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Adelaide Festival show a casualty of border closures

Adelaide Festival

The recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and subsequent border closures have forced the cancellation of the Adelaide Festival season of Set Piece – a new theatre show from the creators of previous festival hit The Second Woman.

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Set Piece was to have had its international premiere during the Festival, with performances at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre from March 2-6.

“As Set Piece is a show that involves a multi-state creative team and cast, the border closures have made it impossible for everyone to come together as planned for the crucially important creative development and subsequent rehearsal of this brand new work,” the Adelaide Festival announced in a statement on Friday afternoon.

“With very limited time and no predictable end to border restrictions, the company has had no choice but to make the heart-breaking decision to withdraw from the production’s world premiere season at the 2021 Adelaide Festival.”

Set Piece was to be jointly presented by the Festival and Adelaide multidisciplinary arts company Vitalstatistix. In 2019 they presented creators Anna Breckon and Nat Randall’s acclaimed duration theatre work The Second Woman, which saw Randall play out a single break-up scene opposite 100 different men over 24 hours.  ­

Set Piece, loosely inspired by Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is described as a theatrical and cinematic hybrid exploring “the genres, dynamics and generational nuances of queer erotic relationships between women”.

Adelaide Festival said it would be exploring opportunities to present the work at a future Festival.

The full program for the 2021 AF was launched in early December – two weeks later than originally planned, due to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia. The Festival will run from February 26 until March 14 with a program of more than 70 events, many of which feature interstate artists.

“We had always considered that border restrictions might change at short notice, although we desperately hope that the situation will settle again quickly, given the sheer number of interstate artists, as well as audiences who may be impacted by the border closures,” Festival executive director Elaine Chia said this morning.

“We are in constant dialogue with all the interstate companies, artists and crew involved, and we all remain responsive to the changes that may or may not need to happen in the coming weeks.”

The Adelaide Fringe, which will open on February 19, also includes many interstate artists. A spokesperson said that at this stage no shows had been cancelled due to the border restrictions.

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