Show to feature local performers

Oamaru singer-songwriter Ethan Downing (15) is set to give his second ``Made in the Waitaki'' performance at the Oamaru Opera House tonight. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Oamaru singer-songwriter Ethan Downing (15) is set to give his second ``Made in the Waitaki'' performance at the Oamaru Opera House tonight. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Locally produced food and wine often get the spotlight in the Waitaki.

But tonight's ''Made in the Waitaki'', part of the Waitaki Arts Festival, highlights local performers.

The two-yearly arts festival, now in its second year, opened at the start of this month with the premiere of a theatre production of Janet Frame's first full-length work, Owls Do Cry and will conclude at the weekend with a screening of New Zealand wine documentary A Seat at the Table on Saturday and music at the beer gardens at Oamaru Harbour's Scotts Brewing Co for ''Sunday Session at Scotts''.

Tonight, about 40 local performers will take the main stage at the Oamaru Opera House for ''Made in the Waitaki''.

This year's show would be a celebration of diversity, Waitaki Arts Festival festival director Frances McElhinney said.

Performers would include groups from Idea Services, an organisation which supports people with intellectual disabilities to live in their own homes and be part of their local communities, who were training with the Ican Academy.

It would also feature a slide show ''and walk down memory lane'' to mark a decade of performances at the opera house, named late last year as the top venue in a smaller centre in New Zealand by Arts on Tour NZ, after its restoration and reopening in 2009.

Yet, Mrs McElhinney said what made ''Made in the Waitaki'' important for the arts community was the ability to watch local performers ''evolve''.

Returning to ''Made in the Waitaki'' this year were singer-songwriter Ethan Downing, Yoko Jenner, piano, and Olivia Mavor, dance, she said.

Late last year Ethan started writing music and said since the first ''Made in the Waitaki'' his tastes had broadened and he had developed more presence on the stage.

Tonight he would play an original tune, Elephant Disco.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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