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Adelaide Festival’s Whale: Real life or Art?

A life-size, hyperreal sperm whale has beached itself on the shores of Glenelg (Pathawilyangga) Beach, delivering a powerful statement about the environment and climate change as a part of Adelaide Festival.

Since 6am this morning, Whale has drawn hundreds of spectators to Glenelg Beach, eager to catch a glimpse. Created by Belgium-based group The Captain Boomer Collective, led by artist Bart Van Peel, this theatre piece blurs the lines between reality and fiction. Since 2008, Captain Boomer Collective’s Whale has made appearances in major cities including London, Paris, Warsaw and Madrid as well as smaller cities and villages across Europe. This is the first time Whale has been to Australia.

Artistic Director of Captain Boomer Collective Bart van Peel said: “The beaching of a whale has always been a solemn event, serving as a gigantic metaphor for the disruption of our ecological system. It evokes a sense of disturbance in people’s bond with nature. This is our first ever visit to Australia and we are thrilled to debut Whale on the beautiful shores of Glenelg Beach in Adelaide.”

Artistic Director of Adelaide Festival Ruth Mackenzie said: “This is art with purpose. With our understanding of the effects of climate change on the planet, this theatre piece is a powerful tool to drive the message home. We hope it sparks discussions within our communities about the impacts of climate.”

Minister for Arts Andrea Michaels said: “Whale is a testament to the Festival’s commitment to bringing thought-provoking works into public spaces. Urgent and evocative, it prompts reflection on our environmental impact and the imperative to act.”

Whale will remain on Glenelg beach from Saturday 9 March until Monday 11 March. Australian actors playing scientists will join the Captain Boomer team on the beach. Whale was created by CDM:Studio in Western Australia. 

FREE event at Glenelg (Pathawilyangga) Beach, Kaurna Country

Sat 9 March 6am-9pm Sun 10 March 10am-9pm Mon 11 March 10am-6pm 

The Captain Boomer Collective was founded in 2008 and is based in Antwerp, Belgium. The company creates completely location-based shows that explore the boundaries between reality and fiction.

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