02 Nov 2011
The 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival brings 24 extraordinary days of arts events to Wellington. With more than 300 incredible performances to savour, the Festival takes audiences from fairy tales to opera, from Shakespeare to salsa, from the Sahara Desert to a circus tent – and beyond.
One of the world’s great festival cities, around 300,000 festival-goers will converge on Wellington to enjoy the best music, theatre, dance, literature and visual arts from New Zealand and the world.
Wellington’s waterfront will be transformed for 2012, with a new Festival hub on the waterfront. Michel Tuffery’s vibrant multi-media artwork First Contact 2012 will turn Te Papa into a huge moving canvas every night at dusk; the Ronaldo circus dynasty’s vintage Big Top will be pitched on the foreshore; a giant acrobatic spectacle will bring crowds to Waitangi Park and our home-grown Spiegeltent, the TelstraClear Festival Club, will be set right in the heart of the action in Odlin’s Plaza, with acts including the Topp Twins and Finnish accordion rock star Kimmo Pohjonen.
“I am excited to launch the 2012 Festival programme,’’ says Artistic Director Lissa Twomey. “The 2012 Festival is full of exuberance, energy and physicality with performances to stir the heart and stimulate the senses. We welcome Festival favourites, including the National Theatre of Scotland with Beautiful Burnout (their Black Watch was a hit of the 2008 Festival). Renowned choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Sutra) returns with his dazzling new work TeZukA, inspired by Japanese comic books. James Thiérrée (The Junebug Symphony, Bright Abyss) astounds in Raoul and Britain’s Kneehigh theatre company brings their delightful fairy tale, The Wild Bride. Transporting and fun – the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival will bring audacious arts to Aoteoroa.’’
“The New Zealand work for 2012 is distinctively of and from Aotearoa,’’ Ms Twomey says. “The stand-out programme of Māori and Pacific Island work embraces the past while forging new and exciting futures. We are proud to present a brand-new opera Hōhepa, with NBR New Zealand Opera; other highlights include Lemi Ponifasio’s extraordinary dance work, Birds with Skymirrors; Patricia Grace’s award-winning novel Tu, brought to the stage by Hone Kouka, and The Conch’s Masi, a delightful Wellington cross-cultural love story, featuring special effects by Paul Kieve, magic adviser to the Harry Potter movies.”
There are nine world premieres for 2012. Also new are the Town Hall Gigs, including US indie sensations Bon Iver and a co-production with the Sydney Festival featuring five indigenous divas. Experience Shakespeare five ways with the Bard Wired series: performances include the UK’s acclaimed all-male Shakespeare company, Propeller. A Te Reo version of Troilus and Cressida premieres at the Festival before its season at London’s Globe Theatre. In an Irish Hamlet, a Great Dane threatens to steal the sh ow. Downstage Solos celebrate this most demanding of art forms, including Taki Rua’s Michael James Manaia and Germany’s anti-gravity phenomenon, Leo.
Writers and Readers Week brings leading commentators and writers to Wellington from 9-14 March. Writer and academic Germaine Greer, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of our time; Australian environmentalist, scientist and author Tim Flannery; three-time Pulitzer-Prize winning author Thomas Friedman; Man Booker Prize-winner Alan Hollinghurst;Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø and New Zealand’s own Margaret Mahy are among the impressive international and national line-up.
Tickets for most shows start at $38-$48 and there are many free events and great value packages.
“The 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival offers everything from Cantina, a sultry late-night circus for grown-ups, to White, an utterly charming theatre experience for the very young,’’ Ms Twomey says.
The 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival highlights include:
- The UK’s dynamic young choreographer Hofesh Shechter with Political Mother.
- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s TeZukA, inspired by legendary Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka. Cherkaoui’s Sutra was a highlight of the 2010 Festival.
- One of New Zealand’s greatest living artists, Lemi Ponifasio and his company, Mau, with his provocative new dance work, Birds with Skymirrors.
- Acclaimed British all-male Shakespeare company, Propeller, presents two productions, Henry V and The Winter’s Tale.
- French artiste extraordinaire James Thiérrée (The Junebug Symphony, Bright Abyss) returns to the Festival with Raoul.
- Innovative UK company Kneehigh’s dark and visceral fairy tale, The Wild Bride.
- A rarely performed Stravinsky double bill, Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with The Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus of the NBR New Zealand Opera. Led by celebrated young conductor, Joana Carneiro, with soloists including Margaret Medlyn and Stuart Skelton.
- The Barefoot Divas, five indigenous women performers, including Whirimako Black and Maisey Rika, perform their songs and tell their stories for Walk a Mile in My Shoes.
- North African band Tinariwen with their hypnotic brand of ‘desert blues’.
- One of the world’s greatest period ensembles, Britain’s The Sixteen perform in New Zealand for the first time, with their period-instrument orchestra.
Writers and Readers Week (9-14 March):
Feminist and academic Germaine Greer; Australian scientist and environmentalist Tim Flannery; three-times Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas Friedman; British biographer Selina Hastings; Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø and Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Alan Hollinghurst. The full Writers and Readers Week programme will be announced on 26 January, 2012.
Contemporary New Zealand sculpture at City Gallery; the 2012 Adam Portraiture Award at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery and internationally acclaimed Mexican artist, Teresa Margolles, at the Dowse Art Museum.