We love this time of year – the daffodils are blooming, the sun is shining and everything is starting to grow and blossom.

Festival Director Philip Tremewan missed the worst of the Wellington winter and spent almost two months in Europe catching up with the best of the performing and visual arts in the UK, France,and Holland. The trip to Edinburgh sounds enviable but there is a lot of ground to cover, here is his view on ‘tackling’ Edinburgh……..”Whew, I count 63 shows I’ve attended over the two weeks in Edinburgh and that’s not including the art and photography exhibitions and the magnificent museum exhibition on the Celts.

The fringe features 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues across Edinburgh, the book festival has 35 different events each day over a fortnight, and the international festival has 76 large scale operas, theatre shows, dance and music.  Visitors feel like very small mice confronting a gigantic cheese.

On the big stage, I saw Barry Humphries and cabaret singer Meow present extraordinary music from Germany’s Weimar Republic; Cecilia Bartoli sing the title role of Norma (with our own technical director working on the show); 4 French actors and an American do wonderful things with Shakespeare’s 12th Night; and Akram Khan’s very moving dance work for families Chotto Desh.

Fringe highlights include Angel, a solo show featuring a Syrian teenager who was planning to be a lawyer when the war broke out and she was separated from her father.  The play makes the war tangible and personal as she fights her way back to his side.  On a lighter note In Fidelity plays with the dating show format and turns some of the questions back on us as audience.  Only Bones features New Zealand’s own Thomas Monckton (you saw him last year in The Pianist); and Lady Rizo expands her cabaret performance to include her six month old baby.

A book festival highlight was Michael Morpurgo reading The Mozart Question incorporating five musicians who play to a spellbound audience of children and their families.

Next year is the 70th birthday of the Fringe and the International Festival – plan your visit now!

Emerging Writers accolade

We are delighted to announce that Festival trustee Annabel Wilson is the recipient of the AAWP Emerging Writers’ Prize, earning a ticket to the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival in Bali, contribution towards airfares, publication in Meniscus journal and an invitation to read her winning poem at the AAWP annual conference in Canberra. The winning entry was a prose poem entitled ‘Quire’ consisting of 25 vignettes which ‘sing out’ to each other, exploring themes of love, loss, distance and place. The work was inspired by previous time Annabel has spent in Bali. Annabel is taking a sabbatical from teaching at Mount Aspiring College, and is currently working on a play and a poetry collection.

What’s On

Liz Breslin has a new dark comedy ‘Losing Faith’. If you’ve got happy memories of post-natal coffee group, if coffee group makes your insides scream, if you were the only guy there, if you don’t have a clue what coffee groups do, or if you’re a tea drinker instead then ‘Losing Faith’ is the play for you. Liz’s last play had a rehearsed reading at the 2013 Festival of Colour. The play comes with a content warning – distressing baby cries, post-natal depression and sweary language. It’s not exactly a laugh a minute, but who says parenthood is?

Edgewater Resort on Sept 27th to October 1st . Tickets $20/$10 (concessions) from Pembroke Wines

Arrowtown Arts Festival – Thursday 15 September to Sunday 18 September

A variety of talks (including Brian Turner and Graeme Sydney), free community concert and a pop-up market plus arts based workshops for all ages including singing, drawing, painting, mobile phone photography, balloon twisting, mask making, sculpture & taxidermy, willow basket weaving and more.  There’s something for everyone.


Shayne Carter and Don McGlashan – Two of New Zealand’s indie rock heavyweights have joined forces for a formidable collaboration, touring this Spring and playing at Luggate Hall on Sat 22 October. Tickets $45 at Eventfinda http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2016/don-mcglashan-shayne-carter/wanaka