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The New Zealand Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016

Running in Wellington over three weeks from 26 February – 20 March 2016, the New Zealand Festival is the country’s largest celebration of cutting-edge arts and culture. One of the five biggest festivals in Australasia, it has sold approximately two million tickets and drawn a total attendance of more than five million people to its free and ticketed events over the past 15 festivals. 


Known as a trailblazer and champion of art in all its forms, the Festival celebrates its 30 year anniversary in 2016 with a programme designed to “kick up the arts!”


Since 1986 the New Zealand Festival has been creating extraordinary encounters between artists and audiences. It has grown from a single event into a multi-event programme that includes everything from the Wellington Jazz Festival and biennial Lexus Song Quest to one-off occasions such as this year’s Shakespeare’s Globe touring production of Hamlet and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (18 – 21 February 2016).


Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is known as a hub for the arts and its innovative coffee, beer and cuisine scene. Dubbed the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, Wellington is the ideal destination for a celebration of local and international talent during the New Zealand Festival. 


Artistic Director Shelagh Magadza says, “For this milestone Festival we’ve pulled together the very best international artists. We’re creating experiences you wouldn’t be able to enjoy without flying across the world, and bringing them right to our doorstep.”


The 2016 Festival programme celebrates an array of iconic artists. One of the USA’s top 25 most influential people according to Time magazine, trumpeter and band leader Wynton Marsalis is the biggest name in jazz. The ensemble he leads, the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra, will be staying in Wellington for nearly a week for a special Residency, performing Marsalis’ Swing Symphony with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a jazz concert, and delivering an education programme for Kiwi students.

Adored by celebrities from Alan Rickman to Madonna and considered one of the most important artists of all time, the life and art of the late dance-maker Pina Bausch will be recognised through a series of events. Including the first ever appearance in New Zealand of her extraordinary company Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.


Alongside the big names are a series of experiences to transform the capital, explains Magadza: “Wellington is the perfect stage for our Festival, one of the reasons I believe it has such enduring success – and will get better and better.”


The full Festival line-up can be found at festival.co.nz.  

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