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From the 5th

16 March 2016

Final Festival Week!

The Belgians are in town, as are the Koreans, the Argentineans, the Singaporeans, the Australians, the Scots, the Chinese and the Americans. It has been a wonderful start to week three of the Festival.

ALFE White

Tuesday night rocked. BigMouth, part of our Belgian season, and Emily King from NYC both opened and played to sold-out houses with ecstatic audience responses.  Emily’s audience performed a haka at the end of her show. To end the evening, the artists and audiences from both shows swarmed out into the Festival Garden and danced the night away. 

It’s a big final week at the Festival – we are finishing with a bang. La Cucina dell’Arte play their last five performances. Over the past three weeks they have warmed people’s hearts and filled lives with smiles. My niece was the chosen audience member to participate in the show on Sunday, and loved the experience; and 10–year-old Izzy told me he wants to go back to “see the funny men”.

Tonight we open with the world premiere season of two new dance works by NZ’s own Neil Ieremia and, from Singapore Swee Boon Kuik – the images from the dress rehearsal last night are extraordinary. See accompanying image.

Then, tomorrow we have four openings including the NZ premiere of Nixon in China, with a stellar international and NZ cast, the APO and the NZ Opera chorus. I dropped by rehearsal last night and heard Madeleine Pierard singing Pat Nixon. Extraordinary.  And there are a few surprises in store for audiences, as director Sara Brodie shifts the work from a straight concert to a semi-staged one. 

Other shows opening are the fabulously sexy m¡longa – featuring some of Argentina’s best tango dancers and musicians.

And from around the globe comes 360 ALLSTARS – just over one hour of sheer energy and joy, where art meets sport – BMXs, basketball, B Boys and beats; it’s a great show for teenagers.  And if you have passed that age – but love rock music and comics -  then The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy,  is for you.  I definitely felt a little old in the audience when I saw the show but the artists are awesome and it was a cult work at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  And another premiere for Auckland Arts Festival is our first major theatre work from Korea. The Chorus; Oedipus is an astounding work that blurs boundaries between art forms.  

Check out our programme at aaf.co.nz for details of all of the above and more.  And come to the New Zealand Herald Festival Garden to help us celebrate the cultures and people of this wonderful city of ours. 


PS. Don’t forget programmes for all Auckland Arts Festival events are free on our website so you can find out lots more about shows.