Goretti Chadwick brings to live D.F Mamea’s play Still Life with Chickens. Photo: Supplied.

Arts Festival takes feathery flight


An intimate, heart-warming and funny play about life, love, loss and the fact that some friendships are just clucking surprising, will take centre stage at this year’s Nelson Arts Festival.

D.F Mamea’s play Still Life with Chickens is one of a host of events in the full programme that is being officially launched tonight.

Still Life with Chickens tells the story of ‘Mama’, who discovers a mischievous chicken invading her veggie garden. Her first instinct is to reach for the spade but what starts out as a skirmish over the silver beet, develops into an unlikely friendship.

It has been described as “poignant and hilarious” and a vivid portrait of a local neighbourhood.

Still Life with Chickens joins other events that have already been announced, including the return of Piki Mai to the Church Steps.

The breath-taking projection work last came to Nelson eight years ago and festival director Charlie Unwin says it is the perfect way to celebrate the festival’s 25th year.

“Piki Mai is one of those events that people keep talking about and asking why it can’t come back – and finally, we’ve managed to align all the different elements for the return of Nelson’s favourite large-scale outdoor projection. We’re also really excited to be able to include a few new elements.”

Piki Mai is an audio-visual artwork that that transform the cathedral tower, steps, pillars and every feature of our city’s centrepiece granite monument. It has been created using digital mapping, which means that the projections are created specifically for the site, incorporating every feature of the tower and steps, and making for a 3-D extravaganza.

Charlie also announced that the readers and writers’ festival had been renamed the Pukapuka Talks.

It will be the South Island’s largest annual gathering of writers and readers in one location, with 12 events featuring more than 30 writers, commentators, activists, publishers and peanut butter-makers. For the first time, the Top of the South’s pre-eminent literary event takes place over four consecutive days, rather than two separate weekends, at Founders Heritage Park, making it easier for audiences to fully immerse themselves into everything the programme has to offer.

That full programme is now live and on sale at www.nelsonartsfestival.nz