From festivals to frocks

Australian circus production Knee Deep is coming to Dunedin as part of Arts Festival Dunedin. Photo: Sean Young
Australian circus production Knee Deep is coming to Dunedin as part of Arts Festival Dunedin. Photo: Sean Young
Ali Harper in Songs for Nobody at the Court Theatre last year. The production is coming south as part of Arts Festival Dunedin. Photo: Supplied
Ali Harper in Songs for Nobody at the Court Theatre last year. The production is coming south as part of Arts Festival Dunedin. Photo: Supplied
Andrew Ford (Seppings), Jack Buchanan (Wooster) and Andrew Paterson (Jeeves) get in character for the Fortune’s first play of the year. Photo: Supplied
Andrew Ford (Seppings), Jack Buchanan (Wooster) and Andrew Paterson (Jeeves) get in character for the Fortune’s first play of the year. Photo: Supplied
Auckland-based actor Cameron Douglas as transsexual Bernadette in the Christchurch production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo: Supplied
Auckland-based actor Cameron Douglas as transsexual Bernadette in the Christchurch production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Photo: Supplied
Royal New Zealand Ballet’s first show of the year is inspired by the Academy Award-winning New Zealand movie The Piano. Photo: Supplied
Royal New Zealand Ballet’s first show of the year is inspired by the Academy Award-winning New Zealand movie The Piano. Photo: Supplied
A still taken from video artist Kawita Vatanajyankur’s The Ice Shaver, 2013. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
A still taken from video artist Kawita Vatanajyankur’s The Ice Shaver, 2013. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
Gramaphone award-winning Phantasm is coming to Dunedin. Photo: Marco Borggreve
Gramaphone award-winning Phantasm is coming to Dunedin. Photo: Marco Borggreve
The Phoenix Foundation will perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Dunedin as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Supplied
The Phoenix Foundation will perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Dunedin as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Supplied
Simon O’Neill performs Wagner at the Royal Opera House. Photo: Supplied
Simon O’Neill performs Wagner at the Royal Opera House. Photo: Supplied

It is shaping as a busy year for Dunedin’s arts sector, with national and international shows and events coming to the city as well as the biennial Arts Festival Dunedin, writes Rebecca Fox.

Musicals, circus troupes, comedy, film-based ballet, rock-classic crossover - there will be a variety of artistic endeavours in Otago this year.

While Dunedin will be packed for the international rock acts coming to Forsyth Barr Stadium this year - Ed Sherran, Robbie Williams, Roger Waters and Pink - there are also many other top acts coming to the city for its festivals, concerts and performances.

Festivals

Arts Festival Dunedin (September) and Fringe Festival (March) do not release their programmes until later in the year, but Arts Festival founding director Nicholas McBryde has given the Otago Daily Times a few hints about what is coming: a ''charming'' family-friendly show from Germany, an ''intimate'' circus troupe from Australia and an ''impressive'' lineup of work from New Zealand playwrights that will coincide with New Zealand Theatre Month in September.

While all the Fringe Festival will give away until its February programme launch is that it will host more than 90 events by performers and visual artists hailing from the world over.

In Wanaka this year, it is the turn of Aspiring Conversations in April, which has released the names of two of its speakers - John D. Potter, the chief science adviser to the Ministry of Health, is an internationally-renowned biomedical scientist and former Rhodes Scholar, and Green MP Holly Walker, who will talk about mental health. The rest of the programme is released in February.

Theatre

There is something for everyone in the 2018 Fortune Season, from mad-cap British farce Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsence (February) to the premiere production of Albert Belz' Astroman (November).

The Fortune is also supporting Dunedin writers, with three new works being produced in its Fortune Family Seasons during school holidays.

To celebrate the inaugural New Zealand Theatre Month and 125 years since the victory of Kate Sheppard and the New Zealand's women's suffrage movement, the Fortune will present a festival of performances by and about women in September, including the premiere of Emily Duncan's Eloise in the Middle.

Benjamin Henson, who directed last year's production of Twelfth Night, returns with Hansel and Gretel in July, while in April the theatre will showcase Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's An Iliad, which features a sole performer and a musician.

The Fortune will also collaborate with the University of Otago Dodd-Walls Centre to explore where science and art fuse in Macbeth by Dean Parker (June).

Meanwhile, the Globe Theatre's 2018 season sees the amateur company revisit the postponed Finding Murdoch by Margot Macrae. It will be directed by Andrew Mackenzie.

Also on the bill is Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett and directed by Sofie Welvaert, and Blood of the Lamb, by Bruce Mason and to be directed by Richard Huber.

The fourth main production of the year is yet to be announced. There will also be a series of three short plays over winter, including one on the life and poetry of Sylvia Plath and a revival of James K. Baxter's The Devil and Mr Mulcahy.

New to the Dunedin theatre scene is Arcade, a theatre company dedicated to providing emerging artists - actors, directors, writers and technicians - with a platform.

Under the leadership of Alex Wilson (artistic direction) and Angus McBryde (marketing), Arcade plans to produce four shows this year, starting with Jo Randerson's Fold and finishing with an arts festival production of Abby Howells' Attila the Hun.

Musicals

Musical Theatre Dunedin is bringing Priscilla Queen of the Desert to the Regent Theatre stage in May. It will be directed by Doug Kamo and choreographed by Emma Holloway.

