Our Auckland Arts Festival schedule

With Auckland Arts Festival 2018 kicking off this week we thought we’d share our own schedule with you to give you some inspo of what to see from this year’s eclectic line-up.


ASB Waterfront Theatre – 9 – 25 March

Big Brother is watching! From UK theatrical innovators Headlong, Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 came roaring onto the stage in 2013 and since then it has become an international phenomenon. Seen by more than 500,000 people, it has enjoyed three hugely successful West End seasons and is a current hit on Broadway. Now as part of the Auckland Arts Festival, and to mark Auckland Theatre Company’s 25th anniversary, the chilling prescience of Orwell is presented in its New Zealand premiere.

Neil Finn – Out if Silence

Festival Playground – 9 – 10 March

Finn’s acclaimed new album, Out of Silence, was recorded over a four-hour session in his Auckland studio with the help of an extended family of local luminaries and live-streamed to the world.

Auckland Arts Festival is hosting the world premiere of Finn’s live presentation of the album, to be performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with arrangements by Victoria Kelly, and a who’s who of special guests including Sean James Donnelly (SJD), Julia Deans, Liam, Elroy and Harper Finn, Samuel Flynn Scott (The Phoenix Foundation),, EJ Barnes, Reb Fountain, Sandy Mill, James Milne (Lawrence Arabia) and Jimmy Metherell.

Emily King/Tank and the Bangas/Teeks

Festival Playground – 11 March

The festival welcomes back New York native Emily King to help christen the brand new Festival Playground Music Arena. A Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer-songwriter who has collaborated with NAS, Lupe Fiasco, Alicia Keys and John Legend, King channels her roots, pop, soul and indie influences through carefully crafted compositions and lush, polished vocals.

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch New Orleans phenomenon Tank and The Bangas and their swagalicious, gumbo-flavoured grooves for the first time in New Zealand. A viral sensation after winning NPR’s famed Tiny Desk Concert competition, this pint-sized, bright-eyed funk-and-soul group mash together rap, spoken word, R&B and folk into a glorious, infectious and utterly distinctive sound.

Soul singer Teeks is unequivocally one of Aotearoa’s brightest stars. With awards and nominations galore, his debut EP, The Grapefruit Skies, heralds the arrival of a talent whose incredible voice “will give you goosebumps” (Paperboy).

Jack Charles v The Crown

Q Theatre – 15 – 18 March

From Stolen Generation to Koori theatre in the 70s, from Hollywood film sets to Victoria’s state prisons, Jack Charles V The Crown runs the gamut of a life lived to its utmost. A gifted performer, Jack Charles has struggled with homelessness, drug addiction and jail time for much of his career. But this is no simple parable of crime and punishment. Charles’ charm, humour, talent and unswerving optimism transforms his life of hard knocks into an extraordinary tale.

Returning triumphantly to the stage, Charles is not afraid to confront the complexity of his story. In doing so he shines a light on Australia’s history of injustices against Aboriginal people. His vital reflections on race and the punitive state are uplifted by a sense of hope found within the redemptive qualities of storytelling.

The Far Side of the Moon

ASB Theatre – 22 – 25 March

To see a show from Canada’s visionary director Robert Lepage is to experience pure theatrical magic.

His smash hit The Far Side of the Moon is a spellbinding, funny and technically exquisite exploration of both inner and outer space performed as a one-man show. Publicly the race to the moon is consuming Americans and Russians, while privately two estranged brothers are brought together by their mother’s death. Phillipe is a shy philosopher struggling with his thesis about the effect of space travel on popular culture. Andre is a successful TV weatherman and extrovert, who sees the galaxy’s mysteries more pragmatically.

This visually stunning production brings together compelling storytelling, ingenious effects and an atmospheric score from composer Laurie Anderson and is performed by Yves Jacques.

The Naked Samoans Do Magic

The Civic – 22 – 25 March

Celebrating the 20-year anniversary of The Naked Samoans’ stage debut, the incredible performing talent of Bro’’Town and Sione’’s Wedding join forces with legendary creators of The White Guitar, The Conch, to bring you The Naked Samoans Do Magic – a hilarious and spell-binding tale of the rediscovery of lost hope. Follow the white rabbit into a world of mystery and mayhem.

After the death of a mysterious fan, the guys discover they inherit the keys to a rambling dilapidated villa in Ponsonby. With Auckland house prices skyrocketing and money to be made, the boys gather to sell it off and get on with their lives. But the house and who has left it to them are not what they seem.


Q Theatre – 22 – 25 March

In 2004 a group of terrorists stormed a school in Beslan, Russia, taking hundreds of children hostage. Three days later, many were left dead. By capturing this terrible event from the unfiltered point of view of children, playwright and director Carly Wijs has created something unexpected and revelatory: a wryly humorous, poignantly matter-of-fact piece of theatre about how the young deal with trauma, and what leads people to do the unthinkable.

Strikingly physical in their performance, actors Gytha Parmentier and Roman Van Houtven bring a sense of innocence and levity to harrowing circumstances. Extreme situations are explained using expressive movement and absurd comic observation; choreography and conversation work exhilaratingly in tandem; and they cope with the unspeakable by constructing a world with its own creative logic, defined on a starkly minimalist set using only chalk lines, string and balloons.

Whānau Day

Festival Playground

25 March

The last day of the Festival is full of free live music and family-friendly fun. Learn how to make and play your own koauau in our taonga pūoro workshop, listen to Anika Moa as she chop-chops her way through a raucous set of her award-winning songs, and dance into the night with the spectacular Bombay Royale. Join us to say a fond farewell to the Auckland Arts Festival for another year with great food and all the whānau. Lots more to come.

Anika Moa will perform at 12 noon and this will be a NZSLI perfomance.

This is just a taster of the programme so visit aucklandartsfestival.co.nz for full details.