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World’s Best Heading to Spectacular Auckland Arts Festival

Next Auckland Arts Festival: 2 – 20 March 2011

Embargoed Until 6.45pm
Thursday 18 November, 2010

World’s Best Heading to Spectacular Auckland Arts Festival

New Zealanders are invited to leave the everyday behind and explore new artistic worlds in the fifth Auckland Arts Festival, which takes place 2-20 March, 2011.

Artistic Director David Malacari today launched the programme for the next biennial Festival, a spectacular line-up of theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and special events that brings the world’s best to Auckland over 19 exciting days. Tickets go on public sale on Tuesday 23 November.

“Our Festival programme celebrates the infinite possibilities of the human imagination, the thrill of discovery, and the excitement of travel to exotic places – both in this world, and in the worlds of creativity, ideas and dreams,” says Malacari.

A line-up of exceptional international artists will bring their creative worlds to Auckland next March. Dazzling productions of authentic Rajasthani music, the enchanting Vietnamese Water Puppets, and Taiwanese drumming with martial arts and meditation provide large-scale festival experiences. International music stars Martha Wainwright, Paul Kelly, jazz legend Jack DeJohnette, the virtuoso baroque ensemble, Lautten Compagney, and a special programme of Asian classical works will satisfy music lovers of all persuasions.

One of the Festival’s hottest tickets will be Smoke & Mirrors, starring iOTA, the all-new show from Sydney Festival and the producers of 2007 and 2009 sell-out sensation La Clique. A hit of the international festival circuit, Smoke & Mirrors will be performed in the magnificent Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent.

International theatre includes spectacular crowd-pleaser Gaff Aff, the wonderful La Odisea, an exceptional piece of Bolivian theatre, and acclaimed solo shows from extraordinary Irish actor Conor Lovett and brilliant storyteller-comedian Daniel Kitson. The Festival announced its strongest international dance programme to date, FranceDanse, a showcase of five French contemporary dance works including Maguy Marin’s iconic piece May B, alongside brand new work Salves. Visual art stars Sarah Lucas (of Young British Artists fame) and Mexico’s Héctor Zamora will travel to Auckland to present their work.

“This programme is your passport to an incredible universe of performance, entertainment, arts and ideas,” says Malacari.

“Auckland Arts Festival brings the city together, to share in each other’s stories and ideas, and make cultural connections between artists from New Zealand and all over the world.”

New Zealand work is again at the heart of Auckland Arts Festival, and the 2011 line-up showcases many of New Zealand’s most exciting companies, including a major Festival commission from choreographer Douglas Wright, rapt. Warren Maxwell, SJD, Che Fu, Teremoana Rapley and eight other leading Kiwi music acts perform a remarkable concert of original songs, with lyrics written by Witi Ihimaera.

Red Leap Theatre Company, creators of 2009 Festival hit The Arrival, present their magical new work, Paper Sky – A Love Story, and Leon Radojkovic and Oliver Driver are the creative talents behind multi-dimensional festival extravaganza Live Live Cinema: Carnival of Souls. Massive Company presents a new work Havoc in the Garden, and the dynamic young dancers from Black Grace’s UrbanYOUTHMovement perform Who Are You? The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia stage special Festival concerts, and NZ Opera presents Handel’s Xerxes.

Festival Chief Executive David Inns says Auckland Arts Festival 2011, the first major arts and cultural event of the new Auckland Council, is truly an event for the whole city, with something for all Aucklanders, as well as visitors from around New Zealand and overseas.

“In 2011, an unprecedented number of events are taking place in galleries and performing arts venues across the region,” he says. “From the North Shore, to Waitakere, to South Auckland, Aucklanders can enjoy the arts in their own neighbourhoods, and travel to other parts of the city for Festival experiences.”

“The central city itself will have a stronger than ever Festival presence, with a bigger, better Festival Garden in Aotea Square, and shows, exhibitions and concerts taking place in all the major arts venues, including the Mercury Theatre, an Auckland icon, which we are delighted to be using for the first time in the Festival’s history.”

A popular gathering point during March 2011 will be the Festival Garden, a temporary multi-venue hub constructed in the newly redesigned Aotea Square precinct. During the Festival, the Garden will be home to the Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, the venue for Smoke & Mirrors and other late night entertainment, an outdoor auditorium and miniature lake for the Vietnamese Water Puppets, the Stoneleigh bar - the ideal place to soak up the afternoon sun with friends, or meet for a pre- or post-show drink. The TV3 stage hosts a programme of free music, and the Movies in Parks silver screen will show free flicks on selected days.

The Festival Garden is also the heart of the Festival’s Family Day, on Sunday 13 March, part of the special programming for children and their families that is a popular feature of Auckland Arts Festival. During the week, free lunchtime sessions involving some of the Festival’s most distinguished artists are a popular feature of the public programming, Arts and Minds.

