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A huge line-up of "cutting-edge'' events was revealed last night as the Arts Festival Dunedin programme was launched at the Regent Theatre.
Festival director Nicholas McBryde told about 200 people gathered on the theatre stage the programme was like a time machine.
"It can transport you to other eras, can land you in the here and now. Whatever time, whatever place, it will deliver exotic performers, riveting performances and enthralling entertainment. Welcome aboard our time machine.''
Festival patrons should expect a more "intimate experience'' this year, as most of the 38 events would be held in smaller venues.
The festival will be staged at 17 Dunedin venues between September 30 and October 9.
The "huge line-up of gigs from all around the world'' would fall in the school holidays, so the programme included plenty of family entertainment.
However, it would also cater for adults, including a performance by Australian actor, singer, writer and comedian Sheridan Harbridge in a cabaret-style music theatre piece, Songs for the Fallen.
One of the final events was a "huge theatrical rock concert'' - "Bowie: Waiting in the Sky'' - a salute to the Starman featuring about 25 Kiwi musicians, including Jordan Luck and Eddie Rayner.
"That is really going to rock.''
Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa were named as patrons of the festival at the launch last night.
Miss Clark's association with the biennial arts festival dates back to its inauguration in 1999, when she was arts minister as well as prime minister.
Tickets go on sale from 9am today.