LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (12 February, 2014) – The Southern Lakes Festival of Colour today revealed a packed seven-day programme featuring an exciting mix of theatre, visual art, dance, conversation and music from New Zealand and around the world.

Expanded to include the Anzac Day public holiday, this year’s event runs from Tuesday 21 to Monday 27 April in Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago and marks the tenth anniversary of ‘the best little arts festival in New Zealand’.

Highlights include world premieres of two Dave Armstrong plays as well as Knee Deep, the first ever circus staged in the festival’s Central Lakes Trust Crystal Palace. The 2015 programme also features the first performance outside Auckland of The Kiss Inside, a brand new dance work from New Zealand’s acclaimed choreographer, Douglas Wright and Daffodils, an offbeat love story with a classic Kiwi pop-rock soundtrack that was judged Metro magazine’s Best Debut last year.

Each of the five previous festivals has featured a play written by Dave Armstrong and he returns this year with two premieres, Central and Anzac Eve. Directed by Conrad Newport, Central is a highly entertaining comedy/drama combining love, greed and ambition with contemporary issues of conservation and landscape that has Central Otago at its heart.


The festival commissioned Armstrong to write a work that focused on Anzac. Anzac Eve tells the story of a pair of young Kiwi guys and Aussie girls on their ‘OE’ who meet at Gallipoli the night before Anzac Day. At times funny, at other times intensely moving the workshop performance takes an honest look at contemporary views on the Anzac experience.

The Kiss Inside is a provocative and challenging new work by NZ dance laureate, Douglas Wright. Religion, sex, drugs, extreme physical exertion and nudity all feature against a soundtrack as varied as Patti Smith and JS Bach.

Daffodils by Rochelle Bright is a 2014 Auckland Theatre Award Winner starring Todd Emerson from TV’s Westside Story, Colleen Davis and New York-based Kiwi band, LIPS. The play charts the lives of a teddy boy and a farm girl from their first meeting set to the hit music of Crowded House, Bic Runga, The Exponents, The Mutton Birds and more.

The Festival of Colour’s own music line-up features distinctive contemporary voices from Aotearoa including three late night sessions from LIPS, Eb & Sparrow and local Wanaka duo, Arma del Amor.

Both Sides Now features Julia Deans and others reinterpreting the classic songbook of Joni Mitchell. Julia reappears alongside former member of The Netherworld Dancing Toys, Annie Crummer and recent VNZMA Best Roots Album winner, Taima Waipara in The Hard Road, songs spanning ancestral folk to modern pop.

Jazz and classical music weave together when the Mike Nock Trio and NZTrio perform Mike’s new work, Vicissitudes, whilst the Rodger Fox Big Band features the capital’s finest jazz talent. The band will be accompanied in the Crystal Palace by a very special guest, NZ’s leading pianist and Festival of Colour favourite, Michael Houstoun. Houstoun makes his breakout jazz performance the day after performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the Lake Wanaka Centre.

Completing the classical music programme are two large-scale productions – the 46-strong Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir performing at Holy Family Catholic Church and Southern Sinfonia in a special performance celebrating the life and work of Dunedin-born artist, Frances Hodgkins.

Aspiring Conversations, the festival’s literary, science and socio-political debating sessions, return to the main festival after a successful standalone appearance in Wanaka last October. Speakers include documentary-maker and photographer, Craig Potton sharing experiences of Walking and Wilderness, internationally renowned psychologist, Michael Corballis examining The Wandering Mind and husband and wife Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist touching on their respective latest literary works The Rosie Effect and Medea’s Curse.

Visual art get the festival off to a fiery start with Ahi Kaa – Fires of Occupation where artists Ross Hemera, Priscilla Cowie and Su Proebster work with this fierce element in very different ways. Exhibitions include Joseph Michael’s 24-hour time-lapse sensory experience Dark cloud / white light and New York-based Kiwi Henry Hargreaves’ food-inspired photography in restaurants and cafés around Wanaka.

Festival Director, Philip Tremewan said he was looking to bring a sense of scale as well as variety to the sixth biennial festival.

“Our ten year anniversary is a pleasing milestone and one that makes us look forward as well as look back to what we have achieved since the first Festival of Colour. Our 2015 programme is designed to entertain and challenge, to reflect the past and look to the future. We’re delighted to secure the first performance outside Auckland of a major new dance work, to stage our very first circus and commission new drama in Anzac Eve,” he said.

“It’s not very often that this region hosts the power of a 30-strong orchestra or a large cathedral choir and these large scale performances will add yet another dimension to the festival. I’m confident numbers will be up this year, not least among the performers!”

Local electricity network, Aurora Energy, powers more than 84,300 homes and businesses throughout Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes and Dunedin. Grady Cameron, Chief Executive of Aurora Energy said: “We are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with the Festival of Colour, in this, our fourth festival as gold sponsor. Through the Aurora Energy touring programme, we are delighted to bring thought-provoking and entertaining shows to the widest possible audience around the region.”

The 2015 Southern Lakes Festival of Colour takes place from 21-27 April and is generously supported by gold sponsors Aurora Energy and Anderson Lloyd plus funders Creative New Zealand, Central Lakes Trust, Community Trust of Otago and QLDC.