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New Zealand Festival-goers in for rare treat

26 August 2015

New Zealand Festival-goers in for rare treat

The New Zealand Festival’s Artistic Director Shelagh Magadza tonight confirmed the Festival will present a special season of performance and film, honouring the great artist Pina Bausch (1940-2009). The season is set to be staged as part of the 2016 New Zealand Festival (26 Feb – 20 Mar), which is also the 30th anniversary of the event. Shelagh said the Festival had been waiting three decades to bring Bausch’s company Tanztheater Wuppertal to New Zealand.

“Lauded by everyone from Alan Rickman to Wim Wenders to Madonna, Pina Bausch was one of the last century’s great artistic icons. A true original, she inspired a dedicated following of fans from across the world – redefining what dance, theatre and art could be. We’re honoured to be staging the Australasian exclusive of two of her signature works from the 1970s, and to host this extraordinary company in New Zealand for the first time,” Shelagh said.

The company of 36 dancers will perform both Café Müller and The Rite of Spring over four nights. The season is dedicated to the late Sir John Todd, in recognition of the philanthropic contribution he made to the arts in New Zealand. Katrina Todd, Sir John’s daughter and a former dancer herself, has welcomed the partnership. “I am delighted that the Todd Corporation is supporting the New Zealand Festival 2016 by partnering with Café Müller and The Rite of Spring. Tanztheater is a company of such high calibre and rich history, and it will be a fantastic and unique opportunity for New Zealand audiences to see them live. With his love of dance, this is a fitting tribute to Sir John, my father,” Katrina said. The season will include a series of related films, starting with award-winning Wim Wenders documentary Pina which will screen at selected cinemas across the country in November.

The Festival also announced that the core artists involved in the hugely popular light and sound show at the Botanic Garden, Power Plant, will return to Wellington with a new event, the Wellington Airport Season of For the Birds.

For the Birds will take a similar form to Power Plant, which was enjoyed by 23,000 people at the 2014 Festival. It will take place at Otari-Wilton’s Bush Reserve, where a group of artists from England, Wales and New Zealand, led by Jony Easterby, will create around 25 avian-inspired artworks that will illuminate the natural beauty of the reserve.

“The Festival is when people can get together to do something special. The Wellington Airport Season of For the Birds will be the perfect opportunity to have fun with family and friends. As night falls audiences will be enchanted by an array of sights and sounds, as they wander through the reserve’s stunning surroundings,” Shelagh said.

The announcements took place at the launch of the Festival’s new venture for arts lovers, The Culture Club, held at Prefab in Wellington last night. The Culture Club is for anyone who loves art, culture, creativity and ideas. For a monthly donation from just $5, supporters will receive year-round invitations to exciting boutique events in Wellington – talks, debates, performances and parties – and early access to the best seats at all Festival-presented events, including Writers Week, the Wellington Jazz Festival and special one-off events.

Supporters also get exclusive access to specially-created digital content – including fiction, poetry and interviews with artists – and can spark up conversations with each other on the Club’s social media channels. For more information about The Culture Club, go


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