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Hawke's Bay Tourism

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The Famous Spiegeltent. Photo: supplied.

One of the main acts at this month’s inaugural Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival will be the venue itself, say festival organisers.

The Famous Spiegeltent will be erected in the Havelock North Domain for the duration of the festival, which begins on October 27 and will showcase some of the best cultural acts from New Zealand and further afield.

Festival Director Pitsch Leiser said the festival would offer 13 days of music, dance, theatre, comedy and circus, along with an “inspiring” series of literary events hosted by some of New Zealand’s best-loved authors.

“With a packed programme of events that caters to all tastes, arts lovers won’t be disappointed. We’ve deliberately programmed an eclectic blend of big names, emerging acts and fringe performances,” he said.

Tickets are selling strongly for some of the headline acts including Knee Deep from Australia’s renowned Casus circus. Homegrown acts such as The Modern Maori Quartet and Pass the Gat featuring a trio of New Zealand’s most talented singer-songwriters, are also selling strongly.

Comedy is proving to be a popular choice with ticket sales going well for to Mark Hadlow’s MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra) and Michele A’Court’s Stuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter.

Local acts include the talented Margot Wuts performing a tribute to music legend Nina Simone, while Margot’s siblings Anna and Tom Pierard will present The Singing Lesson with EIT’s Project Prima Volta.

Children’s theatre and dance feature strongly in the festival line-up, ensuring a truly family-friendly festival, Leiser said.

 “For the very young, we have Caterpillars, which won Best Costume and Best of Theatre at the 2015 Auckland Fringe, and Dirt and other Delicious Ingredients, a magical performance combining dance, music and theatre. Slightly older children will love Beards! Beards! Beards!, awarded Best Theatre at the 2015 Dunedin Fringe Festival, and families of all ages will be captivated by the hilarious Double Derelicts which combines hip-hop, improvisation, clowning and good old-fashioned fun.”

Hidden gems for the festival include the critically-acclaimed Australian flamenco troupe, Arte Kanela, and sultry Brazilian-born songstress Alda Rezende performing highlights from The Tom Jobim Songbook. Theatre picks include several fringe offerings with quirky titles such as Banging Cymbal Clanging Gong and On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me as Her Young Lover. “These are the sorts of shows that arts festivals are made of,” Leiser said.

 “I hope people are willing to step outside of their normal comfort zones and experience some of the edgier shows on offer.”

Playing host to the inaugural Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival is The Famous Spiegeltent, an art deco tent of mirrors, which will be erected in the Havelock North Domain.

“It is fitting that our first festival is being housed in such a magnificent setting. The Famous Spiegeltent is a truly spectacular venue – it’s virtually an act in itself!” Leiser said.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.hbaf.co.nz

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