Auckland Arts Festival: 9 shows we can’t wait to see

By MiNDFOOD

Auckland Arts Festival: 9 shows we can’t wait to see
From scintillating soul performances and one-of-a-kind poetry, to illuminating light shows and captivating circus, this year's festival delivers an unmissable lineup.

Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki / Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) returns in 2023 with a world-class programme. Across 18 days from 9-26 March, audiences can discover captivating performances across music, theatre, dance, circus, visual art and more, bringing to Tāmaki Makaurau a impressive lineup of international stars and homegrown talent.

We round up some of the most exciting events in the programme.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

In an incredible feat of theatrical storytelling, Australian actress Eryn Jean Norvill plays 26 different characters in the critically-acclaimed The Picture of Dorian Gray. Matching Norvill’s tour-de-force performance in the modern telling of the Oscar Wilde classic is cutting-edge sound, lighting and audio visual design, that has seen this play described as a “once in a lifetime triumph of theatre.”

SandSong

Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts company, Bangarra Dance Theatre brings one of its most powerful dance-theatre productions to Tāmaki Makaurau. SandSong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert is set in the homelands of the Walmajarri people, telling the tale of their indigenous cultures that have been preserved through songlines for hundreds of generations. Read MiNDFOOD’s review of SandSong here.

Blanc de Blanc Encore

Head to the Spielgeltent for a glamorous night of cabaret and circus at Blanc de Blanc Encore. Featuring incredibly talented acrobats, singers, dancers and comedians, this opulant night out is sure to entertain.

Bill Withers Social Club

With numerous hits such as ‘Lovely Day’, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Lean on Me’, American singer-songwriter Bill Withers is an icon of soul. His timeless back catalogue is celebrated at the Bill Withers Social Club. For one night only, Aotearoa musicians including Troy Kingi, Lauren Barus, Iraia Whakamoe and Daniel Hayles come together for an intimate homage to the music icon.

Judith Hill

A soul luminary who has carved out a reputation for her groovy R&B slow jams and foot-tapping vocals, Judith Hill comes to Aotearoa for the first time. Joined by a world-class band, that includes her father Robert Hill on the bass and mother Michiko Hill on keys, Hill will dazzle audiences in the Spiegeltent for two high-energy, funkadelic nights only.

Rupi Kaur

Spoken word sensation and bestselling author of milk and honey and the sun and her flowers Rupi Kaur brings her deeply personal and evocative poetry experience to the Auckland Town Hall for one night only. Taking audiences on a journey through universal themes of love, loss, friendship and strength, Kaur pairs her captivating poetry with original music scores for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience.

Spark Auckland

Thousands of biodegradable sparks will illuminate Pukekawa/Auckland Domain for three special evenings. Spark Auckland, a free, outdoor event showcases the dazzling work of Studio Roosegaarde that uses state-of-the-art technology to recreate the magic akin to fireflies floating across the park.

Open Stage: A Mixtape for Maladies

In Open Stage: A Mixtape for Maladies, acclaimed theatre-maker Ahi Karunaharan explores the idea of memory in a tale about a family forced to flee Sri Lanka, bringing with them to Aotearoa a mixtape of obscure songs. An ensemble cast of storytellers, musicians and dancers delve into the stories behind the songs.

Sugung-Ga: The Other Side of the World

Through Korean artforms of puppetry and musical storytelling, Sugung-Ga: The Other Side of the World reimagines the fable of the tortoise and hare. Delightfully creative and charming, and suitable for audiences of all ages, this performance features clever puppetry and object work by talented artist Suho Moon.

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