Five shows At The Auckland Arts Festival I’m hanging Out For

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7 March 2023

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Pictured above: Blanc De Blanc Encore

Sure it’s sad that Auckland didn’t get to have a summer but forget the weather; we’re so buzzed about this years’ Auckland Arts Festival being so full of colour and brilliance we believe it’ll work more therapeutic wonders than a month of sunshine.

Here’s a list of the many different forms of artistic expression you’ll find in the upcoming programme that runs from the 9th March to the 26th! Waiata, kapa haka, dance-theatre, comedy, cabaret, aerial, jazz, opera, kōrero, sand art, orchestral and chamber music, R&B, K-rhythm, afrofunk, light art, photography and visual arts, Korean pansori, puppets, fire, film, family, infrared technology, theatre, Chinese pole art, a biodegradable light event, and accessible performances. Honestly if you can’t find something to love in that list you should definitely never tick Arts on a list of activities.

Here’s my first five of what I can’t wait to see (there will be more)


Crystal Pite is a choreographer with that rare combination of artistic vision, technical mastery, and emotional depth. Acclaimed around the world for work that leaves audiences breathless and affected. Her work Revisor is described in the programme as “a startling mix of action, comedy, pantomime and pre recorded dialogue  –full body lip synched by eight incredible dancers in high theatrical modeTypically dance reviews can get a bit technical but you know it’s gold when the Guardian reviewer simply starts with “ Astonishing, demands to be seen again”. Go on the first night in case you need to return.

The Gesualdo Six 

Choral music is like a rich dessert. A luxury that is rare.The Gesualdo Six, a British vocal ensemble made up of, yes, six, male singers take their name from the Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo. If it’s one thing the British do well it’s sing in a choir. Who remembers the Queen’s funeral? Plangent, pure and ancient. The power of the choir.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

My mouth feels full just reading all the praise that precedes this one woman show – Immoral. Immortal. Immense. Hailed as a “dizzyingly beautiful tour de force” (The Guardian), The Picture of Dorian Gray is an odyssey of theatrical storytelling. Featuring a “brilliant, breathtaking, bravura performance” (ArtsHub) from Eryn Jean Norvill, and a performance by stunning cast alternate Nikki Shiels on Wed 22 Mar, this justifiably lauded play – which sees one actor play 26 different characters in an audacious cascade of theatrical transformations. Cannot wait.

Related article: A Renowned Composer Victoria Kelly Revisits An Ancient Musical Form

The Savage Coloniser

Tusiata Avia won the 2022 Ockham Award for poetry for her stunning book The Savage Coloniser and has partnered with FCC theatre company to bring all those gutsy poems to action. Stage directed by Anapela Polata’ivao and produced by Victor Rodger.

“With characteristic savage and stylish wit, Avia holds the word-blade to our necks and presses with a relentless grace. At the end, you’ll feel your pulse anew.” — Selina Tusitala Marsh, NZ Poet Laureate

Spark Auckland

No nothing to do with the telecommunications company but a night of a thousand stars presented as a spectacle for the senses. Dutch designer and innovator DaanRossegarde has invented this ‘organic floating light work” using environmentally friendly technology which will turn the night light into something that shimmers, glitters and sparkles and not a firecracker in sight. Bring a blanket, bring a friend and be grateful that we still get to have free events that remind us in a gentle way of how small we are in this infinite and wonderful universe.

Related article : Auckland Arts Festival With Whirimako Black

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