14 Feb 2012
With 24 days, more than 300 performances and nine world premieres, you’ll be spoilt for choice when planning your cultural getaway for the New Zealand International Arts Festival.
Friday 24 February – Sunday 26 February: Opening Weekend
There’s nothing quite like opening weekend, and the festival will literally light up the coolest little capital in the world on opening night with the launch of First Contact 2012. Transforming one of the city’s most iconic buildings into a living canvas, New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery’s work will project on Te Papa throughout the festival from dusk.
Opening weekend sees the city’s theatres spring into action with a varied and exciting programme of music, theatre and dance. A powerhouse orchestral and choral line-up presents Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex/Symphony of Psalms at the Michael Fowler Centre, while the festival encore of the heart-wrenching one-man show Michael James Manaia strikes a more intimate note at Downstage Theatre.
This weekend also sees a sizzling double bill from celebrated Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo, a lyrical love story about what happens when Dad accidentally sells you to the devil, and a purgatorial presentation of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy with The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane from Pan Pan, Ireland.
Be sure to time your waterfront walk to take in Arcane, a free performance of jaw-dropping acrobatics at Waitangi Park 2pm and 6pm on the Saturday and Sunday.
Friday 2 March – Sunday 4 March: Power, Punch and Circus
Powerful performance, circus tricks, blood and banter all feature in the second weekend of the festival. Get your ringside seat for National Theatre of Scotland’s knockout alliance with masters of physical theatre Frantic Assembly for Beautiful Burnout, or discover Shakespeare through the physical style and powerful interpretations of Propeller in Henry V or New Zealand’s own Michael Hurst in Frequently Asked Questions.
If a night of enchantment, intrigue and razor-sharp wit is more your style, Circus Ronaldo’s Circenses offers a unique peek into the unseen realm behind the red curtain. For circus with a titillating twist, book in for Cantina at the TelstraClear Festival Club and fans of New Zealand and Pacific theatre, should look to Tu and the world premiere of Masi at Te Papa’s Soundings Theatre.
Friday 9 March – Sunday 11 March: Dance and Delight
Circenses, Cantina, Beautiful Burnout and Frequently Asked Questions continue this weekend, along with Peninsula. But the big news this weekend is Political Mother at St James Theatre, the start of Writers and Readers Week and local favourites The Phoenix Foundation also hit the TelstraClear Festival Club.
This is also a great weekend for families to visit, with White at Capital E set to enchant. Speaking of kids, The Animals & Children Took to the Streets sees evil kids run riot and creatures of darkness rule in a gloriously grim and wickedly funny world created through animated projections.
Friday 16 March – Sunday 18 March: Music and Marvel
The fourth and final weekend of the festival brings with it five captivating new shows. Classical music lovers are in for a treat with The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres and the world premiere of New Zealand opera, Hōhepa. Germany’s anti-gravity phenomenon Leo will leave you both marvelled and mind boggled, while multi award-winning artist James Thiérrée invites you into his world of dreams in the theatrical spectacular, Raoul. Plus, multi-platinum artist Tiki Taane will be rocking out the TelstraClear Festival Club accompanied by drum ‘n’ bass legend DJ Sambora (Shapeshifter).
:: Tickets for most shows start at $38-$48, plus, there are many free events and great packages on offer.
Hungry? Award winning restaurant Logan Brown has a delectable three course dinner deal designed for busy festival-goers for only $39.50 per person. And if you’re still feeling peckish after the show, head to the Amora Hotel Wellington for 2-for-1 dessert - a very sweet deal indeed!
Need a place to crash? Stay at Rydges Hotel and receive Festival Frills in the form of a free room upgrade and breakfast for two adults when you show your festival ticket upon arrival. InterContinental Wellington has an Arts Festival Package available which includes one night’s accommodation with a complimentary upgrade to a superior guestroom, a full buffet breakfast for two at Chameleon Restaurant and two complimentary drink vouchers for use before or after your festival experience.
Keep an eye on WellingtonNZ.com for more great festival deals.