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Wednesday, 16 January 2019 07:56 pm

Festival to drum up an audience in Civic Square

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ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Shelagh Magadza. IMAGE: courtesy of NZ Festival 2014.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Shelagh Magadza. IMAGE: courtesy of NZ Festival 2014.

HUNDREDS of performers will entertain a massive free party at Civic Square on February 21 to launch the New Zealand Festival 2014.

Strike Percussion and kiwi band Kora will be joined by 200 young drummers from around the country and hundreds of singers from community choirs.

This year’s programme has been put together by new Artistic Director Shelagh Magadza, who directed the Perth International Arts Festival from 2008-2011.

Ms Magadza says the hardest part is the logistics, but it is also satisfying seeing it all come together in the end.

The biennial event runs through until March 16 and features about 300 experiences showcasing theatre, dance, music, film, literature and exhibitions at venues all over Wellington.

“The arts can lead change within society as well as bringing people enjoyment and a sense of shared experience,” says Ms Magadza.

She believes the city is still the best place for the event despite a report suggesting Wellington may be losing it’s title of arts capital to Auckland.

“In Wellington we are unique because of our compact environment” she says.

“We have been going for 28 years and have a great reputation to attract some of the world’s best performers”.

Executive director Sue Paterson agrees, saying it has so many great venues, bars and restaurants all within walking distance of each other.

“Wellingtonians themselves are very loyal supporters of the Festival and welcome the world to our Capital. Overseas artists often comment that they love coming to our city because of the warm welcome they get from locals,” says Ms Paterson.

The New Zealand Festival began in 1986 and much like today, it showcased hundreds of acts in the various categories along with a writers week segment.

“Keri Hulme had just won the Man Booker prize for The Bone People, and was a major hit at the first Festival in 1986, just as our 2013 Booker prize winner Eleanor Catton is sure to be at Writers Week in 2014,” says Ms Paterson.

This year festival audiences can look forward to performances such as the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular, the flamboyant Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a quirky contemorary cirus performance and a light and sound experience called Power Plant at the Botanic Garden.

You can check out the full line-up by visiting the New Zealand Festival website.

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is a journalism student at Whitireia Polytechnic. She enjoys reading, cuddling cats and long romantic walks to the fridge.
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