Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Velocities II (2004), Holy Sinner (2006), Black Watch (2008), The Animals & Children Took To The Streets and Writers & Readers Launch (2012)
Chamber orchestra Stroma followed up their 2002 concert with Velocities II in the Wellington Town Hall in '04; and this photo from the sound check became one of their main images for most of the next decade, which was nice! They're a great ensemble, wish I could see more of them.
The Holy Sinner was a reprise of an earlier Festival show, first performed in 1990; and some of the images that came out of that have been amongst my favourites from the Festivals I covered. With an all star cast featuring Cliff Curtis and Mia Blake, and huge production on the St James stage, it was certainly ambitious enough!
The cast of Black Watch - not satisfied to just visit New Zealand for a three week sold out run of their show, between Adelaide, Perth & Sydney Festivals - decided amongst themselves to learn & perform a traditional haka at the closing night of their show. I'd been to a few of their rehearsals, and watched them training with our cultural consultant Wharehoka Wano (who taught all the Festival staff, for the dawn powhiri) - but they also did it before each show as a warm up.
Still, when it came time, they'd just done a show - plus, they were suddenly only too aware that they were doing it for an unsuspecting audience of New Zealanders, who knew exactly how it SHOULD be done. So they were nervous beforehand - but judging by the commitment they put into it, and the audience reaction to it after the emotional show beforehand, I think they surpassed even Whare's expectations of them. (Sadly he had to miss it on the night, but I made sure I got there to photograph it for him.)
English company 1927 returned to Wellington in 2012 with their show, The Animals & Children Took To The Streets - a quirky but lovely show, with their particular style of arch vaudeville performance and great animation projected onto the stage. I loved it, as I had with their previous show in 2010, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. (They don't really do short titles, it seems!) I'm hoping to see their collaboration with Barry Kosky on The Magic Flute some time, it looks amazing!
There's also a couple of images from the opening of Writers & Readers week in 2012; the last one is of a couple of folks who couldn't have imagined what the last two years would bring them...! (She's speaking at this year's Festival tomorrow night...)
Oh, just one last thing - a bonus, large photo of the Festival staff circa 2004 (or at least, everyone who came for the photo call), on the former mound by the Odlins Building and Frank Kitts Lagoon, under artist Angus Watt's Flags installation.
...you know who you are!