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Govt funding assures success in arts festivals

Government funding assures success of NZ content in arts festivals

The New Zealand shows in the 2004 New Zealand International Arts Festival are a tangible demonstration of the success of the Labour Progressive Government’s Cultural Recovery Package and ongoing support for the arts, says Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard.

“The breadth and depth of New Zealand work in this festival has everyone talking. I’ve had a stream of overseas visitors and New Zealanders talking about the strength of our performing arts,” said Judith Tizard. “The festival provides an important platform to raise New Zealand’s profile overseas and garner export opportunities for our performing arts.”

Last week, Black Grace Dance Company presented the major new work Surface by Neil Ieremia, which the Dominion Post review concluded was the dedication of many years reaching its fruition.

“Black Grace was one of the companies to be made an annual client of Creative New Zealand as a result of the government’s Cultural Recovery Package announcement in May 2000, which saw more money invested in Creative New Zealand.

“Surface is the largest-scale production that Black Grace has ever undertaken. The company tells me that the funding boost has given it a far more secure springboard from which to operate, and it has enabled Neil Ieremia to develop more substantial work.

“The work has attracted serious interest from visiting international arts practitioners and festival booking agents, and it featured at the Perth International Arts Festival last month. I’m hoping that it’s going to have a long life.”

Judith Tizard said Taki Rua Productions, which is presenting two shows in the Festival (The Prophet, Untold Tales of Maui), has also benefited from the Cultural Recovery Package which funded Creative New Zealand’s Future Strengths strategy. The strategy aims to stabilise and strengthen the professional arts infrastructure in New Zealand. Both of Taki Rua’s festival productions have also met critical acclaim in this festival.

Judith Tizard said performers and producers were also able to get their works in front of international media, overseas festival producers, booking agents and local festival producers through the festival’s ‘Show and Tell’ and Performing Arts Market.

“Several of the festival producers and booking agents who attended the Creative New Zealand-supported showcases and functions at the Australian Performing Arts Market in Adelaide last month continued on to the New Zealand festival.

“Additionally, Tourism New Zealand has brought international media to the festival, which has already resulted in excellent coverage for New Zealand in publications such as the Australian Financial Review.

“As many of these shows tour to other local festivals, more and more New Zealanders and people around the world are seeing the finest of our performing arts. These productions and exhibitions provide a vital local touchstone for New Zealand audiences and festival visitors.

“I’m delighted that the results of increased funding and support for our performing arts organisations are continuing to be realised on the festival stage. It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase our inspiring new works alongside the international programme.”

Judith Tizard warmly congratulated Carla Van Zon, David Inns, Fran Wilde and all at the NZ International Arts Festival on an outstanding 10th Anniversary programme.

Editor’s note: In the 2004 New Zealand International Arts Festival, Creative New Zealand has specifically supported the following productions: Surface - Black Grace Dance Company; Toi Mana - Toi Maori; The Prophet - Taki Rua Productions and Downstage Theatre; Monkey - Capital E; The Songmaker’s Chair – Auckland Theatre Company; Quartet – NZ International Arts Festival commission; Geographical Cure – commission for Downstage; Velocities II – NZ International Arts Festival commissions for David Downes and David Long; Eve De Castro Robinson – NZ International Arts Festival commission; The Mongrel in Me – Mahinarangi Tocker; NZ Post Writers and Readers Week; Out and About programme.

In addition, Creative New Zealand gives ongoing support to the following organisations that are presenting work in this year’s festival: NBR NZ Opera - The Elixir of Love; Taki Rua Productions - The Untold Tales of Maui; Toi Maori - The Eternal Thread at Pataka; The Tower NZ Youth Choir; Circa Theatre – Spreading Out; Downstage Theatre – Geographical Cure, The Prophet.

Creative New Zealand has put funding into many of the visual art exhibitions in this year’s festival, including the City Gallery’s Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition. The arts development and funding agency also supports the NZ Fringe Festival, a vital platform for innovative, risky and experimental new companies and productions.

Additionally, the government has increased funding over the past four years to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Te Papa and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, all of whom have presented works in the NZ International Arts Festival. On the web: Creative New Zealand: http://www.creativenz.govt.nz NZ International Arts Festival: http://www.nzfestival.telecom.co.nz

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