They have cast Auckland-based Cameron Douglas as transsexual Bernadette - a character he played in the Showbiz Christchurch season last year.

He will be joined by Dunedin's Greg McLeod (Mr Banks in Mary Poppins) as Tick/Mitzi and Jacob Irby, a newcomer to Dunedin from Virginia, as Adam/Felicia.

''This will be a new interpretation of the show utilising over 700 costumes, wigs and headdresses and the script that recently toured the UK and was last staged in Auckland,'' Kamo said.

The Regent will also host United Kingdom show Beyond the Barricade, which stars past principal performers from the West End production of Les Miserables, such as Andy Reiss, David Fawcett, Katie Leeming and Poppy Tierney. It features hit songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Wicked, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, Chicago, Crazy For You, Mamma Mia and many others.

Ballet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will return to Dunedin three times in its 65th-anniversary year, beginning in March with The Piano: The Ballet inspired by Jane Campion's award-winning film.

The full-length work by Jiri Bubenicek will be produced as part of the New Zealand and Auckland Arts Festivals and is accompanied by excerpts from Michael Nyman's film score.

The RNZB returns in June for Dancing with Mozart. It features works by George Balanchine and Jiri Kylian alongside a new commission by Christchurch-born choreographer Corey Baker, all set to music of Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart.

To finish off the year in true celebratory style, the RNZB is bringing Nutcracker to Dunedin in November in its first tour of the classic ballet since 2010.

For those keen on an early taste of Christmas, Moscow Ballet La Classique is returning to the city in May also with an interpretation of the Nutcracker.

Symphony orchestras

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra returns to Dunedin six times this year, most notably in August with its collaboration with The Phoenix Foundation to mark its 20th aniversary.

It is also bringing local tenor Simon O'Neill back to the city in June and NZSO music director Edo de Waart's Masterworks series Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky in November, which is exclusive to Dunedin and Christchurch.

While Dunedin Symphony Orchestra does not release its full programme until late January it has given the Otago Daily Times a few glimpses.

It will include a return visit by one of the world's top violinists Shlomo Mintz, leading United States viola soloist Tim Deighton and a brand-new viola concerto by Dunedin's Anthony Ritchie.

A special concert ''with a difference'' will be Carmina Burana by Carl Orff featuring soprano, tenor and baritone soloists, as well a large choir, the DSO says.

Principal guest conductor Simon Over will return and Venezuelan-born Spanish conductor Jose Luis Gomez, Australian-based Richard Davis and New Zealand's Marc Taddei and Kenneth Young will also conduct the DSO.

Chamber music

Chamber Music New Zealand will bring six concerts to Dunedin in 2018, including Phantasm - a Gramophone Classical Music Award-winning viol ensemble, which has not previously played in New Zealand. In May, they will be playing music by William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons and Henry Purcell capped off with excerpts from Bach's Art of Fugue.

It is also bringing former Julliard students Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, aka piano duo Anderson and Roe, to the city in March. The duo is known to be just as at home playing Mozart as it is Daft Punk and will cover five centuries of classical music.

Visiting in September is Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Ioana Cristina Goicea, who will partner with 2016 International Piano competition winner Andrey Gugnin.

Public art galleries

Among Dunedin Public Art Gallery's exhibition programme for 2018 is a May exhibition of new works by Thai video artist Kawita Vatanajyankur, who was the gallery's 2017 International Visiting Artist.

Then at the end of the year, to tie-in with this year's visiting artist Yang Yongliang, a season of exhibitions will be launched exploring contemporary art from China.

In August, the gallery will present its biennial exhibition on Dunedin contemporary art, featuring the works of four individual artists.

The Hocken Library will stage an exhibition in February of new work by 2017 Frances Hodgkins' Fellow Campbell Paterson.

A tribute to Frances Hodgkins, marking the 150th anniversary of her birth, will see Curator photography Dr Anna Campbell put together ``Nuturing Creative Spirit: Photography in Dunedin c.1850-1900'' in December.

The library is also marking the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand with an exhibition including historical material and contemporary interpretations.

Curator art Andrea Bell will put together an exhibition ``Primary Care'' in July looking at community and public health, welfare and mental health using art works and materials from the Hocken collection.

Private art galleries

Milford Galleries is starting the year with an exhibition of Dunedin-based artist Nigel Brown's work at the new Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi on the Waitangi Treaty grounds. He is the first artist to be offered a solo show there.

Back in their own gallery there will be exhibitions by glass artist Mike Crawford, who moved to Dunedin in 2015, sculptor, jeweller and carver Chris Charteris, drawer and sculptor Peter Trevelyan, 2017 New Zealand representative at the Viennce Biennale Lisa Reihana and young Maori artist Israel Birch.

Gallery consultants Lisa Wilkie and Vanessa Jones will also curate an invited group show ``Southern Gothic'', which includes Ann Shelton, Graham Sydney and Neil Dawson among others.

The Artists Room is still working on a ``few surprises'' for 2018, but its first major show for the year will be a return of Tyler Kennedy Stent followed by local artist Kirsty Warman for her third show and New Zealand Defence Force artist Matt Gauldie in April.

A group show with a difference, ``The Year of the Dog'' features artists and their canine-inspired works.

The gallery celebrates its 14th birthday in August with an invitational group show of its favourite national and international artists.

There will also be shows from Jane Crisp, Oamaru artist Gemma Campbell and something ``pretty unique and special'' with Sarah Dolby.

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