Festival Centre’s impact is widespread and year round

By Nick Carne

It’s not just Mad March that sees the arts take centre stage in South Australia. A new report has highlighted the incredible year-round impact of the Adelaide Festival Centre (feature image).

The Centre ran 777 performances across all venues during the 2015/16 financial year, attracting a total attendance of nearly 1.67 million (the highest ever) and making a direct and indirect contribution to the South Australian economy of $107.8 million.

As CEO Douglas Gautier is delighted to note, that’s a return of $8 for every $1 the State Government provides to support its programs. Around 70% of income was commercially generated and more than 1000 jobs were created in Greater Adelaide.

And there’s more. Accountants Ernst and Young, who crunched the numbers to prepare the report, also noted the Centre’s significant social contribution, which “encourages greater social cohesion in the community”. They valued that at $52.4, taking the estimated total contribution to the State to more than $160 million.

A diverse schools program gets special mention – 25,000 students from 324 schools took part – as does the Centre’s national reputation for its “successful focus on Asian-Australian engagement”, built around the increasingly popular OzAsia Festival.

Moon Lantern Festival

The Moon Lantern Festival, as part of OzAsia Festival

There were some big-ticket events during 2015/16, notably successful musicals Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Cats, but these were complemented by a range of performances covering theatre, opera, music, ballet and visual arts.

Mr Gautier is confident the story will only get better, with work under way on the Centre’s major redevelopment.

“Once complete our refurbished venues will provide great platforms for South Australian, national and international artists to develop and present their work,” he said. “The redevelopments will bring jobs and further economic impact to Adelaide while ensuring that South Australian audiences don’t miss out on the best the world has to offer.”

For now, the focus is on running a packed Adelaide Festival program, and entertaining some special guests.

Sixteen delegates from 11 cities in 10 countries gathered in Adelaide this week for a meeting of the Music Subnetwork of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. On the agenda were discussions about developing collaborative initiatives across the network and building international pathways for South Australian artists.

The visitors also participated in the City of Adelaide’s Live Music Summit, got into the Festival and Fringe action and, not surprisingly, took in a bit of WOMAD.