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Full Programme Revealed for 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival

Full Programme Revealed for 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival

Music * Dance * Theatre * Classical Music * Opera * Cabaret * Circus * Comedy * Magic * Ideas * Visual Arts

27 August - 20 September 2015

The full programme for the 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival has been released featuring 50 events spread across four weeks from 27 August to 20 September.

Four top shows for the Festival, and the visual arts experience Exxopolis, were announced in May, and tonight the rest of the programme was unveiled with artists coming to Christchurch from Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the United States of America and Canada, along with the best New Zealand shows on offer.

Festival Director Craig Cooper said this year the Festival is celebrating and embracing Christchurch’s new energy and profile and emphasising the rebirth that is happening.

“We’ve really looked to present a Festival with a huge amount of variety, so we’ve got opera and classical music, sitting alongside physical theatre, contemporary music, puppets, new theatre work, comedy and a thrilling magic spectacular.

“And we’re returning to the centre of the city and some of our most beloved venues including The Arts Centre and the glorious Isaac Theatre Royal.”

The 2015 Festival will begin with an opening event with Worcester Boulevard being transformed into a visual feast of fire, warmth and light and involving Christchurch community groups and the revealing of Ngāi Tahu artist Priscilla Cowie’s sculpture Rama Tuna.

“When I took on the role of Festival Director last year, one of the first things I wanted to do was put together a noutdoor Festival Opening event involving the community. It’s a celebration marking the start of four weeks of fabulous fun and fantastic events. The event is in response to Priscilla Cowie’s sculptural installation Rama Tuna and eels feature.”

Visual arts feature in three installations in the Festival – Priscilla Cowie’s Rama Tuna which honours the long-finned eel ‘Tuna’; the interactive memorial Still which explores the duality of war: the destruction of lives and th construction of a collective future and is presented simultaneously in Auckland and Poitiers, France; and the stunning luminarium Exxopolis which comes to Christchurch thanks to McConnell Dowell and will transform Cathedral Square into a wonderland – a spectacular world of saturated colour and beauty.

Three world premieres feature in the 2015 Festival – already announced is That Bloody Woman, the new musical theatre piece by Christchurch’s Luke Di Somma and Greg Cooper; writer Joe Bennett’sTrapped; and Christchurch’s platinum-selling hip hop artist Scribe, together with his brother Matthias and father John, features in the true story of their family, the Luafutus, in The White Guitar.

Christchurch performers figure strongly in the programme – comedienne Cal Wilson returns to her hometown, while Victor Rodger’s hit show Black Faggot has its Christchurch debut, favourite Christchurch actor Mark Hadlow’s solo show MAMIL: Middle Aged Man in Lycra is at The Court Theatre, and founding Court Jester Simon Peacock returns to direct The Court Jesters in Hamlet: The Video Game (The Stage Show).

A special family weekend features three children’s shows – Australia’s The Listies star in 6D (Twice as Good as 3D), an irreverent and cheeky kids sketch show; the multi-sensory The Man Who Planted Treesfrom Scotland, and New Zealand’s Duck, Death and the Tulip – awarded the Outstanding Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014.

The Arts Centre is the Festival hub with The Gym becoming the Fletcher Construction Festival Studio and the return of the Spiegeltent as the TVNZ Festival Club.

Canada’s internationally acclaimed puppeteer Ronnie Burkett brings his 40 marionettes to the city for his seat-of-the-pants R16 show The Daisy Theatre performing at the Fletcher Construction Festival Studio at the Arts Centre.

The TVNZ Festival Club will be the home for the Festival’s music line-up. New York cabaret sensation Lady Rizo has already been announced and one show is already sold out. Joining her for the club line-up is the homegrown hit music theatre show Daffodils, a story told through a soundtrack of favourite New Zealand pop/rock; Australia’s Michael Griffiths brings two shows channeling pop stars Madonna and Annie Lennox; while Scottish guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker and his band take audiences into a world of musical styles cultures and traditions.

Christchurch favourites Delaney Davidson and Naomi Ferguson are back with Salon Kitty, and the Modern Maori Quartet brings a fresh take on classic Māori showbands for a night of waiata, humour and charm. Brazilian rhythms light up the night with Alda Rezende performing The Tom Jobim Songbook, plus there’s Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabulous), Tim Finn’s White Cloud, a trio of southern musicians performing Our Songs of the South, and singer-songwriters Julia Deans and Devin Abrams open the world on the process of creating in Process.

The Isaac Theatre Royal plays host to music supergroup Band of Magicians in the last week of the Festival, but before that there’s one night only of Live Live Cinema’s Little Shop of Horrors – with four actor/musicians voicing the characters, performing a new soundtrack and creating every sound effect while the original 1960 film screens behind them. The Royal New Zealand Ballet performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and New Zealand opera star Teddy Tahu Rhodes joins well-known performer Jennifer Ward-Lealand, together with Australian soprano Greta Bradman and tenor David Hobson in From Broadway to La Scala.

The Festival is also using the Gloucester Room space in the Isaac Theatre Royal with theatre showsSwing from Ireland and Hiraeth from Wales, along with New Zealand’s own internationally acclaimed Gaulier-trained clown Trygve Wakenshaw with his show Kraken – voted by London’s Time Out as the 'Number One Comedy Show of 2014'.

Footnote Dance Company brings 30 Forward – a retrospective of works over the past 30 years together with a new work from Malia Johnston, and Australia’s Gravity & Other Myths pushes the physical limits in A Simple Space.

New Zealand Opera brings operatic royalty Jud Arthur and Taryn Fiebig for one special night only inLove Divine – Jud received his operatic break in Christchurch and is looking forward to returning to perform with his wife in a show from Baroque to modern musical theatre.

The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra performs The Romantics with a programme including Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin with Kristian Winther as the soloist; while Chamber Music New Zealand concerts feature CliK the ensemble – pianist John Chen, violinist Natalie Lin and cellist Edward King, and Michael Houstoun: Inspired by Bach.

Alongside this packed programme of theatre, cabaret, circus, music and dance sits a two-day programme of ideas. In association with WORD Christchurch, Shifting Points of View presents new ways of looking at the world: for the curious and inquisitive with an exciting line up of local and international writers and commentators including Korean journalist Suki Kim, writer and comunicator Jesse Bering, philosopher Peter Singer and bestselling UK author Sarah Walters, alongside New Zealand writers Patricia Grace, Fiona Farrell, Anna Smaill and Hamish Clayton.

Christchurch Arts Festival takes place from 27 August to 20 September 2015 with tickets on public sale from Monday 22 June. Find out more and book tickets at

Christchurch Arts Festival acknowledges the support of Cornerstone Partners: McConnell Dowell, Ngāi Tahu, TVNZ, Fletcher Construction; and Major Funders: Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand and The Canterbury Community Trust


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