Tuesday, 05 March 2024

Adelaide Festival Luncheon

Rod and I warmly welcome you all to Government House, in particular the performers and producers who have travelled from interstate or overseas to be with us.

The Adelaide Festival is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated events in South Australia.

Alongside its contribution to the local and national arts landscape, it is important culturally, socially and economically, including as a significant driver of tourism.

For more than 60 years it has celebrated bold, artistic excellence.

It is inextricably part of South Australia’s identity. It enriches us. It makes us proud to be the Festival State.

The Adelaide Festival brings us an outstanding mix of internationally acclaimed theatre productions, an eclectic array of world-class musicians, breathtaking dance pieces, renowned writers and striking visual arts displays.

The festival bolsters the careers of both emerging and established artists, commissioning and championing Australia’s most innovative new work along with presenting some of the world’s great companies.

I am pleased to welcome international, national and South Australian guests here today. Your talents, on the stage or behind the scenes, make this Festival what it is.

This, the first program to be created by Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie and Adelaide Festival Chief Executive Kath Mainland, along with Adelaide Writers’ Week Director Louise Adler, has been eagerly anticipated.

At its best art is transformative and the team have laid before us a feast for the soul and the senses.

Already Rod and I have dived right into the Festival calendar. We have found it innovative, world-class and enriching.

The opening night, Baleen Moondjan, at Glenelg was spectacular. It was a stunning and entirely apposite place at which to gain a greater appreciation of the interconnectedness of Aboriginal culture and beliefs with other living creatures and the environment. Rod and I were deeply moved by what Stephen Page chose to share with us.

Guuranda told us of the Narungga Creation stories by First Nations artists – stories which can inform our present and help us find a path to the future together.

The Nightingale and Other Fables, along with Dancing with the Birds, Meredith Arwady in recital with Michael Ierace, and Grand Theft Theatre have shown us the talent, vibrancy and diversity in the Festival program.

I don’t know about you, but there is a massive “wow factor” to all of this, much of it encouraging deeper thinking.

And while, as Governor, I must stay politically neutral, I certainly enjoyed the insights provided in the interplay between Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart in the Rest is Politics .

And there’s so much more for us, and indeed everyone to immerse ourselves in over the next 12 days!

I am pleased to see two new, unique initiatives in this year’s program: Create4Adelaide, in which students from 100 South Australian schools have produced creative responses to climate challenges, and Floods of Fire, bringing together the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, a Citizens Orchestra and a chorus.

Anyone viewing the Create4Adelaide exhibition will be struck by the commitment and energy of our young people in wanting to deepen our community’s resolve to tackle pressing environmental issues.


Congratulations on your contributions to this year’s festival – one of the most exciting I have experienced.

2024 will deliver 12 more events and five more world premiers than last year’s Festival, further enhancing our artistic reputation. I’m told it’s a reflection of an increased focus on commissioned works and supporting new work.

I congratulate the Adelaide Festival Board, the creative team, the supporting institutions and all those who contribute to its success.

Rod and I look forward to seeing you at the events still to come.

Coming events