Due to the impact of COVID-19 this event has been cancelled.

Akram Khan was destined to become one of the world’s leading dancers and choreographers.

When he was 20, Akram Khan – the visionary behind 2018 Festival triumph Giselle – ran from his childhood and never looked back.

He returns home in the documentary The Curry House Kid – to his memories of growing up on Brick Lane with his Bangladeshi parents, and to the violence and racism that shaped his everyday life – all of it culminating in a ruminative, hypnotic dance piece in an abandoned warehouse nearby.

The screening of The Curry House Kid is followed by a panel discussion as part of the  AAF Talks series curated by Rosabel Tan.

Listen to the RNZ interview with Akram Khan here

Dark Magic
A year on from the Christchurch Terror Attacks and against a global backdrop of increasing division and violence, it feels like there are increasingly higher stakes in the art we create and consume. So where to from here?

Tempo Dance Festival director Cat Ruka, theatremaker Ahi Karunaharan (Tea, A Fine Balance, My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak), poet Nida Fiazi and playwright Stanley Makuwe (The Dead Shall Rise Again, Black Lover) unpack the considerations they make when drawing on their own (and their communities’) experiences, the art that has changed their lives, and the very idea of hope.

Chaired by comedian James Roque (Boy Mestizo, Frickin Dangerous Bro).



Cat Ruka (Ngāpuhi / Waitaha) is a choreographer, educator and Artistic Director of Tempo Dance Festival. She is currently undertaking her Phd in Decolonial Practices for the Arts.

Ahi Karunaharan is an award-winning actor, writer, director and producer. His play Tea premiered at Auckland Arts Festival 2018, and in 2019 he presented A Fine Balance with Auckland Theatre Company and My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak with Silo Theatre.

Nida Fiazi is a poet and writing studies student at the University of Waikato. She is a Muslim, Afghan and former refugee and an advocate for better representation in literature, particularly for children. Her work has appeared in Issue 6 of Mayhem Literary Journal.

Stanley Makuwe is a playwright and works in psychiatry. He won Zimbabwe's 2016 National Arts Merits Award for his play, Chimbwido, Girl of War and his play, Black Lover, is being presented by Auckland Theatre Company as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2020.

James Roque is a comedian, writer, co-founder of Proudly Asian Theatre and one third of the sketch group Frickin Dangerous Bro. His show Boy Mestizo was nominated for the Fred Award for Best Show in the 2019 NZ International Comedy Festival. 


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Chair James Roque

Cat Ruka 
Ahi Karunaharan
Nida Fiazi
Stanley Makuwe 

Image Swan Films & All3Media International

The Curry House Kid (UK, 2019; directed by Nick Poyntz) is rated exempt. 46 mins.

[A] brave, beautiful documentary… The choreography is extraordinary: expressive, dynamic and deeply moving.

The Guardian (UK)