March 2018 is looking to be a very exciting month. With no fewer than three major festivals running, The Newtown Fair, Cuba Dupa and more, you'd better have a planner or your iCal ready to block out all your weekends.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to get a taster of a few things that are looking to heat up the city as the temperature cools from those hot days we've had. Here are my top picks of what to look forward to in March (make sure you book quickly!)
1. The New Zealand Festival
Many of you will have booked tickets to the New Zealand Festival months ago, but for those that haven't, there are still treats in store between the three weeks 23 February and 18 March 2018. If you are unfamiliar with The New Zealand Festival (formerly The New Zealand Festival of the Arts), it is a biannual festival where international and locally produced shows are hosted in New Zealand's capital. There are so many events on (including theatre, dance, gigs and more) you may feel overwhelmed! Make sure you take the time to have a scope out and book through the website (while some are sold out, there are still plenty of offerings) It is so worth making the time for The New Zealand Festival - some of my first memories of arts are going to the 1998 festival with my parents, 20 years ago!
This year's event was particularly special. On Friday night tens of thousands watched, captivated, as a majestic fleet of wakaehourua (traditional double-hulled sailing canoes) met by waka ama and waka taua performed an opening spectacular on the waters of Te Whanganui-a-Tara/ Wellington Harbour. The journey undertaken by the crews of the waka hourua began almost four weeks ago departing from Auckland, Tauranga and Napier to reach Wellington in time for tonight’s performance. The participation of the waka hourua was led by master Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr navigator, voyager and waka expert who has been a leader in the movement to teach the skills of traditional voyaging and celestial navigation to across Aotearoa. The crew’s skills were tested by the recent bad weather – hello, Cyclone Gita!!
Creative Director Anna Marbrook, part of the Creative Team behind A Waka Odyssey said, “Tonight’s performance and preceding journey was a way of capturing all of our stories of voyaging here (to Aotearoa New Zealand). At the heart of that are three thousand years of voyaging history.”
Well done team New Zealand Festival! Were you there?
2. The Performance Arcade
Further around the Waterfront is the wonderful Performance Arcade (I interviewed Director Sam Trubridge two years ago about the PA - read here)! This is an acclaimed live art event has attracted 50,000 people every year to Wellington Waterfront since 2011 - all for some art in Shipping containers!
This miniature festival offers new encounters between artists and public, creating a vibrant hub that activates the city and exposes communities to new ideas and cultural perspectives. The free admission and waterfront location makes it accessible to a broad community, developing empowered audiences and participants in the creative and cultural Life of the city. Audiences come to an exciting and diverse program of art, live music, and performance, installed within a special architectural arrangement of shipping containers, to create an innovative new space for performance and arts presentation.
This year The Performance Arcade 2018 explores the theme of Counter-Narratives with a vibrant assembly of works spilling out of shipping containers and onto the Waterfront. Delving into the worlds of collective dreaming, imagination, pleasure and resistance. The audience will get to see Live Art, performances, installation art, video works, live music, culinary art and much more. Artistic Director, Sam Trubridge says “The shipping container is a potent device… as an artefact of our global, capitalist society… an ocean-going vessel that carries memories, lifestyles, cultures, and trade across the many borders that define our contemporary world.”
3. The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Production of The Piano
The 2018 ballet season begins with the world premiere of a work inspired by Jane Campion’s award-winning quintessentially New Zealand film that captured audiences worldwide. This newly re-imagined full-length work by Jiří Bubeníček is presented in association with the New Zealand Festival and the Auckland Arts Festival. Ada’s story is given a powerful new voice in dance and is accompanied by musical excerpts from Michael Nyman’s iconic film score and works by classical music masters.
I studied The Piano at school and am a big fan of Campion's work, including Top of The Lake so I was very excited to see this at the dress rehearsal to which I was invited. We also were lucky enough to have pre-drinks at Garage Projects new Lab on Marion Street. Our goody bags had a Hops En Pointe, a voucher for a drink at Hot Sauce, L'Affare Coffee and Wellington Chocolate Factory Chocolate! So lucky! As for the Ballet itself, it certainly didn't disappoint and those of you who had a chance to go in Wellington or will go to it in another city are in for a treat! It is on across New Zealand until 28 March 2018. Read my interview with dancers from the ballet Shaun and Kirby (who are in the show) here (I chatted to them when they were in Romeo and Juliet last year).
Honourable mentions go to the start of the Wellington Film Society season, starting today (my brother and I are going along to the first film, Brazil) and The New Zealand Fringe Festival which kicks off soon, between 2 and 24 March. Also don't miss Readers and Writers Week, as part of the New Zealand Festival. Agh - so much booking to do! I'd better get my credit card out. See you there!