33 festival performances

Festival of Colour director Philip Tremewan (left) and chairwoman Hetty van Hale hold brochures...
Festival of Colour director Philip Tremewan (left) and chairwoman Hetty van Hale hold brochures after the Friday morning Queenstown launch of the upcoming festival. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Philip Tremewan, of Wanaka, has seen his fair share of performances - about a ''million'' he estimates - all in the name of the Festival of Colour.

At the Queenstown launch of the 2013 festival programme at the Boatshed Cafe & Bistro on Friday morning, Mr Tremewan ran through some of the highlights of this year's festival - the fifth in 10 years - which will be held from April 16 to 21.

However, selecting the performances, which include theatre, music, arts, street theatre and Aspiring Conversations, was no easy task.

''Everything I pick I've experienced. I've seen the shows at festivals ... Edinburgh, Melbourne, Sydney ... I'm constantly checking and talking to people and seeing what's out there ... it can look great online, but lots of things look great online.

''You have really got to see and experience the work.''

This year's programme featured 33 performances at venues in Wanaka, Luggate, Cromwell, Hawea and Queenstown.

The new Queenstown Memorial Centre, which will be officially opened following a multimillion-dollar upgrade, will host a performance each night of the festival, beginning with Fabulous Arabia on April 16.

Hailing from different realms of the musical universe, Lawrence Arabia and Mike Fabulous are two of New Zealand's young musical titans, and their musical collaboration promises to be a sellout.

The next night the hall will host Dave Armstrong's Kings of the Gym, a comedy about two PE teachers, before one of the festival highlights on April 18, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells for Two.

Two Australian musicians, Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts, performing the work in full with no extra hands, will juggle pianos, organs, electric, acoustic, bass and Spanish guitars, mandolin, tuned percussion, drums, glockenspiel, loop pedals, synthesisers and tubular bells.

On April 19 dance lovers will be treated to Black Grace - Vaka (Canoe), fresh from a sellout tour of Germany.

Founding artistic director and choreographer Neil Ieremia imbues Black Grace with an explosive mix of Pacific culture and contemporary dance.

Bella Kalolo, a Wellington-based soul singer who wowed audiences at last year's Glastonbury Festival will perform at the hall on April 20, with Wellington's Electric Wire Hustle Family's modern take on hip-hop, psychedelic and soul music rounding out the Queenstown evening performances on April 21.

St Peter's Parish hall will host special performances aimed at children aged between 6 months and 18 months. Baby O, when performed by the Scottish Opera, had sellout United Kingdom tours.

The show will create an interactive environment for babies and their carers in a ''secret garden'' full of ducks, fish and busy bees.

Baby O combines recorded music with live singing, using sounds and words babies can understand and will be performed at the church hall on April 19, 20 and 21 at 9am and 11am.

Festival chairwoman Hetty van Hale said there was a larger focus on Queenstown than in previous years, partly due to the support the festival had received from Queenstown benefactors, patrons and supporters.

''I think part of it is due to a growing recognition of how good the festival is and what it brings to the community in terms of enriching ... relationships and community wellbeing.

''People are wanting that and they believe that supporting events like this does enrich the place that they live in.''

Ticket sales for any of the performances opened on February 25 and can be made online at: www.festivalofcolour.co.nz, by phoning (03) 443-4162, at the i-Site Visitor Centre (Queenstown performances only) or by posting a booking form to the Festival of Colour.

Door sales will be available for shows not already sold out.

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