Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Toi Mana, Tu Mahi Toi, Festival Picnic (2004), Schoolfest (2006), Frisky & Mannish (2010), Raoul and NZTrio (2012)
Last one! It's the closing day of the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington, so I'm wrapping up this series here. Hope it's been interesting!
From 2004, we've got three events; Toi Mana, Tu Mahi Toi and the last of the Festival Picnics in Frank Kitts Park. Tu Mahi Toi was (as I recall) a schools workshop of songwriting and traditional Maori kapa haka performance, while Toi Mana was a large-scale performance on the Town Hall stage by Te Matarae i Orehu, along with Whirimako Black and a number of other performers from around the country.
Among the performers at the Festival Picnic were my old friends Tim Denton & Annie Forbes, dressed as the Festival's kiwi mascot, and (in this instance) picking the purse of City Councillor Sue Piper...
In 2006, I was on SchoolsFest duty again, this time catching up on a student dance workshop at the Royal New Zealand Ballet studios; but on my way out, I heard that members of the Italian dance show Aterballetto had decided to learn & perform a haka on their closing night - yes, that does happen some years - so I popped in to see them rehearsing with our great friend Wharehoka Wano.
In 2010, we had the great comedy duo Frisky & Mannish playing late nights at the Festival Club, and more than a few of the Festival staff went several times to catch the show. (Okay, myself included. They're that good, okay!?) I was pleased to catch up with them again recently, when they did a one-night-only sideshow in Sydney while here for other festivals around Australia.
2012 saw NZTrio giving a concert called Dreamscapes in the Ilott Theatre, accompanied by Lenny Sakofsky and Jeremy Fitzsimons on percussion; I was only able to stay for some of their rehearsal, but that meant I could get up on stage with them (which obviously I wouldn't normally do DURING a concert!) and get quite close in on each of them, which was nice. They're a great bunch of folks - not sure I know a more hilarious group of classical musicians, actually.
And closing out 2012 - and this look back at the Festivals I've covered - is James Thiérrée's Raoul, a beautifully designed and performed piece of work. He's an incredible physical performer, but also has a great sense of theatre; it's perfect for kids, but without ever being pandering to them. I'd somehow missed his Junebug Symphony and Bright Abyss in previous years, so this one really struck me - and that makes it a fitting close to this series, really!