Nelson prepares for biggest Arts Festival yet


This year’s Nelson Arts Festival is set to be the biggest yet with 65 shows lined up including seven international acts.

The 2015 programme launched tonight revealed the smorgasbord of national and global talent that is set to descend on Nelson during the Festival, which runs from Wednesday 14 October to Monday 26 October.

The Nelson Arts Festival is now in it’s 21st year and will feature theatre, dance, comedy, music, writers’ talks, and community events. It is the longest running arts festival in New Zealand.

Axel de Maupeou is taking up the challenge of Festival Team Leader for the first time. He says he is looking forward to his new role but has a lot to take in to get everything running smoothly.

“There is lots of information and small details to take on board. It’s like a huge clockwork where every cog is placed in turn but I get to put my spin on it.”

He says the festival will also be back at the Refinery Artspace, The Theatre Royal and The Boathouse, where the Festival appeared in its early days.

“Collaborative projects involving secondary students and NMIT will also allow a greater participation of our youth. Ultimately this year the Festival is going to be hard to miss with its large presence around the town,” he says.

Councillor Gaile Noonan says she is looking forward to the Java Dance Company’s performance of The Wine Project as she enjoyed their performance last year Back of the Bus.

The live theater dance show is “inspired by wine” featuring a pre show tasting. It will also contain full frontal nudity.

Other highlights of this year’s Festival include:

The New Zealand debut of Australian company Casus Circus’s new work Finding the Silence.International physical theatre show

Musical crowd pleasers SJD & The Black Quartet, Sam Manzanza & the Afrobeat Band, and Trinity Roots with their Irish friends.

A strong comedic contingent including Penny Ashton, Michele A’Court, Arthur Meek and Barnie Duncan.

American jazz legend David Friesen, winner at the acclaimed Monterey Jazz Festival.

Energetic hip hop with World Championship silver medallists in Out of the Box.

A raft of celebrated New Zealand writers including Charlotte Grimshaw, Patricia Grace, Gavin Bishop, filmmaker Geoff Murphy.

Gaile says the Council is thrilled to put on such a much-loved arts event for Nelsonians and visitors to the region that continues to grow and attract new audiences each year.

“We are really spoilt to have such a wonderful line up of high calibre talent from far flung places of the globe and right here in Nelson to choose from,” she says.

“The Festival brings our community together to celebrate creativity in all its forms like no other event, creating a real buzz in the city. I encourage everyone to take a look at the Festival website and start booking up their tickets so they don’t miss out.”

Festival Producer Charlie Unwin says he is looking forward to the international physical theatre show Leo which will see gravity defied in the Theatre Royal as the walls and ceiling are turned into a giant climbing space.

Almost a third of the lineup will feature locally produced content including The Billboard Project where four local and two visiting artists will create works of art beside the Maitai River and electronic based music trio Neon performing at the Playhouse Cafe.

The Masked Parade will begin three days into the Festival on Friday 16 October themed around The World of Books. The parade is immediately followed by Carnivale celebrations, street performances, food stalls and live music.

The full festival programme is available online. You can also grab a hard copy from Nelson City Council’s Customer Service Centre, Theatre Royal, libraries, retailers, cafes and key visitor outlets in the region.