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Stage Set For Spectacular Auckland Festival 2009

Media Release - Embargoed until 6pm, Wednesday 12 November, 2009

Stage Set For Spectacular Auckland Festival 2009


A spectacular programme of theatre, dance, music, and visual arts from some of the world’s most exciting arts and entertainment companies will bring Auckland alive next March in the city’s fourth biennial Festival.

A modern fairytale from theatrical master Robert Lepage, the New Zealand debut of spell-binding Japanese company Ishinha, a dazzling contemporary circus, and a free world music party – that will see part of Queen Street closed to traffic - are just some of the highlights of the 18 days of arts, culture, and entertainment on offer in Auckland Festival 2009.

The Festival’s rich line-up of New Zealand work is headlined by a number of world premiere seasons, including; Black Grace Dance Company’s much anticipated Gathering Clouds - Peace, Poverty, Dreams & The Pacific, and Kate Parker and Julie Nolan’s magical adaptation of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, the Festival’s major New Zealand commission for 2009.

Festival Director David Malacari, who launched the 2009 programme tonight, says he is proud to bring New Zealanders a Festival that offers inspiration, provocation and delight.

“For eighteen days next March, Auckland will once again be energised, enlivened and entertained by musicians, singers, dancers, sculptors, directors, poets, aerialists, actors and more from New Zealand and around the globe,” Malacari said.

“Aucklanders – and New Zealanders – have embraced Auckland Festival in increasing numbers over the past six years. In 2009, huge numbers of Kiwis will attend free events, tens of thousands of tickets will be sold, and visitors to the city will boost the local economy. These economic measures are important, but the true worth of Auckland Festival lies in the social and cultural value it will add to our city. Festivals bring communities together; they are an inclusive time of celebration, contemplation and conversation that is rare in our busy modern lives.

“From the epic scale of Ishinha’s Nostalgia, and Circus Oz, to our terrific programme of activities for children and families, the experiences audiences will take away from Auckland Festival 2009 will enrich our City.”

Auckland Festival has, with core funding support from Auckland City Council, rapidly established itself as one of New Zealand's most significant arts and cultural festivals. From Russia to Canada, Papua New Guinea to Japan, and Germany to New Zealand, the 2009 Festival programme features more than 200 performances, exhibitions and concerts and more.

Chairman of Auckland Festival Trust, Richard Waddel says it is fantastic to see Aucklanders from all sectors of the community embracing their Festival.

“The magnificent support of our core funder, Auckland City Council, the invaluable contribution of major sponsor New Zealand Post, and the many contributions from the business sector, the arts community, and the hundreds of thousands of individuals, who become volunteers, sign up as Friends of the Festival - or simply buy tickets or participate in our many free events - are all vital to ensuring we have a Festival we can all be proud of and enjoy.”

International highlights include Nostalgia, a spectacular production from Osaka based company Ishinha that tells the story of Japanese immigrants to South America at the dawn of the 20th Century; The Andersen Project by Robert Lepage, a theatrical masterpiece created for the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth; The White Body, a new dance work by the internationally acclaimed French/Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola; the Circus Oz 30th Birthday Bash, a thrilling new show from the company that inspired Cirque du Soleil; and a hugely entertaining adaptation of Venus & Adonis, the New Zealand debut of renowned Australian company Bell Shakespeare.

A hallmark of Auckland Festival is its extensive programme of NZ work. In 2009, audiences will be treated to some of the country’s most exciting new work, with the first productions from ‘Watch This Space,’ the Festival’s development programme; multi-dimensional theatre pieces The Arrival, Sleep/Wake, and The Kreutzer. The inspiring theatre programme also includes work from Auckland Theatre Company (The Wife Who Spoke Japanese In Her Sleep), Silo Theatre (The Ensemble Project), and Taki Rua Productions (Te Karakia).

The local dance programme features Taonga: Dust, Water, Wind, a powerful, mesmerizing new work from critically acclaimed Maori dance collective Atamira; and the New Zealand premiere of Tempest: Without a Body, the latest work in Lemi Ponifasio’s Tempest series, a poignant, poetic and frighteningly beautiful reflection on the post 9/11 world which premiered in Vienna. Major concerts from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra head a line-up of wonderful local and international music.

