Adelaide Festival Features Isabella Rossellini, Denis O'Hare, Batsheva Dance & More, Beg. Tonight

The 2014 Adelaide Festival presents a program of outstanding music, theatre and dance events, a stellar literary festival and momentous visual arts exhibitions. The 29th Adelaide Festival line-up features 50 events with 29 premieres and 29 festival exclusives over 17 days, from tonight, 28 February to Sunday, 16 March.

Now in his second year as Adelaide Festival's Artistic Director David Sefton said, "I couldn't have been happier with my first Adelaide Festival in 2013. The overwhelming response from the festival-goers was that I had the licence to continue pushing the program in ways that would genuinely excite an audience already accustomed to taking risks: 2014 is the result."

Theatre program highlights include screen icon Isabella Rossellini (ITA/USA) in her one woman show Green Porno, Tony Award winner Denis O'Hare (USA) (True Blood, The Good Wife, American Horror Story) in An Iliad, Canadian theatre maker Robert Lepage's restaged masterpiece Needles and Opium, and from The Netherlands the epic and exhilarating six-hour Roman Tragedies. Israel's world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company headlines the dance program, returning to Adelaide for the first time since its Australian debut in 1996.

Sefton again pushes the boundaries of his music program headlined by the exclusive Australian debut ofJohn Zorn (USA) with Zorn in Oz, a one-time-only series of marathon concerts across four evenings. The series features 40 of his New York based collaborators including Mike Patton, Bill Laswell, Marc Ribot, Joey Baron and John Medeski.

Radical Israeli maestro Ilan Volkov curates and conducts Tectonics Adelaide, a two-concert program of experimental music; and 2013 sell-out advanced electronic music success Unsound Adelaidereturns. The music program also includes Black Arm Band with dirtsong, a critically acclaimed new show from The Tiger Lillies (UK) and out of the Bronx via Haiti and Tahiti, undisputed heavyweight party-starters Kid Creole and The Coconuts (USA).

The colossal visual arts program presents work from more than 40 artists and collectives, featuring the Australian premiere of River of Fundament, a major new seven-part film project by award-winning American artist Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler; the third Adelaide International 2014: Worlds in Collision; the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart; and some of Australia's most exciting contemporary Aboriginal artists in Four Rooms at Tandanya. All visual art events are exclusive to Adelaide.

It is also a stellar year for Adelaide Writers' Week with headline guests including Wild Swans authorJung Chung (CHI/UK), celebrated contemporary writer Margaret Drabble (UK), the influential Christian historian Diarmaid MacCulloch (UK), creator of No 1 Ladies Detective Agency Alexander McCall Smith (UK), feminist icon Elizabeth Gilbert (USA) author of Eat, Pray. Love and Eleanor Catton (NZ) the 2013 Man-Booker winner.

In her third year as Adelaide Writers' Week Director, Laura Kroetsch said, "The 2014 program is brimming with great writing - the only thing as satisfying as reading these books will be listening to the writers talking about their work in the beautiful setting of the Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden."

The festival officially opens and closes with music: kicking off with a huge FREE energetic calypso-pop party (Friday, 28 February) headlined by 1980's legends Kid Creole and The Coconuts (USA), with support from the screaming eagle of soul Charles Bradley (USA), followed by a spectacular firework finale in Adelaide's Elder Park.

On the final night of the festival the Black Arm Band, featuring Archie Roach, Emma Donovan, Lou Bennett, Trevor Jamieson, Djolpa McKenzie, Genevieve Lacey, Deline Briscoe, Mindy Kwantenand Tjupurru with special guest Paul Dempsey, will perform their internationally acclaimed showdirtsong at the Festival Theatre.

In an Australian exclusive, legendary balladeers The Tiger Lillies (UK) return to the festival for the first time since 2000, with the Australian premiere of their critically acclaimed and visually striking Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Part concert and part film, this modern retelling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic tale is spun into a hauntingly beautiful, large-scale multimedia performance with exquisite visuals fromMark Holthusen (USA).

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