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AK05 Madness, Music, Mayhem and much more…

Madness, Music, Mayhem and much more…

AK05 lands in Auckland on Friday 25 February with 60+ events hitting town over 17 days and nights!

An enormous A-shaped stage now fills Aotea Square to mark the largest international festival the City of Sails has hosted .

The giant stage is home to two weekends of free music and entertainment and the festival's grand gala opening on Saturday night, which kicks off at 8:30pm showcasing several local and international teasers from the festival including Bangarra Dance, Michael Hurst's Jack and the Beanstalk, Stalker Theatre Company, Les 7 Doights de la main and King Kapisi. A fireworks finale ends the free gala at 10:30pm . Some of Auckland ’s hottest bands take to the stage during the two free music weekends including Feelstyle, Pitch Black, Jordan Luck, Golden Horse, Nesian Mystic, Joel Haines and more.

Theatre is high on the agenda for week one of AK05

Award winning play, Strata, opens on Friday night for six shows only! First performed in September 2003, Strata opened to critical acclaim and won the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Most Original Production, Outstanding New Playwright-Kirk Torrance (Stickman, Fishskin Suit, Shortland Street , Duggan, Maataku ) and Most promising New Director-Tim Spite. Auckland ’s premier show will debut a new cast. Set in the late 1800’s on the rugged West coast of the South Island, Strata is the story of brothers Angus and Mo and Angus’ search for redemption 1000ft underground. NZ Theatre at its best. Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre 25 Feb to 2 March.

From Saturday The Conch presents the award winning show Vula, a superb piece of Pacific Island theatre. Performed by a vibrant company on a stage flooded with water, four Pacific Island women combine magic and illusion with traditional song and dance. First performed to sell out crowds in Wellington in 2002, Vula now makes its way to AK05 for 5 shows only at the Maidment Theatre, 26 Feb to 2 March. Don’t miss this spectacular theatre piece before it takes off to Guam next week.

Art galleries throughout the city are hosting exhibitions of the highest calibre. The most spectacular is Auckland Art Gallery ’s Mixed-Up Childhood, a provocative look at the way children are portrayed in art. This is a rare collection of some of the world’s most renowned international artists including Henry Darger, Sally Mann and Grayson Perry. Estonian art groups Pink Punk and Avangard showcase their edgy works at Gus Fisher Gallery, which has many interesting facets to it, including A Hot Art Chat Line where you can phone an 0800 number to find out “everything you ever wanted to know about art but were afraid to ask.”

Parts of the city’s landscape will change during the festival. Some permanent, such as eight new sculptures installed at the Auckland Domain and some less permanent, including a Britomart building covered with thousands of love letters written and sent by Aucklanders.

Other highlights to look forward to are:

Australia ’s hottest contemporary dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre bring it's latest work Bush to AK05. Artistic director Stephen Page and choreographer Frances Rings have worked closely with Aboriginal elder Kathy Marika to make this one of the most stunning dance pieces this century. Rings recently won the award for outstanding performance in choreography at the annual Australian Dance Awards. Bush, a lush and contemporary celebration of beauty and ritual will be performed at the Aotea Centre, THE EDGE ® for 5 nights only.

Also from Australia is the tragicomic tale of Anglo-Irish artist Francis Bacon’s life.Three Furies, presented at SKYCITY Theatre, features some of Australia ’s finest actors and a live band on stage. Three Furies is written by Stephen Sewell, directed by Jim Sharman (director of Rocky Horror Picture Show) and designed by Brian Thomson and arrives in Auckland hot on the heels of rave reviews from the Sydney Festival.

After the hit HBO television series, Russell Simon’s 2003 Tony Award winning Def Poetry Jam ( Best Special Theatre Event), comes to St James Theatre straight from a successful Broadway season. This show, which sees eight young poets rap on stage about everything from love, sex and domestic violence to McDonald’s and George W. Bush, has become a worldwide phenomenon and promises to impress anyone interested in music, culture and society.

A local highlight is the phenomenal efforts of Michael Parmenter who is premiering his retrospective work, Commotion. Parmenter is joined by 18 of the country’s top dancers, many who have returned from overseas to celebrate his career, spanning more than 20 years.

On a lighter note local celebrities Oscar Kightley, Kerre Woodham and Jeremy Corbett take on Southerners Jason Gunn, Tom Scott and Tim Shadbolt about whether " Auckland is the true capital of New Zealand. " MC Oliver Driver and adjudicator Mayor Dick Hubbard will help ensure all proceeds go to breast cancer survivors.

David Malacari says AK05 exposes Auckland to a diversity of work it has never seen before.

“The festival’s programme will stimulate audiences and artists and help recognise Auckland as a major cultural capital in the Pacific.”

“There is no good. There is no bad. There is only what you like and what you don’t like, and part of the adventure is talking about why,” says Malacari.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said: “It is through exhibitions, shows, and festivals like AK05 that we can profile our arts and culture and see the best of what the international circuit has to offer.”

AK05 would not be possible without the generous support of core funder Auckland City and principal sponsor ANZ

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