More than 200 Kiwis to take part in this year’s Edinburgh Festivals

Never before has such a large group of leading New Zealand actors, dancers, musicians, writers, Maori performing artists, spoken word and visual artists been invited to perform at the Edinburgh Festivals.


Edinburgh sees the final weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Edinburgh, Scotland, UK - 29th August 2009.More than 200 New Zealand artists will take part in NZ at Edinburgh 2014 this August.

The NZ at Edinburgh 2014, supported by the Arts Council of New Zealand (Creative New Zealand) , will feature New Zealand artists at seven of the Edinburgh Festivals: the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; the Edinburgh Art Festival; the Edinburgh International Book Festival; the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Included in the season are internationally acclaimed director Lemi Ponifasio and his company MAU; Auckland Theatre Company; composer Gareth Farr; Pasifika theatre group Kila Kokonut Krew; pianist Michael Houstoun; Te Matatini’s national kapa haka champions; dance company Black Grace; author Witi Ihimaera and many more.

Director of the Edinburgh International Festival, Sir Jonathan Mills, says:

“Two important landmarks in 2014 that we share in are the centenary commemoration of the First World War and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. These provide inspiration for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival and make the distinct contributions of the New Zealand artists central to the festival.”

I am delighted that we will be once again be showcasing the work of Lemi Ponifasio and his company MAU, and presenting the festival debuts of pianist Michael Houstoun and composers Douglas Lilburn and Gareth Farr. We also welcome a new generation of New Zealand’s musical talent in members of the Commonwealth Strings ensemble, brought together from across the Commonwealth especially for this year’s Festival.”

Eight companies take part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, appearing mainly at Assembly Festival and Summerhall, including Kila Kokonut Krew, Auckland Theatre Company and Black Grace.

Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Kath Mainland, says: “We’re thrilled that some of New Zealand’s most exciting creative talent will be in Edinburgh this summer. As the world’s largest arts festival, and one of the most significant international arts markets, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the perfect place to show off New Zealand’s cultural wares to the world.’’

Leading Te Matatini kapa haka groups, Te Waka Huia and Te Whānau ā Apanui and the New Zealand Highland Dancers will perform as part of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Producer and Chief Executive, Brigadier David Allfrey, says:  “We are delighted at the prospect of two such notable acts from New Zealand in our 65th season: a celebration of Our Home, Friends and Family. They will be performing separately and together to showcase the richness of New Zealand’s culture and heritage.

“Our connections with New Zealand are legion and we have a tremendous record of collaboration, on more than 30 occasions over the years. The unique combination of the highland dancers and award winning kapa haka will thrill our live audiences – 8,800 each evening, 220,000 in all – and our substantial international television audience.”  

Five New Zealand visual artists: Kushana Bush; Steve Carr; Gavin Hipkins; Shannon Te Ao and Yvonne Todd will take part in an international exhibition for the Edinburgh Art Festival, supported by the British Council and curated by Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Aaron Kreisler. This festival fills the city’s leading art galleries, museums and artist-run spaces during August.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Aaron Kreisler, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Creative New Zealand to bring some of New Zealand’s most talented contemporary artists to Edinburgh; the majority of whom will be presenting their work in the UK for the very first time,” says Sorcha Carey, Director of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera will attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival, participating in events on language and nations, the evolution of language and post-colonial writing. The festival features 80 authors and 750 events.

Leading contemporary jazz band The Troubles will play a series of gigs as part of the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival, including being part of the Commonwealth Jazz Orchestra.

Poets Grace Taylor and Daren Kamali of Niu Navigations have been invited to take part in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, a 10-day celebration of live storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity.