New work premieres at festival
Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival is the only regional festival in the country to commission new work as part of its agenda to showcase local talent alongside national and international artists.
Last year’s performance piece Contours of Heaven, with its local-rooted stories, went on to win multiple awards at the Auckland Fringe Festival.
This year, Hawke’s Bay theatre-maker Puti Lancaster is working with renowned performance-designer Owen McCarthy to develop a new, more ambitious body of work, in collaboration with both local and national creatives.
Freedom is Behind My Breath will premiere at the Blyth Performing Arts Centre in late October, and tells the living story of one local wha¯ nau — through their own words, voices and from multiple perspectives, drawing on music, movement and visual art forms.
Local performance artists Champa Maciel and Sophie Follett are devising a series of thought-provoking dance installation works for the festival, in collaboration with poet Sara Hirsch and sound creative Rosie Langabeer.
Their project, Meta, explores the oddities of human behaviour and our culture of voyeurism and self-censorship.
“It will be a bit like watching a live display at the National History Museum,” Maciel says.
Margot Pierard, best known for her big jazz sound, and guitarist and composer, Kurt Yates, are working on fresh, original songs for their show, Canopy, the culmination of a long-time collaboration. This will be a rare opportunity to experience something different, something unique from these beloved Hawke’s Bay musicians; a special chance to be held within a deeply personal body of work.
Meantime, Hawke’s Bay opera visionary Anna Pierard recently arrived back from a trip to Spain, where she’s been rehearsing with pianist Lorelle McNaughton and acclaimed conductor and singer Jose Aparicio for Cuentos de Espana (Stories of Spain), an hour of expressive Spanish music.
She says “festival audiences will be enraptured by the intensity and nuance of the quintessential Spanish temperament”, as the trio share works by beloved Spanish composers, Granados, Obradors, Falla, and others.
Pierard and Aparicio are also working with Project Prima Volta (PPV) on a ‘box of chocolates’ style performance for the festival, Scena, which will present audiences with “a whole array of different opera delights to share!”
These 30 rising young stars from local high schools are among opera’s loudest champions, recognising the beautiful transformation that they and their audiences enjoy when stepping into the world of opera.
Included in the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival since its inaugural year, PPV perform sell-out shows to standing ovations.
For the first time in Hawke’s Bay, Motif Poetry presents the format taking the world by storm. Poetry Slam is a competitive, high-energy poetry show known for being accessible and great fun.
Ben Fagan, host and producer, is a local boy, having grown up in Haumoana and Whakatu, and gone to school in Clive and Havelock North.
He’s recently returned from a few years in London producing live poetry events and just landed back on NZ shores this week after the Edinburgh festival.
All the poets competing in the slam will be Hawke’s Bay based, every word spoken in the Speigeltent will be responding, relating, conversing with and confronting NZ experiences.
A poetry slam is a slice of life, a display of the thoughts and feelings of a handful of local writers.
■ For more information and bookings, visit www.hbaf.co.nz or the Hastings, Havelock North or Napier i-SITEs.
Kurt Yates and Margot Pierard presentCanopy at the Spiegeltent in Havelock North on October 27.