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With the Adelaide Festival's sense of celebration (as in the image above from Barrie Kosky's wondrous Saul) and gravitas still resonating, it was a pleasure to hear that Arts Minister Mitch Fifield has shut down the Catalyst Fund. The return of $61m to the Australia Council was cautiously welcomed by the small to medium arts sector, hoping that funds will definitely now go directly to those for whom they were originally intended. Some 60 arts organisations have gone unfunded, some barely sustained by state government funding, others not, careers floundering, while Catalyst became an electoral slush fund and lucky dip for large arts organisations, festivals, academics and questionable arts ventures benefitting from the suffering of others. The return of funds might look like a victory for art in the culture wars, but there's a lot of catch-up to do, funding levels are less than adequate and Coalition arts policy set at zero. At the very least, we can be thankful that we still have an Australia Council for the Arts while we feel for US artists as President Donald Trump goes gunning for the NEA.

Virginia & Keith
ADELAIDE FESTIVAL: LIFE AT THE LIMITS         Ben Brooker is taken with Betroffenheit's dreamscape account of grieving as trauma; admires the unaffected account of the complexities of everyday life in Wot? No Fish!!; and is compelled by Intimate Space to reflect on public limits imposed on people with disability.
Richard III
ADELAIDE FESTIVAL: A KING FOR OUR TIME    The extremity of Thomas Ostermeier's vision of Richard III and Lars Eidinger's brilliant performance as the villain king puts Shakespeare's genius and our very conditional empathy for Richard to the test, writes Keith Gallasch.
THE FUTURE IS ALMOST HERE       Caroline Wake sees in Kip Williams' rivetting production of Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica the imminence of the personal, cultural and political transformation that will come with inevitably greater engagement with Asia.
JODIE MCNEILLY: PRIVACY & PROTEST      Craig Bary's powerful new dance work, In Difference, is a call to move beyond crude debate about same-sex marriage to nuanced understanding of the issue and respect for lives laid bare, writes Jodie McNeilly.
VIRTUAL EMBODIMENT, REAL EMPATHY       Although it promises the potential for developing empathy, Dan Edwards writes from the Australian International Documentary Conference that VR looks set to reignite "ethical debates, long a part of documentary practice.... with a vengeance."
ADELAIDE FESTIVAL: GREAT KOSKY, GREAT SAUL                 With fidelity and ingenious invention, Barrie Kosky and collaborators have transformed Handel's oratorio into a glorious opera in which, writes Keith Gallasch, a kiss, a touch and an embrace lift the work out of the 18th century into the present.
Volker Gerling's engaging flipbook portraits of strangers taken on the artist's walking tours across Germany prompt reflections on “truth" and the "unseen" in photography, writes Virginia Baxter.
Lauren's reading this week finds images of Brutalist buildings in Paris with a connection to Sydney, an insightful account of the theatrical framing of Asghar Farhadi’s film The Salesman, and a fine example of the fusion of personal narrative with theatre criticism.
Jonathan Marshall detects a contrasting complementarity between Back to Back's Lady Eats Apple, about the religious making of a flawed humanity, and Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe's Meeting, with its competition between mankind and its machines.
Partial Durations
Matthew Lorenzon reviews Ensemble Offspring’s International Women’s Day performance, US new music group Eighth Blackbird and Tilde 2017, a fascinating Melbourne experimental music festival.
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RealTime E-dttions are published by Open City an Incorporated Association in New South Wales. Open City Inc is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy [VACS], an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. RealTime’s Principal Technology Partner is the national communications carrier, Vertel.

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