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Hamilton Arts Festival brings exuberance across age groups



Hamilton Arts Festival 2023 celebrated varied artistic expressions (Photo Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, March 9, 2023

Hamilton Arts Festival is undoubtedly an event which brings exuberance to Hamilton’s cityscape with an array of talented performers, artists, and creative geniuses all at one place.

This year was no different. After cancellation of the event last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was refreshing for the city to see how the event also grew by leaps and bounds. With the magical Hamilton Gardens firmly established as the heart of the Festival, this year it extended the footprint to now include the Meteor, Waikato Museum, Clarence Street Theatre and Victoria on the River as add on venues for various activities ranging from theatre, music, exhibitions and dance events.

The event was busy with weekends drawing larger number of crowds. From children to senior citizens, there was bound to be a performance that everyone was looking forward to at this year’s festival.

The Festival Hub, which was at the heart of the action had free and live entertainment celebrating local artists and musicians, every night of the festival while relaxing with a drink and enjoying some incredible locally-produced food all complemented with stunning sunsets over Turtle Lake.

From children to senior citizens, there’s bound to be a performance that everyone will love at this year’s festival. Comedy, music, theatre, dance, cabaret, puppet show, Symphony Orchestra and acrobatic performances.

Tutus on Tour’ is performing around various cities in March, 2023 (Photo Supplied)

For the young Art lovers

A show that received great reviews and enchanted the young audiences was the puppet show “The Boy with the Wings.” Using puppetry, songs, storytelling, and exquisite hand-crafted sets that magically unfolded out of boxes, award-winning theatre company Birdlife Productions delivered laughter, tears and thrilling adventure when a young man’s epic journey unites with the miracle of Kuaka/Bar-tailed Godwit migration.

In this high-tech fast-paced digital world, The Boy with Wings offered families an alternative to ‘screen time’ that allows space in ‘real-time’ for children to watch, listen, reflect and join in. Melded with a real-time ornithological lecture, this is a comic, touching, and environmentally-focused story that dares us all to follow our dreams. Designed specifically for children ages 5 to 9 but loved by all ages, the show was one of the main highlights of this year’s festival.

A review from Thatreview, The New Zealand Performing Arts Review & Directory said, “This is a gem of a puppet show. The set is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The Sanders’ know how to construct beautiful worlds from your everyday cardboard box.”

Watch a quick video here.

Kiwi Indigo Festival brought many communities together (Photo Supplied)

Kiwi – Indigo Festival

Presented in partnership with Indigo Festival, the Kiwi Indigo festival at the Hamilton Arts festival was a celebration of New Zealand, as a melting pot of cultures all living together on two small islands tucked away at the bottom of the globe. This special free event brought together over 200 performers representing the many cultures that make up the community.

The show was vibrant, with many cultural performances, that represented inclusiveness through art and performance.

Royal New Zealand Ballet

To begin their 70th year, Tutus on Tour 2023 looks affectionately back at the RNZB’s early days, with performances in some of Aotearoa’s smaller cities and towns and loveliest historic theatres.

A carefully curated collection of works which encapsulated the history of ballet, and RNZB’s Artistic Director Patricia Barker’s desire to share treasures from the RNZB’s recent past alongside works that the dancers were excited to perform was on show at this year’s festival.

Le Papillon and After the Rain, made almost two centuries apart, both showed the intimate magic of a couple dancing together, creating a miniature world in the spotlight onstage.

The programme is completed with two works for eight dancers- the New Zealand premiere of Brian Enos’ elegantly neo-classical Cold Winter’s Waiting and Greg Horsman’s classical showpiece Holberg Suite, created for Tutus on Tour in 2009 and now given a welcome revival. ‘

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Hamilton.

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