Adelaide: more social experiments
Despite his shocking but not altogether surprising resignation as Director, given the hostility towards his ideas, Peter Sellars' community-based Adelaide Festival might well have turned out to be a better thing than many sceptical Adelaideians had been predicting. There is no doubt that it had very little in common with any previous festival here and despite understandable faith in a recipe that has worked not just well but brilliantly for 30 years, it may well be time for reassessment.
The principle of Sellars' festival was that of self-development, and his intention was to build a structure in which Australian product suddenly is given more attention than product from outside. To those of us who hang out for our biennial fix of amazing art from the four corners of the globe Sellars' project was hard to swallow. While we were soaking up the rare offerings we rarely bothered to ask why it was that things we craved to see most were not made here. It is always assumed that our small population conspires to make it difficult to achieve that level of excellence. But of course there is a lot more to it than numbers. There are actually plenty of Australian artists who are bursting with the kind of talent that it takes to get to that level; the problem is that they are not supported adequately, with money or facilities, or even with simple programs of support which tip the scale in favour of their survival as artists.

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