Here’s Why You Need To Be At The Christchurch Arts Festival

If there was ever any doubt, Ōtautahi is a city that celebrates creativity and the arts. We’ve seen this with the restoration of Christchurch Town Hall, the success of Bread & Circus, and of course, the sheer number of talented musicians, artists, dancers and performers that regularly share their creativity with us here in Christchurch.

The recently unveiled Christchurch Arts Festival programme is a testament to that creativity and I can’t wait to see the city transform into a carnival of delights. You all know how much I love the arts and will take any opportunity to watch live music, theatre and dance. It’s a privilege to live in a city that champions these art forms.


The programme promises oversized puppets, vibrant digital street art, and some of Ōtautahi’s finest artists. Many of whom will be returning from around the world to perform at the festival. For those wanting a taste of the festival, head along to the free opening spectacle, A Winter’s Tale, which will take place along the Avon River on 26-27 July. Audiences can expect an immersive performance of light and sound led by Free Theatre that will begin with a pōwhiri from mana whenua along the new City Promenade (how cool!) Look out for oversized puppets, masked performers, large-scale projection and special winter hospitality. I’m hoping this means mulled wine?

Other shows include The Clearing – a contemporary dance performance by acclaimed choreographer and Rangiora-raised Ross McCormack; Meremere – the award-winning extraordinary survival story of dancer Rodney Bell; Julia Deans, Bella Kalolo and Flip Grater performing alongside Bel Canto (the Burnside High School Choir they were once part of); Meet me at the Doghouse – a performance featuring the extraordinary alumni of Pacific Underground, and Wild Dogs Under My Skirt with Aranui poet, performer and author, Tusiata Avia.



Another highlight will be a hāngī, for up to 1,000 people which will be laid right next to the festival headquarters at the Town Hall. After the festival, Christchurch will become home to the very first permanent hāngī in New Zealand — lucky us!

If you suffer from the winter blues, make sure you get tickets to this mid-winter carnival that will certainly bring our community together; instilling “a sense of warmth, reflection and renewal to Christchurch as we make our way towards spring.”

The Christchurch Arts Festival 2019 runs from 26 July to 4 August 2019. The full
programme and tickets are available here.


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