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Auckland Arts Festival offers some treats next year

PREVIEW: A major pyrotechnic performance in the Domain, a smash-hit comedy direct from the West End, a high-energy Colombian circus troupe and a stellar line-up of music from around the world.

John Daly-Peoples
Tue, 06 Nov 2012

Auckland Arts Festival
Wednesday, March 6, to Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Auckland Arts Festival in March will present some great performers from New Zealand and overseas.

There will be a major pyrotechnic performance in the Domain, a smash-hit comedy direct from the West End, a high-energy Colombian circus troupe and a stellar line-up of music from around the world.

More than 100 performances and events are planned for 30 locations and venues across the city.

The opening will be celebrated with The Breath of the Volcano, a new work created especially for Auckland and the festival by one of the leading pyrotechnic performance company in the world, France’s Groupe F.

The Breath of the Volcano is a family show which will have three outdoor performances in the Auckland’s Domain.

Other international highlights include:

  • The National Theatre of Great Britain’s side-splitting, West End smash-hit play One Man, Two Guvnors.
  • Urban, one of the world’s most revolutionary circus experiences by the young and fearless performers of Circolombia.
  • An award-winning dance theatre work by two of Europe’s leading choreographers, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet, in Babel (Words).
  • China’s most successful contemporary play of all time, Rhinoceros in Love.
  • The National Theatre of Scotland’s play-in-a-pub, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart.
  • An introspective theatre work for individuals on their own journey which takes place through the streets and laneways of Auckland, called En Route.

Festival artistic director Carla van Zon says “the arts have always had the power to bring people closer together".

"We are proud of our position as the festival for New Zealand’s most international city and are looking forward to welcoming hundreds of performers, producers and technicians from more than 18 countries to Auckland in March.”

In addition to the international programme, the wealth of creative talent from New Zealand has driven a Maori and Pacific programme which is one of the festival’s treasures.

This includes a one-night-only music extravaganza, Everything is Ka Pai, which welcomes to the stage The Yoots, Maisey Rika, Ria Hall, Annie Crummer, Seth Haapu, Pio Terei and the legendary John Rowles.

Also in the programme:

  • The world premiere of the newest play by award-winning playwright Mitch Tawhi Thomas, Hu'i.
  • New Zealand’s first Pacific musical, The Factory.
  • I, George Nepia, the award-winning play about the Invincible rugby legend.
  • An extra-special opera experience, not in Italian or German, but Te Reo, called Whaka-Aria-Mai.
  • Benjamin Britten’s momentous War Requiem, which is being performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, New Zealand Youth Choir and three major international soloists.
  • Songs and Dances of Desire, In Memorium Carmen Rupe, Jack Body’s new work for the APO.
  • Convergence, an innovative work by the NZTrio and Maori musical instrument specialist Horomono Horo.
  • A choral celebration of the work of Benjamin Britten 100 years after his birth, Little Britten.
  • A community-based roving performance event which takes place on and around Auckland’s Dominion Rd called Dominion Rd Stories, produced by ATC.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Made to Move will feature three new works, including the first original piece choreographed by artistic director Ethan Stiefel, which is a comic work set in a Bavarian beer hall.

Music lovers are also well catered for by the likes of the renowned Kronos Quartet performing with Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; Irish indie music icon Glen Hansard and his band The Frames, who are being supported by Lisa Hannigan; soul sister Ruthie Foster, who will bring it with her all-girl band; the Godfather of Afrobeat Hugh Masekela, who is trumpeting in to the Town Hall for one special performance; and Coffee with Mr Bach, a late-afternoon early music treat.

Auckland Arts Festival’s Festival Club will have a number of performances in the Spiegeltent, including Cantina, an underground 1930s style circus-cabaret starring performers from La Clique, Circus Oz and Cirque; The Stochelo Rosenberg Trio with their trademark Django Reinhardt-inspired hot guitar; contemporary Afro-Peruvian fusion ensemble Novalima; a swinging retro salsa dura band out of Colombia, LA-33; and must-see a capella, beat box masters The Magnets, fresh from five-star performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Also back in 2013 is the visual arts night of nights, White Night, when for one eveing more than 50 of Auckland’s galleries will open from 6pm until midnight.

The festival’s visual arts programme includes a special commission of a new community-based work by Tiffany Singh, who represented New Zealand at the recent Sydney Biennale.

Ms van Zon has programmed a festival which celebrates the unique cultural diversity, location and energy of New Zealand’s largest city. It is an open invitation for everyone to immerse themselves in the arts while they have the opportunity.

“A festival,” Ms van Zon says, “is a moment in time that will never happen again. It is a celebration and an occasion to come together as a community to share in the spirit and creativity of an array of artists.

"We trust everyone will find something in the programme they love, and we welcome people to try something they haven’t before or by someone they’ve never heard of. Because at the heart of every artist’s work is the audience: creating a moment to delight, challenge or surprise each and every audience member.

"Artistic experiences can enrich the lives of all people at any age or stage.”

Festival chief executive David Inns says it is "a key cultural tourism driver for the region".

"Aside from facilitating the coming together of people, cultures and stories, the festival takes very seriously its role in providing Auckland with a number of social and economic opportunities.

"Opportunities for audiences to access the best local and international work – for New Zealand artists to get their work out of the rehearsal room and on to the world stage, and behind-the-scenes employment opportunities for over 200 local arts professionals and students every festival.”

John Daly-Peoples
Tue, 06 Nov 2012
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Auckland Arts Festival offers some treats next year