Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Rod and I warmly welcome you to Government House, a house – and garden – many of you have come to know well.

This evening we have gathered to celebrate your contribution, as members of the Chairman’s Circle, to the Adelaide Festival 2022.

In my first months as Governor it has been a great pleasure to start building relationships with South Australia’s arts and philanthropic communities.

I have been reminded of just how committed South Australians are to supporting our festivals in whatever ways they can.

Since the Circle’s creation in 2016, its influence, vision and direct engagement have had an immediate and measurable impact on the festival’s program.

The Circle has expanded since its inception in 2016 – from 17 members to 47 today.

Funds raised by the Chairman’s Circle now exceed $2 million.  This is an outstanding achievement and a tribute to your generosity.

I thank you sincerely for your contribution to not only the Adelaide Festival, but to supporting a robust and vibrant arts industry in our state.

2022 marks the sixth Adelaide Festival curated by Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, and I thank Rachel for being here this evening.

Rachel and Neil have both demonstrated outstanding vision and leadership and an admirable ability to work together.

Their adventure as Joint Artistic Directors has been an incredible success, both artistically and financially.

Their first program for the 2017 Adelaide Festival broke box office records, as has every festival since.

It is testament to Rachel and Neil’s work, as well as the work of the entire Adelaide Festival family, that this growth has been achieved even during the pandemic.

I congratulate the Adelaide Festival on its 2022 program, which features more than 800 artists, nine world premieres and six Australian premieres.

One of these Australian premieres is the opera The Golden Cockerel, the Chairman Circle’s chosen event for this year, a choice that events in Europe have tragically made more apposite than anyone could ever have anticipated or, even more so, wished.

That the work has suddenly assumed a far greater significance than when it was programmed, speaks to the enduring and unexpected power of art to illuminate human circumstance.

But it also raises very directly and perhaps even uncomfortably the relationship of the artist to contemporary politics.

I commend the decision of the multi-national cast to press ahead with the production, lending their personal perspectives and experiences to what I am sure will be an even more charged performance as a result.

I thank the Circle for helping to bring some of world’s best operas to Adelaide since its inception.

I reiterate my thanks to you all for your support of the Adelaide Festival, especially during challenging times for the arts, our state, our country and indeed the world.

I trust you will enjoy everything the festival has to offer in the knowledge you have made a larger contribution to its success.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC

GOVERNOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA