Shows we can’t wait to see at the 2021 Auckland Arts Festival

Shows we can’t wait to see at the 2021 Auckland Arts Festival
After cutting their 2020 festival short due to COVID-19, AAF creators are excited to bring an eclectic mix of dance, theatre, live music, comedy, art, talks and community participation projects to audiences this year. 

A lineup of 100% Kiwi performers will hit the stage from 4 – 21 March for the 2021 Auckland Arts Festival/Te Ahurei Toio Tāmaki (AAF). More than 70 multi-art shows will feature across theatres, galleries and indoor and outdoor venues across the city.

From comedy nights and lively debates, to boundary-pushing theatre and dazzling music performances, these are the shows we can’t wait to see.

The Haka Party Incident (theatre)

Katie Wolfe’s riveting play relives the day when a group of engineering students rehearsing their annual mock haka were confronted by activist group He Taua. Combining documentary and stagecraft, the theatre event is provocative, resonant and unforgettable.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert (music)

Transport yourself back to 1982 and enjoy the magic of Steven Spielberg’s E.T The Extra-Terrestrial with the John Williams score performed live by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

The Artist (theatre)

Photo by Antti Saukko

Prepare to be amazed as international circus sensation Thomas Monckton brings a thrilling and inventive physical theatre show about a nutty painter with an almighty creative block.

The Griegol (theatre)

Illustration by Ed Watson

From acclaimed shadowplay theatremakers Trick of the Light Theatre, comes an eerie and elegant tale of love, death and monsters, cleverly told through puppetry, silhouettes, live music and animation.

Are the Arts Essential? (debate)

Six Kiwi stars take to the stage as they discuss, dissect and debate the economic, social and emotional value of New Zealand’s creative sector. Led by Toi Whakaari director Tanea Heke, the lineup features Kura Forrester, Madeleine Chapman, Toby Manhire, James Nokise, Alice Canton and Tainui Tukiwaho.

Estère – Into the Belly of Capricorn (music and theatre)

Photo by Bayly Moore

Captivating songstress Estère brings her dulcet tones and heavy basslines in an unmissable performance that weaves together music and immersive stagecraft inspired by mythology and metamorphosis.

The Tom Sainsbury Love Hour (comedy)

Photo by Mataara Stokes

Kiwi comedian Tom Sainsbury invites you to laugh and learn about the mysteries of love in this delightful comedy hour. Each night, Sainsbury welcomes a new star on stage, including Hillary Barry, Chlöe Swarbrick and Anika Moa, to talk heartbreaks, first crushes, date nights and all things love.

The Air Between Us / A Figure Exhales (dance)

Be dazzled as aerial dancers Rodney Bell and Chloe Loftus perform a dance suspended in the air amongst the trees at Coyle Park, a breathtaking outdoor performance choreographed by Zahra Killeen-Chance.

Sing to Me (theatre)

Sing to Me, photo by Philip Merry

Two worlds collide in this intoxicating modern romance inspired by the legend of Pania of the Reef. Set against the backdrop of the climate crisis, follow Ata and Whetū as they navigate cross-cultural relationships, grief and ideas of parenthood.

Visit for tickets and the full programme.


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