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Tairawhiti Arts Festival 2020

Theatre, live music and installations are among events planned for this year’s Maori arts-based Tairawhiti Arts Festival.

From October 2-11, Turanga locals and visitors to the region will have more than 40 opportunities to engage with arts and performance.

Trick of the Light Theatre (The Bookbinder, The Road That Wasn’t There) returns to the festival with two performances of Troll on October 4.

Described as a lo-fi, wi-fi fable that combines storytelling, projection and puppetry, Troll features writer/performer Ralph McCubbin Howell as 12-year-old Otto — who is 13 online and getting away with it.

He lives in an old wooden house with his mum, dad and sister, a chain-smoking Icelandic granny, and an ancient malevolent troll who’s started living in the wall.

On October 6-7, Maoriland Pop-Up Cinema presents a programme of short films and a rangatahi filmmaking workshop.

Films made at the workshop will premiere at the festival.

The cinema programme includes Nga Putake Shorts, an adventure with true and imagined stories of bravery and resilience, while Kia Manawa Ora presents a series of Maori short films that explore transformation and discovery.

Touring for the first time together as Reid & Ruins, Nadia Reid and Hollie Fullbrook present an evening of acoustic music at the War Memorial Theatre on October 9.

Reid’s lyrics have been described as “allegorical . . . brutally honest” while Fullbrook spans delicate folk, lustrous dream pop and ebullient psychedelia.

Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust’s devised production Turanga: The Land of Milk and Honey will be performed twice at the Lawson Field Theatre on October 9.

Using mixed media, music, visual projections, live artworks and youth voices, the show dives deep into the iwi’s past to create an atmosphere that questions accepted narratives and brings divisive issues to the forefront.

On October 9 and 10, Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival 2020 will present the world premiere of Silo Theatre’s production of Every Brilliant Thing, starring Anapela Polatai’vao. The production has been described as “the funniest play you’ll see about depression”.

A “warm, deep hug of a play”, Every Brilliant Thing takes an unflinching look at the guilt of not being able to make those we love happy, and encourages all of us to recognise the many beautiful things in life.

Dazzling lip syncs, sensational singing and celebrity transformations are promised for the drag extravaganza, Dragon’s Diva Den at the Festival Club at The Marina Restaurant on October 9-10.

Spot prizes and audience participation will round off an evening guaranteed to leave a smile on patrons’ faces.

Not only will former Gisborne man Rutene Spooner perform his solo show, Super Hugh-Man, on October 2, but on October 7 the international entertainer’s show, Rutene Spooner’s Sequinned Songbook, will include show-stopping tunes from the golden era of Broadway, modern musical theatre, and movies.

Spooner’s showbiz magic will fill the Festival Club at the Marina Restaurant, which offers a dinner and show package as well as show-only option.

Tipu Te Toi: Works in Development presents an opportunity to experience new voices and stories as they take shape as established and emerging playwrights, songwriters, performers and authors preview new works in development.

On October 11 at the Lawson Field Theatre, the Kerekere Whanau Trust presents Bill Kerekere, a tribute to the composer of works such as Tangihia, KaraNgatia e te Iwi te Manu Kotuku, and Tumaramarahoa.

Kerekere was former president of the Waihirere Maori Club and in 1972 he received an OBE for his work in Maori cultural performing arts.

The programme includes a rehearsed reading of excerpts from Victor Rodger’s riotous comedy Uma Lava.

Inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit and the famous line “hell is other people”, and performed by Anapela Polata’ivao, the work features three Samoan strangers — a lesbian academic, a closeted right-wing politician and a promiscuous minister — who walk into a room and discover hate at first sight. But this isn’t just any room, as they’re about to find out.

Te Huamanuka Luiten-Apirana wrote and performs Lip Sync, Kanikani & Twerk Off, the story of Kahu, Te Rina and Ariana who lose their mum in a fatal car crash. They launch a nightly lip sync to hold their whanau together. Then the first anniversary of their mum’s passing approaches.

A koha will be accepted at the door and all proceeds will go to the artists but patrons are asked to secure a ticket to help organisers manage attendance.

For the full programme, visit www.tetairawhitiartsfestival.nz/2020-programme

TRICK OF THE LIGHT: Writer/performer Ralph McCubbin Howell plays 12-year-old Otto in Trick of the Light Theatre’s show Troll. Picture by Tabitha Arthur
SHOWTIME! Former Gisborne man Rutene Spooner performs show-stopping tunes from the golden era of entertainment in Rutene Spooner’s Sequinned Songbook. Picture supplied
PROVOCATIVE: The Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust presents Turanga: The Land of Milk and Honey. Picture supplied
TALKING ABOUT DEPRESSION: Anapela Polatai’vao stars in Every Brilliant Thing. Picture supplied
DRAG NIGHT: Prepare for a night of fabulousness with Dragon’s Diva Den. Picture supplied
LIP SYNC: Te Huamanuka Luiten-Apirana’s Lip Sync, Kanikani & Twerk Off is part of a showcase of works in progress and passion pieces. Picture supplied
REID & RUINS: Nadia Reid and Hollie Fullbrook are to present an evening of acoustic music.Picture supplied