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Nelson Arts Festival 2011

Nelson Arts Festival 2011

When yellow things start appearing you know Spring is not far off. We don’t just mean daffs – this year’s Nelson Arts Festival imagery comes in yellow with a pop art theme that lines up with the cutting edge programme and with the street art that is happening around town alongside the Banksy Oi You! show – read more on this below.

The programme is launched on Friday night 5 August and tickets will be on sale from Everyman and online from Saturday. Be in to get the early bird prices, or better still join up as a Festival Friend and make savings of up to $15 per ticket.

The festival starts on 7 October with a Kiwi Pacifica themed Masked Parade – make this the year you get your family, friends or workmates together and JOIN IN.

Pick up a programme around town this weekend or wait ‘til Saturday when the site goes live and book online at

Director’s Pick

Sophie Kelly now has top job in the Festival Crew, taking over from the wonderful Annabel Norman who is leading a quieter life, going for walks and chasing enlightenment last we heard. Sophie is really really looking forward to having The Loons back in town.

“The marvellous Loons have triumphed over rubble strewn Lyttelton to bring us Berlin Burlesque. As people who saw The Butler will know, the Loons have fabulous acrobatic and theatre skills and are not afraid to push the boundaries! We are staging this show in the Theatre Royal, which will be specially set up with a catwalk just like the cabarets of 1920s’ Berlin. Joe Bennett wrote the script, the Loons have perfected the action – all it needs is you in the front row. Berlin Burlesque opens the festival with a bang on Thursday 6 October. Be there and be part of the buzz.”

Banksy in Nelson

Rugby visitors to Nelson will have more to view than Italy playing the Russians. News is out about the Oi You! exhibition featuring 23 works by the elusive Banksy. When George Shaw moved to Nelson from the UK in 2009, he brought his 23 Banksy limited edition prints and originals with him. These make up the core of Oi You! (Founders Park September 23-October 24), plus work by Faile, Antony Micallef and Os Gemeos. Alongside these will be an installation by Auckland’s Cut Collective, and the top works from the nationwide Oi You! competition. We’re betting the UK media in town for the rugger are going to find this one a real eye-popper. So far south yet so far out!

Introducing the Festival Tent

Founders is going to be humming with Oi You! at the Energy Centre and music (lots of it free) and writers’ talks at the Granary Festival Café, so to create space for all the shows we have on offer we are creating The Festival Tent, a versatile venue with theatre or cabaret seating for 350. You won’t want to miss seeing a show in this fabulous 17-night-only venue, especially when our talented Mistress of Soft Furnishings, Cynthia Lorrian has woven her décor magic.

On the road

Where we bring you review notices from outta town and get the critics’ top picks on what we have in store. Here’s what the Otago Daily Times had to say when Rita and Douglas (about Rita Angus and Douglas Lilburn) premiered earlier this year at Wanaka’s Festival of Colour.

“Actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand, pianist Michael Houstoun and writer Dave Armstrong have excelled themselves in creating riveting drama with little more than a handful of letters and a piano. Ward-Lealand rises magnificently to the challenge of bringing life to the character and mannerisms of a mysterious woman who tended to keep herself to herself. Drawing heavily on what little we know of Angus, Ward-Lealand gives us a deeply moving portrayal, switching emotions from occasional warmth and light-heartedness to frustration, cold fury and depressed despair. Angus' stern self-portraits may be familiar. Rita and Douglas, directed by Conrad Newport, reveals much, much more.”

We are staging Rita & Douglas at the Theatre Royal on Sun 16 Oct and Mon 17 Oct at 7.30pm. Don’t miss it, this show has already sold out at the Christchurch Arts Festival.

The Nelson Arts Festival is produced by the Nelson City Council as a celebration for locals and an attraction for visitors. This year's arts festival is part of the Game On Festival, which showcases the region to our rugby visitors.


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