New Zealand at Edinburgh 2014

With more than 200 Kiwis in this year’s Edinburgh Festivals, there’s heaps of local talent to check out up north.


10548274_482400411896085_4759113064136032457_oHere’s a look at the Kiwi events at the festivals:

Edinburgh International Festival (EIF):

I AM Lemi Ponifasio/MAU Edinburgh Playhouse
Following his acclaimed performances of Tempest: Without a Body and Birds With Skymirrors at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2010, Lemi Ponifasio returns to Edinburgh with a new theatre work inspired by the legacy of the First World War and its impact around the world. I AM explores the power of art to transform and elevate us, to give us hope and a future, in counterbalance to the horrors wrought by war. A co-production by Festival d’Avignon, Ruhrtriennale-International Festival of the Arts, the Edinburgh International Festival and Auckland Arts Festival. 

Relict Furies from Gareth Farr (performed by The Scottish Ensemble and Commonwealth Strings), The Queen’s Hall
Composer Gareth Farr’s new commission (a world premiere) is part of a vibrant celebration of the richness and diversity of music-making across the Commonwealth. Farr’s commission, with a libretto by Paul Horan, features alongside works by Elgar, Vaughn Williams, Peter Sculthorpe and Tippett performed by the Scottish Ensemble and Commonwealth Strings. Co-commissioned with the New Zealand Festival.

Michael Houstoun, Piano, The Queen’s Hall
Michael Houstoun is one of New Zealand’s finest musicians, praised around the globe for his vivid, fiery playing and for the clarity of his incisive interpretations. His festival recital contrasts glowing music by Commonwealth composers – Vaughn Williams and Douglas Lilburn – with glittering keyboard masterpieces from Ravel and Rachmaninov, all of which show off the power and poetry of the piano.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

The Factory, Kila Kokonut Krew, Assembly Hall
New Zealand’s first-ever Pacific musical, The Factory, is a vibrant, funk-fuelled and entirely unique exploration of the Samoan migrant experience. Opening with a powerful call to ancestral roots delivered by the cast, The Factory is a moving, heart-felt story filled with music, song and dance.


Black Faggot, Multinesia Productions, Assembly, Roxy Upstairs
It’s not easy being young, gay and Samoan – especially when God and your mother are watching. A parade of colourful characters collides in this hit from the Auckland and Melbourne Fringe festivals. Black Faggot is written by leading New Zealand playwright Victor Rodger.


Strange Resting Places, Cuba Creative, Assembly 2
Combining live music with drama, comedy and performed in Māori, Italian and English, Strange Resting Places shines a light on the complex emotional bonds of New Zealand’s wartime history and the connections Māori shared with the Italians through whānau  (family), kai (food) and waiata (song). Strange Resting Places, written by Paolo Rotondo and Rob Mokaraka, is theatre crafted from extensive research, contemporary storytelling and personal experience. Originally commissioned by Taki Rua

Duck, Death and the Tulip, Little Dog Barking, Summer Hall
Adapted from the award winning book by Wolf Erlbruch, Duck, Death and the Tulip is a gentle, warm and witty story about an unlikely friendship between Duck and a character who introduces himself as Death. Together Duck and Death learn about the wonders of life and the sadness of death. Directed by Nina Nawalowalo with music from Gareth Farr, the show uses mime, magic and puppets, to tell a very special tale.

The Generation of Z: Edinburgh, Royale Productions, Container Yard, Assembly Garden
The Generation of Z is immersive, site-specific theatre at its most intense. Thrust into a post-apocalyptic world where the threat of zombie attack is imminent, audiences must fight for their survival. Drawing on the conventions of zombie movies, the show employs pre-recorded movie footage, live CCTV footage and a large cast of security guards and zombies performing in a maze-like security containment depot. The Generation of Z had a sell-out season after its premiere in Auckland in 2013.


On the Upside Down of the World, Auckland Theatre Company and Laurel Devenie, Assembly Roxy Upstairs
Written by award-winning playwright Arthur Meek, On The Upside Down Of The World is based on the true story of intrepid Briton Lady Mary Ann Martin, who sailed to New Zealand to civilise the natives but instead found liberation and love as she fought against injustice dealt to Māori at the hands of the English.

Upside down
Black Grace, Assembly, Roxy Central 
Black Grace presents a collection of dance works by acclaimed choreographer Neil Ieremia. The work is rich in the story-telling traditions of the South Pacific and expressed with raw finesse, unique beauty and power.



HAKA, Te MatatiniAssembly Hall
New Zealand’s two leading Te Matatini kapa haka groups, Te Waka Huia and Te Whānau ā Apanui, present HAKA, the story of Te Hokowhitu ā Tū, the Māori Battalion, in a poignant commemoration to those who fell and those who returned.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle:
New Zealand’s two leading kapa haka groups, Te Waka Huia and Te Whānau ā Apanui, and 36 New Zealand Highland Dancers join world-famous pipes, drums and marching bands spectacular.


Edinburgh Art Festival:
Five New Zealand visual artists: Kushana Bush, Steve Carr, Gavin Hipkins, Shannon Te Ao and Yvonne Todd will take part in Where Do I End And You Begin, an international exhibition supported by the British Council. Curated by Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Aaron Kreisler, their work will join those of artists from South Africa, London, New Delhi and Vancouver. Where Do I End And You Begin will be presented across four floors of Edinburgh’s Art Centre, as well as several off-site locations.

Edinburgh International Book Festival:
One of New Zealand’s best known Maori writers, Witi Ihimaera, will take part in a series of events, exploring themes including post-colonial literature.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival:
New Zealand’s premiere contemporary jazz group, The Troubles, play a series of gigs, including being part of the Commonwealth Jazz Orchestra. Led by John Rae, a drummer and composer originally from Edinburgh.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival:
Poets, writers and performers Daren Kamali and Grace Taylor of Niu Navigations have been invited to present Kai Kasi at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. In this piece, they express what it means to be both island and city-born islanders living in diapsora in Aotearoa/NZ.