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Festival of Colour announces five world premieres

Festival of Colour announces five world premieres

LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (December 4, 2008) – The Southern Lakes Festival of Colour this week announced the 2009 programme will include five world premieres from some of New Zealand’s foremost artists and playwrights.

At a function for patrons and benefactors of the arts festival, director, Philip Tremewan said he was delighted heartland New Zealand beats the big cities of Auckland and Wellington to be the first to see some major new work.

Work from iconic artist, Grahame Sydney will launch the Festival with a premiere of his documentary, Dreaming of Eldorado: the old Dunstan Road. In addition, the festival has commissioned a number new works in music, dance and theatre with support from Creative New Zealand. Mike Nock’s Southern Suite is a piano duet themed around the Southern Alps and New Zealand’s top two pianists, Michael Houstoun and Diedre Irons, will premiere the work during the festival.

Local theatre group, Flat Out Productions is working with director Stuart Devenie to produce the play, Witches Over Wanaka, bringing a touch of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with Devenie’s own imitable style.

The final two commissions were announced by the artists themselves with Raewyn Hill and Dave Armstrong taking to the stage. One of New Zealand’s top choreographers, Hill presented her vision for her latest dance work, Finders Keepers that will also premiere at the festival. Finders Keepers started when Hill visited a small park in central Hong Kong - a park where the owners of song-birds brought the birds in their cages to socialise and to compete with each other. She saw the passion the men had for their caged song birds and this started her thinking about relationships, about love and about how we sometimes try to cage what we love.

“Having performed White in 2005 and Mercy: a dance for the forgotten in 2007 it’s really nice to continue the relationship with the festival artistically,” she said. “The Festival of Colour has to be my favourite arts festival as the autumn colours are insane and the energy, the real sense of community ownership and really infectious energy; everyone gets excited about new works.”

Renowned playwright, Dave Amstrong talked about his new play, Le Sud that imagines New Zealand colonised in a completely different fashion, splitting in 1839 to the British North Zealand and the French speaking South - Le Sud. Thanks to abundant cheap hydro-power and farming subsidies, Le Sud flourishes, but free-market economies and a civil war with the Tuhoe nation mean North Zealand is a third world backwater. So a North Zealand delegation heads to Le Sud to ask for foreign aid and cheap power. What follows is a tense round of negotiations combined with elements of classic French farce with many romances, quarrels and leadership challenges along the way.

“Because it’s a Festival of Colour commission, the play is set in Wanaka and it’s such a great place to premiere a work about north vs south,” said Armstrong. “I’ve had a longstanding relationship with the festival with work at both the two previous festivals and it’s great to be coming back for a third time with another exciting work.”

The next Festival of Colour takes place on 28 April to 3 May 2008 in Lake Wanaka and is generously supported by Central Lakes Trust, The Community Trust of Otago, Creative New Zealand, Infinity Investment Group, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Aurora. For further information, visit


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