01 Oct 2015
The countdown is on with only four weeks to go until the inaugural Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival kicks off. Beginning on the 27th of October, the festival will showcase some of the best cultural acts from New Zealand and further afield.
“Hawke’s Bay is long overdue to host an arts festival,” says Festival Director Pitsch Leiser. “This is a fantastic region with so much on offer but we have been lacking a truly international celebration of performance art.” The inaugural event offers 13 days of music, dance, theatre, comedy and circus, along with an inspiring series of literary events hosted by some of New Zealand’s best-loved authors. “With a packed programme of events that caters to all tastes, arts lovers won’t be disappointed”, says Mr Leiser. “We’ve deliberately programmed an eclectic blend of big names, emerging acts and fringe performances.”
As predicted, tickets are selling strongly for some of the headline acts including Knee Deep from Australia’s renowned Casus circus. Homegrown acts such as The Modern Maori Quartet and Pass the Gat featuring a trio of New Zealand’s most talented singer-songwriters are also selling strongly.
Comedy is proving to be a popular choice with ticket sales to Mark Hadlow’s MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra) and Michele A’Court’s Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter proving the enduring popularity of these household names.
Children’s theatre and dance feature strongly in the festival line-up, ensuring this is a truly family-friendly festival, says Mr Leiser. “For the very young, we have Caterpillars, which won Best Costume and Best of Theatre at the 2015 Auckland Fringe, and Dirt and other Delicious Ingredients, a magical performance combining dance, music and theatre. Slightly older children will love Beards! Beards! Beards!, awarded Best Theatre at the 2015 Dunedin Fringe Festival, and families of all ages will be captivated by the hilarious Double Derelicts which combines hip-hop, improvisation, clowning and good old-fashioned fun.”
Hidden gems for the festival include the critically-acclaimed Australian flamenco troupe, Arte Kanela, and sultry Brazilian-born songstress Alda Rezende performing highlights from The Tom Jobim Songbook. Theatre picks include several fringe offerings with quirky titles such as Banging Cymbal Clanging Gong and On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me as Her Young Lover. “These are the sorts of shows that arts festivals are made of,” says Mr Leiser. “I hope people are willing to step outside of their normal comfort zones and experience some of the edgier shows on offer.”
Playing host to the inaugural Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival is The Famous Spiegeltent, an art deco tent of mirrors, which will be erected in centre of Havelock North, chosen for its close proximity to cafes, restaurants and boutique accommodation. “It’s fitting that our first festival is being housed in such a magnificent setting,” says Mr Leiser. “The Famous Spiegeltent is a truly spectacular venue – it’s virtually an act in itself!”
For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.hbaf.co.nz