide Festival Centre

Presented by the Adelaide Festival Centre, The First 50 podcast releases its first episode today.

It is hosted by Adelaide cabaret performer Libby O’Donovan and will release an episode each month exploring the careers of artists who have taken to the stage at the Festival Centre.

“Throughout The First 50 podcast, I have the pleasure of hearing from many incredible artists who have performed at Adelaide Festival Centre, all who attest that Adelaide Festival Centre is a space where the pure magic of theatre comes alive,” O’Donovan says.

The first episode, available here or on Spotify or Apple podcasts, features celebrated South Australian singer, performer, writer and director Robyn Archer, a Walk of Fame recipient and former artistic director of the Adelaide Festival.

“I have sung, performed, and directed on every stage and in every nook and cranny of Adelaide Festival Centre,” Archer says.

“Fifty years on, Dunstan Playhouse is still my very favourite venue anywhere; I’m proud to be treading its boards again during this year of celebration.”

Future podcast episodes will feature didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton, Adelaide Guitar Festival artistic director Slava Grigoryan, and performers Todd McKenney and Rhonda Burchmore, who began their careers at Adelaide Festival Centre in the ’80s.

Libby O’Donovan hosting The First 50 podcast. Photo: Cassie Ackerman

The official date of the Festival Centre’s anniversary is June 2 and a special concert will be performed at the Festival Theatre to mark the occasion, although the line-up hasn’t yet been announced.

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A Turn Up Your Radio exhibition will also be presented in the Festival Theatre Galleries from June 2, featuring objects, costumes, photographs and posters from well-known South Australian musicians and bands, while five SA artists have been commissioned to create outdoor light sculptures that will be unveiled on the Festival Plaza on the same date.

Minister for Arts Andrea Michaels is encouraging all South Australians to participate in the celebrations.

“For 50 years, Adelaide Festival Centre has been home to extraordinary and thought-provoking performances, and its success is testament to the pioneering vision of Labor Premier Don Dunstan,” she says.

“Premier Dunstan, alongside Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, opened the Adelaide Festival Centre as the very first major performing arts centre in Australia, with a transformative impact on our state.

“It’s going to be a big year with performances from local and international stars.”

Further celebrations of the anniversary will be held during the year to coincide with major events such as the DreamBig Children’s Festival and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

The First 50 is produced by Solstice Podcasting, an enterprise of Solstice Media, the publisher of InDaily and originator of the InReview project.

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