Walk of Fame retraces showbiz history

The long-running contribution of Flinders University to the arts is a feature of the new Walk of Fame promenade at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Names on the new promenade will include distinguished and highly acclaimed alumni Gale Edwards, Noni Hazlehurst, Benedict Andrews, Peter Goers and Gary Sweet along with Flinders Drama Centre Head of Acting Rosalba Clemente, whose names will go up in lights on Adelaide’s glittering new walkway on the river-side of Adelaide Festival Theatre.

Veteran international performer Robyn Archer, who also joins the Walk of Fame list, is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Flinders University – next to Gale Edwards, Noni Hazlehurst and Benedict Andrews who also have received honorary awards from the University for their contribution to the arts over the years.

Acknowledgement of the seminal Australian rock band The Angels, which also features on the illuminated stylised starbursts on the promenade, pays homage to an illustrious Flinders graduate, the late Bernard “Doc” Neeson OAM (deceased).

Their inclusion on the new promenade means they literally walk in the footsteps of stellar performers such as Liza Minneli, Jacki Weaver, Eric Clapton, Eartha Kitt, Richard Harrison, Anthony Warlow, Rudolf Nureyev, Patrick White, Keith Michell and dozens more.

The Walk of Fame promenade, which will run along the River Torrens side of the Adelaide Festival Centre, is set to be a major tourist attraction of the area.

It features many of stars who have graced the stages at Adelaide Festival Centre over the years, including all of those performing at the Walk of Fame gala concerts (Tim Minchin, Todd McKenney, Greta Bradman, James Morrison and Nancye Hayes).  Two gala performances on Friday (19 January 2018) officially launch the Walk of Fame – which features a star-studded list of 130 stars of stage and screen – at the reopening of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s updated Festival Theatre.

Flinders drama extraordinaires Alirio Avarce and Rosalba Clemente.
Flinders drama extraordinaires Alirio Avarce and Rosalba Clemente.

Each Walk of Fame star will be a stylised starburst set in concrete which will be illuminated. The star-studded walkway will stretch from King William Road to the Adelaide Riverbank Bridge and link to the Dunstan Playhouse and new bars, cafes and open areas.

A selection of the brightest stars from Adelaide Festival Centre’s 44-year history (1973-onwards) have been in the running to be voted as Walk of Fame winners and from this list, three per year make the final cut. The winners are chosen in three ways: Public choice, Critics’ choice and Adelaide Festival Centre Trust choice.

Adelaide Festival Centre chief executive and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says the Walk of Fame attraction honours “some of the many artists who make Adelaide Festival Centre the great creative hub that it is”.

Flinders graduate Gale Edwards became an internationally acclaimed theatre and opera director.

“The Walk of Fame Gala will celebrate the stars, Adelaide Festival Centre and the Festival Theatre reopening in a concert with an outstanding line up of Walk of Fame performers,” Mr Gautier says. “It’s set to be a spectacular event and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences.”

Flinders University’s place in Adelaide creative arts scene, which covers the same period, features a long line of luminaries.

In fact, Mr Gautier graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) at Flinders University in the 1970s – soon after international theatre and opera director Gale Edwards, Angels performer Doc Neeson, popular media personality and actor Peter Goers and many others started to emerge from the university and tertiary education.

Veteran Australian actor Gary Sweet obtained a diploma of teaching at Bedford Park in 1980.

Rosalba Clemente, who obtained teaching qualifications after graduating from NIDA, was the first female Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia in 1999. As well as teaching, Rosalba has been a freelance theatre-maker for more than 30 years and continues to direct and write plays both at Flinders University and for other companies.

Professor Gale Edwards, who has a long association with the Flinders Drama Centre and the University, was the first Australian and the first woman to direct on the main stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and to open a musical on both the West End and Broadway.

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