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Promoting NZ performing arts: Asian Arts Mart 05

Media release

Date: 26 May 2005

Promoting New Zealand performing arts at the Asian Arts Mart 2005

“Asia is a huge, untapped market for New Zealand arts”

Indian Ink Theatre Company will return to Singapore in June to represent New Zealand performing arts in the showcase programme at the Asian Arts Mart 2005, an event that will profile New Zealand dance, music and theatre for the first time – all with Creative New Zealand support.

New Zealand is one of 25 countries participating in the three-day arts market, opening on Friday 3 June in Singapore’s state-of-the-art venue, Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay, and coinciding with the 2005 Singapore Arts Festival.

The biennial Asian Arts Mart (www.esplanade.com/asianartsmart/index.htm) is like any other market the world over. It’s about selling and buying. The artists are there to sell their work while international festival directors, producers, presenters and venue managers are at the market to buy works that catch their attention.

New Zealand’s inaugural presence at the Asian Arts Mart will include a New Zealand booth promoting New Zealand performing arts; a publication profiling 25 tour-ready companies; a number of New Zealand producers; the showcase performance by Indian Ink; and a reception involving the New Zealand High Commissioner in Singapore and market delegates.

Singapore is positioning itself as the hub of Asia for international performing arts market development, says Cath Cardiff, Manager, Audience and Market Development, Creative New Zealand. “It’s exciting to be a part of this event and promote New Zealand’s distinctive, vibrant performing arts to international festival directors and presenters.”

Among the 25 countries represented at the Asian Arts Mart are Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan. Canada, the United States and European countries will also be participating.

“Asia is a huge, untapped market for New Zealand arts and Creative New Zealand is supporting New Zealand participation in this market to help open doors to this market,” Ms Cardiff says. “It’s vital that our leading performing arts companies build international audiences and markets if artists are to enjoy sustainable, long-term careers.”

Indian Ink Theatre Company’s excerpt of its play, The Candlestickmaker, is one of 18 works that will feature in the showcase programme. The play, which has been touring nationally since 2000, has broken box-office records throughout New Zealand.

The company, which includes writer/director Justin Lewis and writer/performer Jacob Rajan, was invited to perform its first play, Krishnan’s Dairy, in Singapore in March this year.

“With Krishnan’s Dairy, we dipped our toes into the Asian market and so it’s both a golden opportunity and an honour to be able to follow it up at the Asian Arts Mart,” Lewis says. “We had a fantastic review in Singapore. The Asian themes of our plays are already striking a chord and people are clamouring for us to return. There’s a touring circuit that operates in a number of Asian capital cities and going to the market provides us with an ideal opportunity to tap into it.”

Ms Cardiff says that taking part in the Asian Arts Mart will also provide valuable opportunities to build networks and relationships with international directors and presenters. “We’ll be making the most of this exciting event to ensure New Zealand’s performing arts are noticed.”

New Zealand will be represented at the Asian Arts Mart 2005 by 18 delegates, including producers, publicists and festival directors. Creative New Zealand is supporting four independent producers - Arani Cuthbert, Wharehoka Wano, Michelle Lafferty, Makerita Urale - to attend the market as a professional development opportunity.

Mr Wano produced the Màori programme at the 2004 New Zealand International Arts Festival, and has also been involved in producing the Màori programmes within WOMAD and the Taranaki Festival of the Arts.

“There’s a burgeoning international interest in Màori performing and visual arts, particularly in North America and Europe,” he says. “A number of Asian countries have experienced our kapa haka performances but I’m keen to promote our contemporary dance, music, theatre and visual arts.

“At the market, I’ll be strengthening the relationships we’ve established over the past two years, especially through WOMAD, in Edinburgh and at the New Zealand International Arts Festival.”

For the past ten years, Creative New Zealand has also supported a New Zealand presence at the biennial Australian Performing Arts Market in Adelaide, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts.

“Our involvement in this market has been a really valuable investment and continues to open up international touring opportunities for New Zealand artists,” Ms Cardiff says.

ENDS

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