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International Arts heavyweights head to NZ

Media release
CREATIVE NEW ZEALAND
Date: 27 February 2004

International heavyweights head to
New Zealand following our success at
Australian Performing Arts Market

Expressions of interest from international producers, festival directors and venue managers have flooded in following the spotlight performances of the three New Zealand performing arts companies featured at the 6th Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in Adelaide this week, with the support of Creative New Zealand.

Among the 37 spotlight performances were 25-minute excerpts from the three New Zealand companies. Comedy theatre group Naked Samoans presented an excerpt from Naked Samoans Go Home; Soap Box Productions presented excerpts from Night and White by choreographer Raewyn Hill, and percussion group Strike presented extracts from Strike Unplugged.

Following the spotlight performances, Naked Samoans were approached by Australian presenters from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as well as the Harbourfront Festival in Toronto. Soap Box Productions were approached by the Sydney Opera House, Singapore Festival, Dance Space in New York and the Harbourfront Festival. Interest has also been expressed in Strike by the Melbourne Arts Centre, the Adelaide Festival Centre, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, and a range of touring circuits in Australia including the Alice Springs, Darwin and New South Wales state touring circuits.

Kristine Germann, Artistic Associate of the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, congratulated Creative New Zealand on its selection of spotlight companies. "They made a real impact and stood up against anything that I saw here. We are very interested in developing long-term relationships with artists from New Zealand," she said.

Along with the three spotlight performances, Creative New Zealand hosted a booth at APAM and produced a publication, Go International! Performing arts from Aotearoa New Zealand promoting 30 New Zealand artists/companies.

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard attended APAM and believes the New Zealand presence was a huge success.

"The reaction to our companies confirms that New Zealand is hot, that it's internationally on form and that our performers have unqiue talents," she said. "It is important for a country the size of New Zealand to foster international markets for New Zealand work and APAM is an excellent opportunity to do this."

APAM is a biennial event, held over five-days (23 - 27 February). It is the only major international performing arts market in the Southern Hemisphere and is therefore a vital platform for New Zealand and Australian performing artists wanting to make their mark on the international stage.

More than 400 delegates from 18 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Europe, North America, South America and Asia went "shopping" at this year's market for the cream of New Zealand and Australia's performing artists to buy performances that caught their attention.

Five international delegates are coming to New Zealand next week to see work in the New Zealand International Arts Festival - three direct from APAM and two from Europe. They are:

* David Tushingham, a British writer, dramaturg and curator of the Vienna Festival and Theatre der Welt in Stuttgart, Germany

* Stella Hall, Artistic Director of the Belfast Festival

* Jaime Suarez, Director of Programming at the Cervantino Festival, Mexico

* Mark Yeoman, Director of the Noorderzon Theatre Festival, Holland

* Gie Baguet, programmer for the International Street Theatre and Contemporary Dance Festival, Belgium

"We're delighted that these international heavyweights are coming to New Zealand to see a range of work by New Zealand companies," says Cath Cardiff, Projects Manager, Audience and Market Development at Creative New Zealand.

"New Zealand's presence at APAM is about making connections, building ongoing relationships and opening doors. The strong contingent of international presenters coming to New Zealand to see more of our work illustrates how effective our presence at APAM has become."

This is the third time Creative New Zealand has worked in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts to support a New Zealand presence at APAM.

"We really value our partnership with our counterparts across the Tasman," Cath Cardiff says. "This event is a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand's performing arts sector to sell their vibrant and compelling work."

Ends

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