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2013 Christchurch Arts Festival Opens This Week


2013 Christchurch Arts Festival Opens This Week

Christchurch Arts Festival opens this week with a theatrical world premiere, a major exhibition on the impact of the earthquakes on people’s lives, a display of thousands of flags expressing the hopes and dreams of local children, plus sexy cabaret and opera for children.

The Festival runs from Thursday 22 August to Sunday 22 September with more than 50 shows and events across the five weekends.

The opening weekend features the opening of Gifted, a new play around the relationship between two of New Zealand’s greatest literary figures – Frank Sargeson and Janet Frame; CANTINA, described as “the dark chocolate of cabaret”, and Scottish Opera’s SensoryO for toddlers.

Two major outdoor visual arts exhibitions also open on Thursday 22 August – Fly Me Up To Where You Are features 4000 coloured flags created by Christchurch schoolchildren and expressing their hopes and dreams for the future; and Thx 4 The Memories which records images and words from people living in the red-zoned Avonside Loop.

Festival Director Philip Tremewan said ticket sales for the Festival are extremely good. “We are very happy. Tickets are flying out the door and we’re urging people to be quick or risk missing out.”

Mr Tremewan pointed out that in 2011, when the Festival spanned eight weekends and was mounted just six months following the devastating February earthquake, more than 50 shows sold out “and we know there were people who were disappointed because they couldn’t get tickets”.

The Festival this year spans a wide range of genres – music, dance, theatre, visual arts, classical music, comedy, cabaret, circus and a ‘Festival of Ideas’ all rub up against each other offering something to cater for all tastes.

Highlights include three world premieres – the play Gifted; Between Zero and One, a collaboration between New Zealand composer John Psathas, Strike Percussion and theatre director Philippa Campbell; and a new work written by Mike Nock for the Mike Nock Trio and NZTrio.

“In 2011 we found that people wanted some colour and light in their lives following a very difficult time in the city. Now in 2013 we have built the Festival further and have been able to increase the international component.”

Mr Tremewan added that some performances and exhibitions remember the earthquakes, and in particular, he pointed to the “hauntingly beautiful” dance work Fault Lines, developed by a New Zealand creative team and performed by Leshan Dance Company from southern China.

Mr Tremewan said that venue availability is still challenging in the city, but a range of solutions have been found, utilising school auditoriums, the rugby club rooms, a city bar, a hotel room and assembling the Fletcher Building Festival Club in the Arts Centre precinct. “We’re looking forward to an exciting five weeks in some exciting new venues.”

Christchurch Arts Festival runs from 22 August to 22 September. For more information and booking details, visit


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