Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival: Compagnie Carabosse provides a fiery closing weekend

Reading Time: 4 minutes

France’s Compagnie Carabosse (read our interview with them here) has provided Adelaide with a transformed Adelaide Botanic Gardens through its fire installation named Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival, which is on until Sunday night (at time of publishing all sessions have sold out).


Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival
Image: Matilda Marseillaise


Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival
Image: Matilda Marseillaise


Never have we seen the Adelaide Botanic Gardens look so spectacular and probably most of the crowd (myself included) had never been there at night. Fire showed us a side of the gardens most of us had never seen. Beautiful reflections of the fiery orb on the water, the hanging lanterns that upon closer inspection appeared to be singlets wrapped around a more solid structure that transformed the Palm House into a dim lit oasis.


Image: Matilda Marseillaise


Paths were lit with tiny pots of fire dotted along them.  A set of fire-lit arches proved popular with people posing for photos and allowed an opportunity to get closer to and under the fire lit structures whereas the others such as the sphere on the water, were to be admired from a larger distance. Structures big and small were equally impressive. Small globes transformed into small flame holders dotted the Moreton Bay fig trees beautifully.

Image: Matilda Marseillaise

We also spotted two classical musicians playing hauntingly moving music from their little fire lantern lit tents which were reminiscent of another time and place. However, we were a little confused by the metal bike like structure that appeared to be operating on its own on one side of the gardens. We were not sure how it fit in with the rest of the installation.

Fire Gardens
Image: Matilda Marseillaise

While you are told that you can go in any direction once you have had your ticket scanned, it would perhaps be helpful to have a map that indicates which sites of the garden have particular things to see.  We were concerned that we may have missed some of the installations.

Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival
Image: Matilda Marseillaise

But Compagnie Carabosse are no stranger to transforming public places having made its fire installations across the world from Stonehenge to the Kremlin. Nor are they strangers to Adelaide having transformed a section of Botanic Park at WOMADelaide a few years ago.


Despite all the odds, luckily Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival went ahead. Firstly there was consultation about whether it was appropriate and safe to proceed after the unprecedented bushfires that destroyed many towns across Australia. Indeed management of safety concerns was evident with the presence of fire trucks around the outskirts of the Botanic Gardens. Secondly, COVID-19 had organisers on edge and had it been scheduled for one week later it may well have been cancelled (as the Australian Government announced a ban on non-essential gatherings of 500 or more people from Monday 16 March).

Fire Gardens
Image: Matilda Marseillaise

Unfortunately, though what could have been the opportunity for a meditative reflection and complete escape from daily life was, to an extent, dampened by the crowds. Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival takes place over 4 nights and has 4 entry times at half hour intervals between 7:30pm and 9:30pm. We arrived shortly after our 8:30pm time-slot and it appeared that people with 9pm tickets were being permitted to enter at that earlier time, which perhaps only added to the huge crowds inside.  We were torn though because it is promising to see such large crowds especially as Adelaide Festival decided to donate all proceeds of Fire Gardens to the Lobethal Bushfire Recovery Fund, the KI Mayoral Relief & Recovery Bushfire Fund and the RSPCA South Australia Bushfire Appeal.



Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Festival


All remaining sessions for Fire Gardens at Adelaide Festival are now sold out but you may like to check the website in case further tickets or sessions are added.


There remain just 2 days and nights of Adelaide Festival 2020. Check out the program here:


Want to read reviews of other Adelaide Festival shows?



Cold Blood

Lyon Opera Ballet


You can also read our reviews with Adelaide Festival show artists

Compagnie Carabosse – Fire Gardens

Cie Focus – Dimanche

Compagnie Chaliwaté – Dimanche

Michele Anne De Mey – Cold Blood

Nick Power – Two Crews and Between Tiny Cities

Lady Rocks – Two Crews

Siobhan Stagg – recital of French songs




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Dimanche at Adelaide Festival 2020 is absolute must-see theatre  

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Together, Belgian Compagnie Chaliwaté and Focus Cie have created an intelligent, amusing, moving but also important theatre piece about climate change and the absurdity of our unwillingness to act in Dimanche at Adelaide Festival.

Dimanche at Adelaide Festival
Image: Alice Piemme

Incredibly clever, this cast of three use their bodies in three different ways in Dimanche at Adelaide Festival: they act of course, but their bodies are also props (a man becomes a mountain in the opening scene) and, at times puppet masters.


Dimanche at Adelaide Festival tells two stories: one of a crew of three filming a documentary about climate change – one which will see them traverse the Arctic, bushfire affected areas and oceans – and another of a couple and a grandmother going about their daily routine in their family home in the face of climatic extremes.


Adelaide Festival’s blurb about the production promised the most adorable polar bear we’ve ever seen. I was sceptical but can say that it most definitely delivered in a very cute, yet poignant scene. I wanted to get up on stage and give it a hug!


The soundtrack is fantastic throughout and perfectly matched to what we are seeing on stage at the time. Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover” lent itself wonderfully to the very drôle opening scene of the three filmmakers in their van going over bumps, drinking from a shared flask and attempting to have a cigarette.  The use of classical music also added incredible comic value at the house of the couple and grandmother.


There is no dialogue in this performance (apart from what we assume may be Italian) coming from the member of the film crew that we see in front of the camera and a story on the television. That said, the performances physical, video and through other effects tell the story without any need for words.


We were glued to the stage for the entire duration, wanting to follow the progression of the piece. Dimanche at Adelaide Festival had us captivated from beginning to end. Dimanche at Adelaide Festival is not a piece of theatre which rams a message down your throat, but one in which you are left thinking for many a dimanche.



Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Festival.


You can see Dimanche at Adelaide Festival until Saturday 7 March and we strongly suggest you buy tickets soon. Just 5 performances remain:

  • Wed 04 Mar, 6:30pm
  • Thu 05 Mar, 11:00am, 6:30pm
  • Fri 06 Mar, 6:30pm
  • Sat 07 Mar, 12:30pm


Tickets are general admission so your group doesn’t need to buy them together. Adult tickets cost $59, and children 14 and under $20 plus transaction fees. There are also discounts for Friends of the Festival, concession card holders, under 30s and students. Tickets can be purchased at


You can also read our interviews with each of the companies involved in the production Dimanche at Adelaide Festival:

Compagnie Chaliwaté

Focus Cie

What shows are you seeing at Adelaide Festival 2020?



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