Top Picks for Auckland Arts Festival 2018

Experience the best works from New Zealand and beyond
2 November, 2017

Auckland Arts Festival returns in March 2018 with an exciting programme of performances and events from New Zealand and across the world, bringing the best of culture, creativity and cool to our shores.

The new season of dance, theatre, music, visual arts and more celebrates communities, histories and cultures. We've selected ten festival events showcasing different artistic disciplines that we think you should see.

Festival Playground
8 - 25 March, Silo Park

The festival is bringing you a whole new precinct for sensational music, art, food and family fun, that will take over Silo Park in March. You’ll find a host of exciting local and international acts who will take the stage at the new music arena. There will also be room for quite possibly the coolest thing in the world: an enormous House of Mirrors that will amaze everyone from wide-eyed youngsters to thrill seekers and explorers, to selfie and photo fanatics.

House of Mirrors
8 - 25 March, Festival Playground, Silo Park

A feast for the eyes, House of Mirrors is also the ultimate selfie sensation. But in a world consumed by digital technology, perhaps its greatest special effect is the extraordinary optical illusion it achieves through real, tangible spaces. An open-air installation, this impressive structure is very much an outdoor experience, and will incorporate the light and weather of the surrounding Auckland environment, among other surprises, for those venturing inside its walls.

9 - 18 March, Q Theatre

The ambitious and richly aesthetic new play from British-born, New Zealand-raised Sri Lankan playwright Ahi Karunaharan is a luxurious and sweeping saga that spans thousands of years, between the tea estates of Sri Lanka and a distant future. Tea encompasses characters, histories and continents to weave a tale of legacies, prophecies and love. The show has an original score influenced by traditional Indian and Sri Lankan music and a lavish set designed by the remarkable New Zealand visual artist Tiffany Singh.

9 - 25 March, ASB Waterfront Theatre

A radical, international award-winning theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984, is on its way to shake and rattle Auckland. Set in a world where an invasive government keeps a malevolently watchful eye on its citizens, this arresting and much-lauded staging explores surveillance and identity and how Orwell’s fiction has become our reality.

À Ố Làng Phố
​15 - 18 March, The Civic

Using huge bamboo poles, baskets and other astonishing props, French–Vietnamese company Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam spins the tension between tradition and modernity into a delightfully poignant celebration of Vietnam and its changing landscapes. Telling a story of Vietnamese culture in transition, the performers contrast scenes of custom and agriculture with the restless sights and sounds of a modern metropolis, performed to a live mash-up of serene South Vietnamese music (Cai luong) and contemporary hip hop. Extraordinary feats of juggling, contortion and acrobatics take on a spectacular new form with the aid of towering bamboo – the signature aesthetic of Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam.

The Drums of Fire
21 - 25 March, various locations in central Auckland

Masters of costume and fire play, the players behind The Drums of Fire are sorcerers of a certain kind of ritualistic experience, able to hypnotise crowds of all kinds and ages with heart-racing drum rhythms and a startling physicality of performance. Fighting fire with fire, they will set alight this late-summer spectacle with scorching pyrotechnic effects and excite onlookers into a frenzy of dance with scenes that hark back to medieval rites. The performers will follow a route around the central city, beginning in one location and ending in another. Join them for a parade like no other.

The Far Side of the Moon
22 - 25 March, ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

Part-thriller, part-lecture, part-conjuring trick this is a quirky, beautiful and often funny play that will make moon junkies swoon and poetry lovers rejoice.Two brothers, so estranged one could well be living on the moon, are reeling from the death of their mother. The sibling rivalry of the two brothers who each finds in the face of the other an image of his own disfigurement is layered against an exploration of the space race between the US and the Soviet Union suggesting it was a product of narcissistic rivalry rather than scientific enquiry. Featuring impressive puppetry and an enigmatic score alongside's Robert Lepage's masterful stagecraft, this is a rare opportunity to experience one of the famed theatremaker's very best.

22 - 25 March, Q Theatre

This brilliant, utterly compelling hit play, a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe and London's National Theatre, tackles the Beslan school siege from the perspective of two wise, indomitable youngsters caught up in the tragedy. The horror of those days will never be forgotten and remembering is painful. But this challenge has been thoughtfully and beautifully overcome in this powerful work by Dutch playwright Carly Wijs.