The Learning Network is now live

Home  /  Stories  / 

Auckland Arts Festival 2011

23 Jul 2010
The infinite possibilities of the universe, the thrill of discovery, and the excitement of travel

Aucklanders are invited to leave the everyday behind and be transported to rich new artistic worlds with the next Auckland Arts Festival, which takes place 2-20 March, 2011.

Aucklanders are invited to leave the everyday behind and be transported to rich new artistic worlds with the next Auckland Arts Festival, which takes place 2-20 March, 2011.

The infinite possibilities of the universe, the thrill of discovery, and the excitement of travel to exotic worlds are metaphors for the fifth Auckland Arts Festival, says Artistic Director David Malacari, who this week unveiled five highlights of the upcoming Festival.

“Our Festival progamme celebrates the limitless universe of the human imagination - of creativity, ideas and dreams,” says Malacari.

“Like all world-class Festivals, our goal is to inspire people to enlarge their horizons, visit captivating new creative worlds, and have exhilarating cultural experiences.”

The biennial Festival, which began in 2003, will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2011 and will be the first major arts and culture event of the Auckland Supercity. The Festival is a celebration of arts and culture for the entire region.

“The Auckland Arts Festival is the City’s only multi-arts event and its only major arts festival,” Malacari says.  “Each Festival we build a stronger presence across greater Auckland and increase our impact in the central city.”

The five works announced span four continents, and reflect the range of serious, innovative work and broad appeal events that make the Festival a celebratory 19-day party – a blend organisers say is tailored to Aucklanders’ desire to be challenged as well as entertained.

Two significant works from India and Vietnam will bring the energy and colour of traditional music and performance to Auckland, with a 21st Century twist.   Described as a theatrical spectacle and a joyous, musical feast, The Manganiyar Seduction is a dazzling concert of Rajasthani music presented in a visually seductive set inspired by Amsterdam’s red light district and the Hawa Mahal or ‘Palace of the Winds’ in Jaipur.

The Thang Long Troupe will bring the enchanting thousand-year-old art form of Vietnamese Water Puppetry from the paddy fields of Red River Delta to a temporary, manmade pond in the new Aotea Square. Their show, a magical and exhilarating experience for both adults and children, headlines the Festival’s family programme.

La Odisea (The Odyssey) is a theatrical treat from Bolivia’s Teatro de los Andes.  Cinematic in scope, La Odisea is a wonderful retelling of Homer’s Odyssey in which Ulysses is a Latino immigrant abroad, seeking to return to his family in Bolivia.  Astonishing performances, live music and song, and dynamic staging are hallmarks of this captivating South American production.

Malacari announced a major Festival commission, a new dance work from choreographer Douglas Wright, one of this country’s most important artists.  Wright describes rapt – his 11th full-length - as a work that “celebrates the dark radiant energies of the body [with] haunting unforgettable dances of serenity and power.”  rapt will be performed on the Civic stage by a company that features many of New Zealand’s best international dancers.

Classical music is an important strand of the Auckland Arts Festival programme, and 2011 brings Aucklanders a rare opportunity to hear Baroque music played by one of the world’s outstanding period ensembles, The Lautten Compagney.  The Berlin-based Baroque ensemble will present two programmes; The Chirping of the Nightingale, based on John Playford’s English Dancing Master, and Handel with Care, a concert of the timeless music of George Frederic Handel.

Malacari also announced the return in 2011 of Auckland favourite The Famous Spiegeltent, which will be situated in The Festival Garden, a reinvented Festival hub designed to make the most of the new-look Aotea Square precinct.

The Festival Garden will be a dynamic environment with its own performance spaces – including the Famous Spiegeltent, the Vietnamese Water Puppets’ pond, cafes and bars.  Programming for the Spiegeltent and Garden will be announced in November.

The rest of the 2011 Festival programme - an estimated 40 separate productions involving more than 500 artists, visual arts exhibitions, seminars, workshops and family activities – will be finalised in the coming weeks.  The full programme will be launched in November, when tickets sales will open.

The Auckland Arts Festival enjoys major support from New Zealand Post, Colenso  BBDO, Creative NZ, ASB Community Trust and the Ratepayers of Auckland

The 2011 Auckland Arts Festival (2-20 March) will be Auckland’s fifth Arts Festival, a biennial event that has become a firmly established part of the Australasian and International arts and cultural calendar.  The Festival will again present outstanding work from many of New Zealand’s foremost artists, and international work never before seen in this country, across theatre, music, dance and the visual arts.   An exciting line-up of music and cabaret centred around the Festival Garden, a strong education programme and an array of free events for the whole family, mean that there will be something for everyone to enjoy .

Over the past four festivals, the Auckland Arts Festival has built a reputation for presenting top quality work from around the world, which would otherwise not be seen in Auckland.  Highlights include the marvellous 2007 display from pyrotechnic artists Group F, the 2009 theatrical masterworks by Japanese company Ishinha, and the legendary Robert Lepage’s company Ex Machina, sell-out cabaret sensations La Clique in both 2007 and 2009, and many more.

The Festival prides itself on developing and presenting the very best in New Zealand work.   At the 2009 Festival, Aucklanders were captivated by local commissions like Sleep/Wake, The Kreutzer, and The Arrival, which has become an international success story, playing at Arts Festivals in Wellington, Hong Kong, and Australia.

The 2011 Festival will be the first major arts and culture event of the new Supercity. The event’s official title has become The Auckland Arts Festival, a small but significant name change that clearly defines the Festival’s position as the region’s pre-eminent multi-arts event.

Key People

Auckland Festival Board:

Rick Carlyon, Victoria Carter, Roger King, Roger MacDonnell, Toni Millar, Jim Moser, Ilona Rodgers, Heather Shotter, Fred Ward, and Richard Waddel.

Artistic Director:  David Malacari

David Malacari has over 30 years experience in the cultural sector in various roles with some of the region’s leading theatre and dance companies.  David previously worked for the Adelaide Festival for over 12 years, and has directed and produced festivals of Australian performing arts in India, New Horizons (1996), and London, Heads Up (2000). He has written work for cabaret, presented film and book reviews, produced and directed corporate documentaries, and toured the world as a lighting designer and production manager with many companies including The Sydney Dance Company.  David joined the Auckland Festival in late 2004, and was Festival Director for three Auckland Festivals; 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Chief Executive:  David Inns

David Inns joined Auckland Arts Festival in 2009 when the position of Festival Director was split into two roles; Artistic Director and Chief Executive.  David has more than 25 years experience in senior arts administration roles, internationally and within New Zealand.  He was Chief Executive of the New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust (2002-2009), Executive Director of the Taranaki Arts Festival (1998-2002) and Technical Director of Assembly Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland, part of the annual Edinburgh Festival (1995-2002). He was part of the team which secured WOMAD for Taranaki and was the event’s Technical Director.  David has a background in teaching and a lifelong involvement in and passion for the arts.

Photo by John McDermott.