About us

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Kia ora & Welcome

Welcome to Auckland Arts Festival - Nau mai, Haere mai ki Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau.

The arts are like a waharoa to a new world, a gateway to welcome you. So welcome to the Auckland Arts Festival where the programme crosses time, cultures, borders and art forms and has diversity at its heart. 

Millennia ago humans discovered fire and it changed the course of history. Fire remains an elemental force that people from around the world, across cultures and religions, use to celebrate, to worship and to remember. Julia Deans’ song We Light Fires says it beautifully ….

we light fire to not forget  …
we light fire for the tears in our eyes
we light fire waiting for the sunrise….
we light fire in communion
another year in a circle around the sun…..

The Auckland Arts Festival opens with Carabosse’s Fire Garden where you can walk amongst the flaming sculptures and be transformed.

Other Festival shows feature moments in history, how they have impacted on our world.  Such as the establishment of the Stewart dynasty between warring tribes of Scotland in The James Plays and the meeting between President Nixon and Mao Tzedong in John Adams’ opera Nixon in China. We move through time and see our world through a new lens.

We cross cultures with Neil Ieremia and Swee Boon Kuik’s choreography on Black Grace in Changes, and Nina Nawalowalo’s Marama.  We cross borders with m¡longa from the streets of Belgium to the calle of Buenos Aires.  And John Psathas’ No Man’s Land finds one place where there are no borders.  Art forms mingle in Te Pō and The Chorus; Oedipus from Korea.  In Ruaumoko performers and artists of all ages and communities join together to become one voice. 

There are also many moments to laugh, to sing along, admire an artist and be swept away with a story. There is magic and memories a-plenty. 

Thanks to the many artists who have contributed their art to this Festival for all of us to experience.

Thank you to all the funders, sponsors and supporters whose generosity lets us bring the work of great artists to audiences across this wonderful city of ours.

John Judge, Auckland Arts Festival Trust Chair, Carla van Zon, Artistic Director, David Inns, Chief Executive.

Photograph: Stephen Robinson