Adelaide Festival Centre will welcome Annette Shun Wah as Artistic Director of the 2021 OzAsia Festival, providing a fresh lens on Australia’s leading contemporary arts festival engaging with Asia.

Ms Shun Wah is a freelance actor, writer and broadcaster and since 2013 has served as Executive Producer of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance – a non-profit organisation promoting cultural diversity through cross-artform theatrical works. 

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, OzAsia Festival cannot proceed with ticketed performances and public events this year.

However, to ensure an ongoing presence of this popular festival in 2020, Ms Shun Wah will deliver a series of online discussions and interviews at the end of this year, focussed on the importance of Australia’s continued engagement with Asia and the arts. 

Annette Shun Wah said: “Having enjoyed a long association with OzAsia Festival over many years, I’m thrilled to be joining the team at this critical and dynamic moment in the relationship between Australia and Asia. 

“Although we cannot present a full program in 2020, our online series will be a platform to engage patrons, industry and leading thinkers on exciting and essential ways to explore the connections between Asia and Australia, especially through contemporary Asian Australian artists.

“I’m looking forward to leading the next evolution of this very important festival, and I can’t wait to program a fresh, surprising and deeply relevant OzAsia Festival 2021.”

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director, Douglas Gautier AM: “There has never been a more relevant time to engage the Australian community around the importance of unity, cultural understanding and tolerance through creative collaboration.

“We are thrilled to welcome Annette Shun Wah on board and look forward to her online talk series later this year and an even bigger and better OzAsia Festival in 2021.”

Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival 2020 was set to take place from October 22 to November 8, with its 14th program showcasing the best theatre, dance, music, visual arts, literature, film, food and cultural events from across Asia and Australia.

Events set to return in 2021 include OzAsia Festival’s Moon Lantern Parade, the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival satellite event and Lucky Dumpling Market.

Adelaide Festival Centre Trust Chairman Michael Abbott AO QC: “OzAsia Festival is a fixture in Adelaide’s cultural calendar and continuity is important.

“Even when present circumstances mean some of the festival’s traditional events can’t take place this year, the new Artistic Director will keep audiences connected and involved and continue the celebration of Asian and Australian creativity.”

His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia and Patron of OzAsia Festival: “I have loved OzAsia Festival for many years and am very proud to be Patron.

“While we will all miss the Moon Lantern Parade and the wonderful shows this year, the industry discussion will be fascinating and demonstrates how committed Adelaide Festival Centre is to supporting the creative engagement of Asian and Australian artists.

“Now more than ever, the arts are essential as our communities work together to recover.  I warmly welcome Annette to this important role and look forward to working closely with her.”

Annette Shun Wah high-res images and bio:

BIO – Annette Shun Wah

Annette is a writer, broadcaster, producer and theatre-maker.

In an extensive career that has ranged across radio, television, publishing and theatre, her work has always been about the exploration of ideas through the arts – such as music through The Noise and Studio 22, experimental arts and film on Eat Carpet and Imagine.  As an actor she was nominated for an AFI award for her supporting role in Clara Law’s feature film Floating Life, as a writer she contributed to anthologies such as Growing up Asian in Australia edited by Alice Pung, Grandma Magic edited by Janet Hutchinson, and co-authored the award-winning Banquet – Ten Courses to Harmony, exploring the ways in which the Chinese integrated into Australian society through food.

Since 2013 Annette has been Executive Producer of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) where she has been highly influential in forging professional pathways for Asian Australian artists, and developing compelling new works that bring contemporary Asian Australian stories to festival stages.  These include The Serpent’s Table (Sydney Festival 2014), Yasukichi Murakami – Through a Distant Lens (Darwin Festival, OzAsia Festival 2014); In Between Two (Sydney Festival 2016, Melbourne and OzAsia Festivals 2017); The Backstories which she co-directed with William Yang (Adelaide Festival 2017) and most recently Double Delicious (Sydney Festival 2020 and Asia TOPA).

She has been involved with OzAsia Festival events over many years including the Moon Lantern Parade, and emcees the Foundation Stage at WOMADelaide.  In 2018 she was inducted into Adelaide Festival Centre’s Walk of Fame.

Annette currently serves on the board of Sydney Theatre Company, the advisory board of the Australia China Institute of Arts and Culture (ACIAC) at Western Sydney University, and is a member of the Asian Producers Platform.

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