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From the 5th

24 March 2016

Reflecting on the Festival

I am sleeping more easily now, as our last Festival day has been and gone. It has been a great three weeks with...

Festival Garden 02.03.16 7

...fantastic shows, exhibitions and events. The last night in The New Zealand Herald Festival Garden, as the last three shows came down, the Festival team breathed a happy sigh of satisfaction. A big thanks to all the Festival staff across the board. They have worked extremely hard, many for six or seven days a week, and very long hours. All the artists have commented on how good our team are. We have also received high praise from artists saying how much they love our Festival and our city.

‘Thank you Auckland, you were superb’ – Boris, The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy

‘Til next time New Zealand … thanks for a beautiful first visit’ - Emily King

‘Thank you for having us @aklfestival, you have been so welcoming. Great season, amazing crowds, amazing connections’ -  360 ALLSTARS

‘Ahh, I am so happy... This is actually the best festival event I have been to, I think, in the world...yes, in the world...this is because no one does it the way you do in Auckland. No where is there such welcome, such care... just a good feeling in every part of the experience’ -   Damien, m¡longa

And we loved all our artists too. What an array of fantastic experiences they gifted us. For me personally, to sit in the theatre with our audiences, to hear their comments afterwards and to watch faces light up, was the true reward. On Sunday afternoon I was in The Civic after 360 ALLSTARS, when hundreds of kids lined up to get autographs from the stars of the show. 

It was also great to get shows out and about. We were delighted to take the Festival out to new places for the first time like Piha, with Waves and Te Oro in Glen Innes with Not in Our Neighbourhood.  

There were many standout shows but it was the diversity of the work and the audiences that made it feel uniquely Auckland. For example, listening to comments from audiences experiencing their first theatre work from Korea - The Chorus; Oedipus - was a real buzz. Or to hear a play read in Te Reo Māori and know that more than half the audience were speakers of the language.  And at Carabosse Fire Garden, we saw so many different people who loved the fire sculptures, the music and the storytelling – all designed especially for our city.  At Auckland Arts Festival we are proud to bring you a diversity of arts and cultural experiences, whether you followed a visual art procession on White Night or attended dance from Argentina, theatre from the Pacific or music from the USA. The Festival truly is the world on your doorstep. 

Thanks to you, our audiences, for spending time with us, and we look forward to welcoming you again in March next year. I am about half way through curating the 2017 programme and will soon hit the road again to find more unique events that we can bring to you. Put the dates in your diary: 8 - 26 March 2017.


PS. Four shows in the Festival were created by Belgian artists. Valentijn Dhaenens, the actor in BigMouth, flew into Brussels at the time of bombing, while David from La Cucina dell’Arte and Boris from The Great Downhill Journey Little Tommy were diverted to different airports.   All our Belgian artists are safe, but we send them our love and strength as they face the days ahead.