New Festival initiatives include The Queen Street Sing Sing, and The New Zealand Post Family Weekend. Performed by the Wantok Musik Foundation with guest artists from New Zealand and around the Pacific, Sing Sing is a celebration of the songlines of Oceania – a free world music party that combines traditional and contemporary musical forms, drumming, choral vocals, sublime world fusion grooves, and state of the art projections. Part of Queen Street will be closed off for the Sing Sing concert, one of the highlights of the Festival’s opening weekend.

Developed in partnership with the Festival’s major sponsor, The New Zealand Post Family Weekend is a weekend dedicated to arts and culture for Auckland’s families. Highlights include performances of Peter And The Wolf by the NZSO and The Arrival, workshops with Kate Parker and Judy Darragh, the magic of storytime in the Famous Spiegeltent, and the extraordinary production Fluff.

Returning festival favourites include Festival hub Red Square, where La Clique, the sell-out sensation of AK07, will once again be in residence at The Famous Spiegeltent. Relocated to the Aotea Precinct for Auckland Festival 2009, Red Square will truly be the heart of the Festival, feeding into festival venues at The Edge, Sky City Theatre, The Maidment Theatre, and adjacent to The Basement, the home of Auckland’s inaugural Fringe Festival.

Highlights of Red Square’s Festival Club include worldwide sensations Tim Minchin, the outrageous toast of the international music and comedy scene, and French/Irish singer Camille O’Sullivan, who brings her repertoire of Nick Cave, Jacques Brel, Tom Waits and more to Auckland after 5 star sell-out seasons in Sydney, New York and around the UK.

The 2009 Festival will be the second time Auckland Festival has curated a significant visual arts programme. International art stars such as Isaac Julien, Paola Pivi, Ray Lee and The Little Artists will sit alongside some of New Zealand’s best contemporary artists, including the Artbus. A passenger bus transformed by Sara Hughes into the Auckland Festival Artbus, which will take the Festival onto the city streets, transporting passengers around Auckland during the Festival and for several months afterwards.

Auckland Festival 2009 will also see the return of early evening chamber music series, Music At Twilight, a popular initiative of the 2007 Festival. Dubbed ‘an hour of quality time,’ Music At Twilight will be presented in the Baptist Tabernacle. The popular Arts & Minds series is another returning Festival success; a programme of forums, workshops, master classes and seminars involving local and international artists.

The programme for Auckland Festival 2009 is available to the public from 13 November, 2008. Tickets go on sale on 19 November, after a preferential booking period for Friends of the Festival. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.aucklandfestival.co.nz.


ABOUT AUCKLAND FESTIVAL 2009

Auckland Festival 2009 (5-22 March) will be Auckland’s fourth Arts Festival, a biennial event that has become a firmly established part of New Zealand’s arts and cultural calendar. The Festival will again present outstanding work from the Pacific and New Zealand, including world premieres and international work never before seen in Australasia. A bigger, better, bolder Festival Hub and an array of free events for the whole family will mean that there is something for everyone to enjoy and participate in.

The 2007 Festival, drew critical, public and media acclaim, presenting more than 100 events, including dance, music, cabaret, burlesque, theatre, ballet, film, public forums and visual arts. From the huge event at the Auckland Domain, the pyrotechnic performance A Little More Light by Groupe F, watched by a record 170,000 spectators, the 2007 Festival created a sense of excitement and buzz throughout the city.


KEY PEOPLE

Auckland Festival Board:
Richard Waddel (Chair), Victoria Carter (Deputy Chair), Rick Carlyon, Ilona Rodgers, Vivian Bridgwater, Heather Shotter, Roger King, Roger McDonnell and Toni Millar.

Festival Director: David Malacari
David Malacari has over 30 years experience in the cultural sector in various roles with some of the region’s leading theatre and dance companies. David previously worked for the Adelaide Festival for over 12 years, and has directed and produced festivals of Australian performing arts in India, New Horizons (1996), and London, Heads Up (2000). He has written work for cabaret, presented film and book reviews, produced and directed corporate documentaries, and toured the world as a lighting designer and production manager with companies including The Sydney Dance Company. David joined the Auckland Festival in late 2004, and has now led three Auckland Festivals; 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Auckland Festival Ambassadors:
Petra Bagust, Judy Bailey, James Griffin, Robbie Magasiva, Catherine Saunders, and Te Radar.


ENDS

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