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Prepare for Launch

By David Malacari - 16 Nov 2010 1 Comment
The last pieces of the programming jigsaw have fallen into place during recent trips to the Biennale of Dance in Lyon and Brisbane Festival in September...

It was a whirlwind trip to France, and one of the great dance festivals of Europe, the Lyon Dance Biennale and my first ever visit to Lyon, the second largest city in France, at the convergence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and the place to go for a nice Cote du Rhone.  Apparently the rivers ran red with blood during the French revolution.

The town square, Place Bellecour, is the largest clear square in Europe, 300 metres long and over 200 metres wide. It is an extraordinary venue for civic events, uncluttered by proliferations of immoveable garden furniture.

Eerily, the square was the scene of over 2,000 executions.  It is hard to imagine brutality practiced on such a scale, though two of the festival presentations which will soon be released refer to brutal events from two different parts of the world, both of which resulted in persecution, hardship, deprivation and trauma for millions of people.

Brisbane is a different city today from the one in which I lived for a time in the early 80s when it was considered a cultural backwater.  The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is an amazing building with the space to display the largest exhibitions. Not normally one to find fashion compelling, even I was impressed by the blockbuster Valentino exhibition which demonstrated the extraordinary artistry of his clothes.  The Brisbane Powerhouse - a great venue built in an old power station and the Judith Wright Centre, are venues which Auckland should envy.  Brisbane is a city which, over the last twenty years, has re-invented itself an important cultural centre which recognises the importance of the Arts to its reputation and liveability.   Auckland is in the process of doing the same and we are proud of the contribution that the Auckland Arts Festival is making. 

Although it's the fifth Festival, it's the first in which the word 'Arts' has been used to clearly say that what we are, and what we do, is provide our city with unique and wonderful experiences that connect our own arts with those of the rest of the world.

You may have seen the Metro story about the Festival's White Night; where I spoke about how we will bring Auckland alive for one night as galleries and museums stay open until late with special exhibits. 2011 will be the first time such an event has been held in this part of the world. Modelled on the Parisian Nuit Blanche, free for all-ages, I envisage White Night becoming an annual staple of Aucklanders' arts appetites.

Aotea Square has opened after redevelopment and is already being snapped up as a venue for upcoming events. It will look beautiful once the Festival Garden, with a bar and café, and Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent are set up. The Garden Theatre, a specially constructed pool and seating for the Vietnamese Water Puppets, will also be installed in the Square during the Festival.

The Festival office has been busy as final details are confirmed before the programme goes public. Patrons and sponsors have been briefed about shows and already the feedback has been very positive. Early interest has us thinking certain shows will be fast sellers so if you are a Friend of the Festival, be sure to take advantage of your priority booking period.

If you're not a Friend, remember that public bookings open on Monday 23 November!

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Bruce Hopkins


Gidday Bruce Hopkins is my name, just want to say thank you for a a strike rate of 3 for 3 thus far. My being has been enriched by all 3 shows I have attended to date, Smoke and Mirrors, Live Live Cinema and the absolutely awe inspiring Manganiyar Seduction, in fact I sent an email to a few folk regarding another issue but tagged this comment in it:
On a personal note, if you have an opportunity to see The Manganiyar Seduction at the Auckland festival, in my humble opinion faaaaaaarkin go. Spell binding, the best internal organ rattling drum and bass you'll ever hear - laced with a stringed kazoo, saturated with a choir of warbling soul impacting vocal journeys and liberally sprinkled with a myriad of other lush spiritual delights, all set in a gorgeous 4 storey high wall of cubes each home to one of the master musicians lead by the most beguiling conductor/musician this side of the Mumbai Hills!
So thank you David
Bruce Hopkins


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