Auckland Arts Festival 2016

The world will be delivered to Auckland’s doorstep in March 2016 in an exceptional line-up of theatre, dance, music, circus and cabaret announced by Auckland Arts Festival today.

The festival will run from 2 – 20 March which will see Auckland play host to hundreds of artists and companies from around the globe.

Events will get off to a sizzling start when French fire masters Carabosse ignite thousands of flames and set the lower slopes of Auckland Domain alight with the magical Fire Garden.

Another New Zealand first, The James Plays make their Festival debut, bringing to life the turbulent 15th century reigns of James I, James II and James III of Scotland.

Also a must-see is m¡longa, the unique collaboration between tango superstar Nelida Rodriguez de Aure and genius choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui( Babel).

Symphonic folk on a grand scale will be unleashed in the sweet surroundings of The Civic when superlative singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens performs as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2016. Another festival favourite, the American singer-songwriter John Grant makes his New Zealand debut with his Icelandic band pumping out new wave, electronic, industrial rock and pastoral chamber-pop that really gets at your inner Viking.

Making its very first staging in Aotearoa, John Adams’ modern masterpiece, Nixon in China brings together a stunning cast in a Festival co-production with Auckland Philharmonia and New Zealand Opera. The truly international cast from China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand – including Simon O’Neill and Madeline Pierard –  are directed by newly announced Arts Laureate Sara Brodie (Don Giovanni).

Diversity is at the heart of the 2016 Festival programme, and audiences can cross cultures without ever leaving Auckland. Neil Ieremia’s and Swee Boon Kuik’s Changes , performed by Black Grace, sees two cultures co-exist and create side-by-side, while Nina Nawalowalo’s Marama is a beautiful, breathtaking visual theatre piece told by women of the south Pacific.

The concept of circus takes on new meanings at Auckland Arts Festival 2016. 360 ALLSTARS replaces acrobats with breakdancers, jugglers with a basketball freestyler and unicycles with a world champion BMX flatlander, to connect the street with the elite, delivering a radical urban circus.

No festival is complete without a classic big top however, and at The New Zealand Herald Festival Garden  you’ll find the Circus Ronaldo Big Top Tent, home to the topsy-turvy pizza-flipped word of La Cucina dell’arte, where sixth generation Belgian circus brothers, Danny and David Ronaldo, serve up hearty helpings of slapstick, vaudeville and traditional commedia.

Kitty corner to the Big Top  and fresh from sell-out seasons in Berlin, New York and Sydney, the world premiere of Meow Meow’s ‘kamikaze cabaret’ Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid, takes top billing at the spectacular Spiegeltent, home to a hugely diverse and unique line-up of top international and local musicians and performers.

Hot on the heels of last festival’s sell-out Lady Sings the Blues, Tami Neilson, Bella Kalolo and Anna Coddington pay tribute to the iconic Dusty Springfield in Dust to Dusky while other Spiegeltent highlights include Grammy-nominated New Yorker, Emily King, the brilliant and batty Shoogleniftyand the homegrown talents of Don McGlashan and Shayne Carter. Plus a drag diva or two!

Back by popular demand, RAW returns in 2016 with  audience sessions of theatrical projects handpicked and presented at different stages of development:  Scotty Morrison and Inside Out Production’s Hinemoa and Tutanekai, the Jason Te Kare-directed Cell Fish; and rehearsed readings of Silo Theatre’s Black Tree Bridge by Chye-Ling Huang, and Ahi Karunaharan’s sweeping saga TEA.

The visual arts’ night of nights – the iconic White Night – will see one Saturday evening lit up until midnight by free exhibitions and visual arts installations across Auckland which is just one part of the Festival’s wide-ranging visual arts.

Finally the Festival’s World Premiere Season, featuring a roll-call of New Zealand artists, including Te Pō –a surreal theatrical work by Carl Bland and starring Carl, George Henare and Andrew Grainger, and punctuated by songs of Māori show bands; the one act operaBrass Poppies, by Ross Harris and Vincent O’Sullivan (Requiem for the Fallen); and John Psathas’ No Man’s Land – an unprecedented large scale work incorporating 150 musicians from around the globe, performing both live and virtually.

Find the full programme here.