Tauranga Arts Festival

Two performers dance on stage

Whether you wanted to be wowed by aerial acrobatics, watch a laugh-out-loud funny play, or have your heart strings pulled by beautiful singing performance, with music, theatre, workshops and so much more, there was something for everyone at the Tauranga Arts Festival in 2019.

The Tauranga Arts Festival is well established in the Tauranga Moana community, providing experiences that expand minds, delight audiences and touch all corners of the community since 1999 with the Festival happening every second year and the Escape! Literary weekend in the off year at Queen's Birthday weekend.

As a platform for the best of the arts from New Zealand and around the world to be presented in Tauranga, it is a celebration for locals, an introduction to the performing arts for pre-school, primary and secondary school students, and is an added attraction for visitors from near and afar.

Limbo, Soulful Tunes and Laughter

Theatres were full of people laughing as one, absorbed in silence by the drama unfolding on stage, carried away by beautiful music or enjoying a spirited conversation.  It was a joyous, life-affirming experience and each event saw a new community created as people discussed what they had just shared.  The Fringe Village was also a massive success thanks to the team at the Incubator Creative Hub—there was truly something for everyone to enjoy.

One show that transported audiences to another world with their gut-churning acrobatics, dazzling tap dancing, fearless fire-eating and jaw-dropping contortions was LIMBO. Described as ‘dirty and dangerous’, the performance was wild, wicked and truly out of this world.

A rambunctious live band led by the charismatic Sxip Shirey led the tone of the show, with electronica beats on brass, harmonica and concertina whisking audiences away and inviting them to clap along as performers danced, flew and contorted their way across the stage.

Another performer that wowed audiences was Nadia Reid, the award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist from Port Chalmers, New Zealand. With an ethereal quality to her voice and in-depth story telling ability, Nadia and her backing band of four captivated the audience with her 2x half set list which showcased some new tracks from her new (yet to be released) album. 

Her unassumingly powerful vocals and simple lyrics seemed to be so universally understood, with the crowd enjoying her references to Port Chalmers, Wellington and Auckland.  The moody soft deep red glow of the beautiful Carrus Crystal Palace was a complimentary setting to the evening of folk music. With such an understated demeanour entirely unequalled to the level of musicality she brings to the stage and beyond, it was a fantastic intimate gig. 

For hilarious comedy, Rants in the Dark took us on the journey of parenthood and all its ups and downs. Based on the book by Emily Writes, and adapted for the stage by Mel Dodge, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and Bevin Linkhorn, the play revelled in the raw truth of parenthood and its ‘mess of contradictions’, offering comfort, connection, laughter and tears to other exhausted parents. 

Audience members sit in tent of Carrus Crystal Palace

Proud Principal Funder

Kimberley Cleland, General Manager of the Tauranga Arts Festival Charitable Trust said that TECT’s support is vital to running the festivals.

“Having this funding means that we are able to programme the best work from around Aotearoa and the globe for the Western Bay of Plenty community and keep ticket prices accessible.  Having the support from TECT is an integral part of our community support from grant agencies, sponsors, patrons and of course from everyone who attends and purchases tickets.”

Natalie Bridges, Deputy Chairperson of TECT said supporting the arts is a key to a thriving community and TECT is proud to play a part.

“The arts brings people together and sparks new ideas, interests and conversations. They are an integral part to any city that’s desirable and liveable.

“TECT is proud to have played a part in bringing the Tauranga Arts Festival to life with a grant of $130,000 going towards both this festival and the 2020 Escape! Readers and Writers Festival.

“We also want to say a big thank you to Jo Bond, who has stepped off the stage as Festival Director after eight years. Her role in growing the festival into the world-class programme it is today is appreciated by so many.”

To learn more about the Tauranga Arts Festival, visit https://www.taurangafestival.co.nz/


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