26 Mar 2017
A record number of Southern Lakes locals will participate in the acclaimed Festival of Colour, which kicks off in Wanaka next week.
Known as New Zealand’s ‘best little arts festival’, the seventh biennial event launches on Monday, April 3 with bonfires, storytelling and song on Wanaka’s lakefront. More than 160 locals are either performing, volunteering or working behind the scenes in the 10-day festival, which presents 48 exceptional events showcasing the best in New Zealand and international music, dance, theatre, comedy and visual arts.
Festival of Colour general manager Lindsey Schofield says community support – in the form of both participation and ticket sales – has been strong.
“The Festival of Colour is a fantastic event that has always been embraced by the Wanaka community and this year’s festival is particularly special as we have so much local talent involved,” she says. “The performances that we stage and the high level of local participation is a big part of why so many grant-makers support us – we really tap into the grassroots community. We bring in industry professionals at the top of their game each year to work with locals in a community production, which means that it’s a wonderful opportunity for our local participants and shows are guaranteed to be top class.”
Tickets have already sold out for the two Wanaka performances of local writer Annabel Wilson’s play, No Science to Goodbye, however there are still tickets available for the Glenorchy performance on April 7. Wilson says she is looking forward to her play’s world premiere next week.
“After a successful showing of moments from the piece at Rippon Hall last year, I'm excited to share the full-length work with my community,” she says. “It's a local story, the idea for which first came to me five years ago while working on my Masters in Creative Writing, via distance learning. For me, it's important the show has its premiere in the place that inspired it.”
Top Southern Lakes creatives also feature in The Blue Moments Project, a collaboration between Wanaka composer Angela Mote-Andrews, writer Laura Williamson and Queenstown singer Karen Hattaway with local musicians Dominic Stayne, Jeff Sinnott and Graeme Perkins.
Luggate-based Williamson also appears in the Aspiring Conversations series discussing cycling and mountain biking with former champion mountain biker Scarlett Hagen. Scarlett is a late addition to the programme, replacing Sir Lloyd Geering who is now unable to attend the Festival. Williamson says she is excited to be part of the 2017 programme after attending every festival thus far.
“The Blue Moments Project has been several years in the making and it’s going to be a pleasure to have the premiere in Wanaka at the Festival of Colour, a highlight of the arts calendar in this area,” she says. “That I'm also getting the chance to talk about mountain biking is a testament to the range of offerings at the festival – poetry, sports, jazz, comedy, it's all there. It turns Wanaka into New York for a few days, but with better views.”
Up to 80 local singers, aged between eight and 80, will be performing in Sing It To My Face, a revealing intergenerational sing-off in which four choirs express how they really feel about today’s society, on Tuesday, April 4.
As well as performances by Southern Lakes locals, the Festival of Colour presents a range of top New Zealand and international acts. Features of the programme include New York-based cabaret singer Lady Rizo, Edinburgh Festival Fringe winner Sonya Kelly in her funny and tender play How to Keep an Alien!, the worldwide smash hit show Every Brilliant Thing, Kiwi favourites Hudson & Halls Live!, country singer Tami Neilson and electronica legend Paddy Free. The 35-strong Christchurch Symphony Orchestra will also perform in a one-off show at the Lake Wanaka Centre on Sunday, April 8.
As part of the popular Aspiring Conversations series, scientist Siouxsie Wiles considers the future of antibiotics, photographer Joe Michael and scientist Tim Naish discuss Antarctica, and former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and historian Vincent O’Malley remember the Waikato War which shaped New Zealand. An additional session entitled ‘Innovation & Disruption’ features London-based co-founder of tech start-up Decoded, Kathryn Parsons, and managing director of Google Australia Jason Pellegrino. Chaired by RNZ’s Lynn Freeman, the pair will discuss the constantly changing technological landscape and how it is changing the world we live and work in.
The full Festival of Colour programme is available at www.festivalofcolour.co.nz. Tickets can be purchased via the website or by calling 022 4 TIX NOW (022 4 849 669).