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2011 Nelson Arts Festival promises to be a boomer

2011 Nelson Arts Festival promises to be a boomer October 7-24, 2011

Boosted by rugby fans and Masters Games' visitors, this year's Nelson Arts Festival is set to be a boomer.

Nelson City Council Arts Festival Producer Director Sophie Kelly says the programme, released today (August 5) is very exciting, with several features designed to showcase Nelson to visitors. This year's arts festival is part of the Game On Festival, which showcases the region during Rugby World Cup 2011.

"We start the whole thing off with the Nelson Masked Parade on Friday October 7 with the theme Playful Pacifica," she said. "The Masked Parade is an event that really speaks about Nelson's community spirit and creativity and this year's theme will allow entrants to express their kiwi heritage in costumes and masks that will range from flights of tui to swarms of buzzy-bees."

The evening continues with the More FM Carnivale & Sonic 1903 Live Zone Ms Kelly says it is very exciting to have Midnight Youth and Knives at Noon in Nelson as part of the REAL New Zealand Festival's kiwi music tour.

"And as night falls, Mike Hodgson's stunning sound and light installation, Piki Mai will be switched on, transforming the Cathedral and Church Steps with projected images and sounds from Nelson's history," she said. "This will run throughout the festival, every evening from dusk - it is going to be a real talking point and is also a moving depiction of hsitory drawn from paintings, photos, newspaper articles, historical and mythical records and personal stories."

Ms Kelly says the next 17 days will deliver a festival programme that features a diverse collection of works from New Zealand and afar.

"We are thrilled to present 'Rita and Douglas', the unusual love story of two of New Zealand's cultural treasures, Rita Angus and Douglas Lilburn, performed by renowned pianist Michael Houstoun and performer Jennifer-Ward Lealand," she said. "Another highlight is to have the Loons Circus Company back in town with their new physical theatre work 'Berlin Burlesque'; in keeping with the rugby theme we present 'C'Mon Black', the story of Dickie Hart and his adventures supporting the All Blacks in South Africa; and on the musical side a very wide reaching range of performers includes choral harmonies from Dudley Benson and the Dawn Chorus, Pacific treasure Will Crummer and The Rarotongans, and from Italy, acoustic guitarist Antonio Forcione who will wow us with his trio's dynamic musical virtuosity."

The festival is preceded by five days of top talent from local schools in Westpac Red Square, starting on Monday October 3 to catch the last week of term.

From there on the action moves between the central city venues of the Suter Theatre and the Theatre Royal to Founders Heritage Park where there will be music (including early evening free shows), a bigger than ever Page & Blackmore Readers and Writers' series; and cabaret presented at two venues, the Granary Festival Café and the Festival Tent - a versatile venue fitted out with cabaret and theatre seating for 350.

"Founders is going to be full of action with the amazing 'Oi You!' Urban Art Exhibition at the Energy Centre - media interest in this southern showcasing of the works of Banksy is building already," Ms Kelly said. "Add on Rugby World Cup 2011 Game On events such as the arts' markets and the re-enactment of New Zealand's first rugby game and we have a programme that is going to be a record breaker. I urge locals to make the most of early bird deals to ensure they don't miss out on tickets."

The Nelson Arts Festival is produced by the Nelson City Council as a celebration for locals and an attraction for visitors.


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