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CALENDAR 2 - 20 MARCH 2011

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Festival Milestones

1948 - 1982
Auckland was the first city in the Asia Pacific to have a large festival.

Almost 20 years later, Auckland City Council reinvented the festival, based on the premise that Auckland is a rich, dynamic, diverse, important city. Auckland City Council voted to support the establishment of a unique arts and cultural festival for Auckland celebrating its position in the Pacific. AK03, the inaugural event of the "new" Auckland Festival, opened on 20 September 2003.

MARCH 2001
The newly appointed Trustees staged 'The Launching', a spectacular free event in Aotea Square to herald the Auckland Festival's beginning.

AK03 opened on 20 September 2003. Highlights included Sticky, the opening event at Britomart Square; the closures of Queen Street for free music and culture weekends; the wildly popular It's in the Bag; the sultry sounds of Ute Lemper and the first time collaboration of the NZSO and APO.

Auckland Festival, AK05 opened on 25th Feburary. Highlights of the program included The Death of Klinghoffer, Bangarra Dance Theatre, The Three Furies, Vula, Commotion and Cabaret Decadanse.

JUNE 2006
Auckland City in partnership Creative New Zealand report on Aucklanders and the Arts - Aucklanders were asked to name any arts event or activities in Auckland that has made proud to be an Aucklander - Named in second place after Pasifika, was Auckland Festival, AK05.

MARCH 2007
From the opening event at the Auckland Domain, the pyrotechnic performance A Little More Light by Groupe F, watched by a record 170,000 spectators, the 2007 Festival created a sense of excitement and buzz throughout the city.

A record number of shows sold out, including international shows; Max Black, 10 Days on Earth, La Clique, Eddie Perfect and Spaghetti Western Orchestra; plus local seasons of Taki Rua's Strange Resting Places, Tusiata Avia's Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, Black Graces' Amata, Silo Theatre's Ensemble Project, NZSO's Mahler-The Resurrection, and Jennifer Ward-Lealand's Falling in Love Again.

For the first time the Festival included a dedicated hub where artists and public gathered, day and night. Named Red Square, and located behind the Britomart transport centre, this area was home to The Famous Spiegeltent, the Festival Club and the Spiegel Bar and Café. Each night a variety of local and international musicians played at these venues creating a lively Festival epicentre.

The Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008 was passed. The act established a framework for the secure and sustainable funding of 11 organisations that provide arts, educational, rescue or other community facilities and services which are vital for the Auckland region. Auckland Festival is one of only four arts organisations funded under the act.

MARCH 2009
Auckland Festival 2009 drew critical, public and media acclaim, hosting more than 100 events across the disciplines of theatre, music, dance, circus, cabaret, burlesque, comedy and visual arts.

New commissions and productions through the Festival's Watch this Space initiative, including The Arrival, The Kreutzer and sleep/wake are set to tour the world and represent
The Festival's international co-commission, Ea Sola's The White Body, continued on to Paris, Amsterdam and many other cities.

International highlights included Robert Lepage's The Andersen Project and nostalgia by Japanese company Ishinha. Red Square moved to Aotea Square and was once again home to the Famous Spiegeltent as well as to the inaugural NZ Post Family Weekend.

MARCH 2011
Auckland Arts Festival 2011 explored new worlds with 185 performances of 40 productions, including a range of schools only performances, a comprehensive Visual Arts Program, free events such as Festival Garden Grooves and master classes and workshops, as well as a greatly expanded program on Family Day.

The 2011 Festival saw artists and productions descend on Auckland from Bolivia, Taiwan, India, Ireland, Switzerland, France and many other corners of the world - not to mention accomplished artists from Australia and our own backyard.

The inaugural White Night was a magical evening for many Festival goers as participating galleries and museums across Auckland opened late.  Aotea Square was another highlight for many, as it was transformed into the 'Festival Garden' for the duration of the Festival - a great place to meet and relax before and after shows for the complete Festival experience.

Preparations are now underway for the 2013 Festival.  It promises to be an exciting event, so keep an eye out for news and developments with regular visits to this website!