New to Auckland Arts Festival in 2011 is the inaugural White Night event of the Asia Pacific region. White Night is a celebration of arts and culture, where galleries and museums stay open late into the night – often all night – with special programming that transforms the central city into a huge art gallery for art lovers of all ages.

Victoria Carter, Chair of the Auckland Festival Trust, says this Festival reflects Auckland.

“It demonstrates who we are, where we have come from, and our position as the leading Pacific Rim Festival,” says Carter, who has been involved since 2001.

“We couldn't have done it without major funding from the Auckland Council (on behalf of the ratepayers of Auckland), Creative New Zealand and the ASB Community Trust, as well as the contributions of funders, sponsors, supporters, artists and staff.

“Our Gold Sponsors: NZ Post Group, Colenso BBDO and TV3, and the 36 other sponsors and funders are all essential to making the Festival happen.

“We are delighted to welcome back arts companies who have had ongoing relationships with the Festival over the years. More than 50 Kiwi companies have performed in the past four Auckland Festivals, and many have then toured internationally.”

The programme for Auckland Arts Festival 2011 is available from Friday 19 November. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 23 November, after a preferential booking period for Friends of the Festival. For the most up-to-date information, visit

About Auckland Arts Festival

Auckland Arts Festival is the region’s biggest celebration of arts and culture. The biennial Festival, which began in 2003, will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2011 with a dazzling line-up of more than 75 separate events involving over 500 artists – concerts, productions, arts exhibitions, and programmes of seminars, workshops and family activities.

The Festival’s hallmark blend of serious, innovative work and broad appeal events, plus an accessible ticketing policy, ensure that it is a celebration for the whole region. Major Festival events take place all across the city – in West Auckland, The North Shore, and South Auckland and in the central city – as well as site-specific sculptural works that respond to our unique geography.

Since its inception, Auckland Arts Festival has built a reputation for presenting top quality work from around the world, including a spectacular fireworks display by pyrotechnic artists Groupe F, theatrical masterworks by Japanese company Ishinha, and the legendary Robert Lepage’s company Ex Machina, and sell-out cabaret sensation La Clique. The Festival prides itself on developing and presenting the very best in New Zealand work, including the magical 2009 theatre piece, The Arrival, which has become an international success story, The Songmaker’s Chair, by Albert Wendt, and the Michael Parmenter retrospective, Commotion.

Auckland Arts Festival is governed by the Auckland Festival Trust, a board chaired by Victoria Carter. Trustees are Rick Carlyon, Roger MacDonnell, Toni Millar, Jim Moser, Ilona Rodgers, Heather Shotter, Fred Ward, and Richard Waddel. The Festival’s executive team is Artistic Director David Malacari and CEO David Inns.

Sponsorship is crucial to presenting an event of this size. Major Sponsors and Funders for 2011 include Core Funder: Auckland Council; Gold Sponsors: New Zealand Post Group, TV3 and Colenso BBDO; Key Funding Partners: Creative New Zealand, ASB Community Trust, The Lion Foundation, Pub Charity, THE EDGE and Heart of the City; Silver Sponsors: Westpac, Auckland Airport, The Radio Network and Stoneleigh; Bronze Sponsors: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Formica, Wilson Parking, Russell McVeagh and OGGI.

The patron of Auckland Arts Festival is His Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand, The Honorable Sir Anand Satyanand. The 2011 Festival Ambassadors are Petra Bagust, James Griffin, Raybon Kan, Robbie Magasiva, and Te Radar.

David Malacari - Artistic Director
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 worked for the Adelaide Festival for over 12 years, and 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 extensively as a lighting designer and production manager with many companies including The Sydney Dance Company and the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre. David joined the Festival in late 2004, and was Festival Director for three Auckland Festivals; 2005, 2007 and 2009.

David Inns - Chief Executive
David Inns joined the Festival in 2009 when the position of Festival Director was split into two roles; Artistic Director and Chief Executive. David has more than 25 years experience in senior arts administration roles, internationally and within New Zealand. He was Chief Executive of the New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust (2002-2009), Executive Director of the Taranaki Arts Festival (1998-2002) and Technical Director of Assembly Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland, part of the annual Edinburgh Festival (1995-2002). He was part of the team which secured WOMAD for Taranaki and was the event’s Technical Director. David has a background in teaching and a lifelong involvement in and passion for the arts.

Victoria Carter LLB - Chair
Victoria Carter has a law degree and over 25 years experience in communications, business and public relations. As an Auckland City Councilor in 1998, Victoria helped get the Festival restarted, and has been an active Trustee since 2001. An Accredited Director of the Institute of Directors, she is a Director of JUCY Rentals, The Aotea Board of Management, Kidicorp and Auckland Racing Club. Victoria is an enthusiast for the vital contribution a Festival makes, economically and culturally, and in many other ways to create a liveable city.


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