Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

The artistic directors of the Adelaide Festival say it would help financially to require COVID-19 vaccinations to see shows at the event.

The government has promised that the borders will reopen for Victoria, NSW and ACT when the state reaches 80 per cent fully vaccinated, but has only released plans for what will happen then today.

While saying it was “not our job” to tell the government what to do, the festival’s artistic director, Rachel Healy, said she hoped the new plan would allow for a 100 percent capacity for venues that only fully accept vaccinated audiences.

Venues are currently limited to 75 percent capacity, which Ms. Healy said was difficult to achieve financial success.

“We need to remember that we want as many people as possible to see the great work at the Adelaide Festival,” she said.

“We know the demand is there,” added artistic director Neil Armfield.

The Adelaide Festival is a statutory authority under the state government, so it must follow its policies.

In contrast, the privately run WOMADelaide Festival – which is part of the Adelaide Festival – announced last week that it would require all participants to be fully vaccinated.

French “better” venue policy

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Ms Healy and Mr Armfield traveled to France, Germany and the UK to find shows and see how the vaccine rules worked in different countries.

In France, a vaccine is required to attend most venues, while UK venue owners choose whether or not to order a jab.

Ms Healy said there was “no doubt” that the French way was better.

“Sitting in a 2,000-seat venue in France with 100 percent capacity where you look around and every single person around you you know is double-grown, it created a sense of security that I was safe when I could possibly be in a pandemic, “she said.

“In London, the uncertainty and not knowing if the place you were in required proof of vaccine, it meant there was not the same feeling of being as safe as you could be, and it really meant that people thought ‘I do not want to go to the theater, I might leave it maybe a few weeks and the houses were the most obvious indicator.’

Neil and Rachel lean back in chairs in front of a stage in Elder Park.
Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy are joint artistic directors of the Adelaide Festival.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Festival to begin with free show

The Adelaide Festival, which runs from March 4 to 20, is officially launched today.

It will feature 71 events, including nine world premieres and six Australian premieres.

The opening night features a free show at Adelaide Oval’s Village Green called MACRO by circus act Gravity and Other Myths in collaboration with Djuki Mala – formerly known as Chooky Dancers – and Scottish composer Aidan O’Rourke.

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