ASB Waterfront Theatre:

And sticking with the Arts Festival - and performances guaranteed to uplift and inspire – there's a rare chance to see South African theatre in Auckland this weekend thanks to Isango Ensemble. At first glance, the story may not sound like the happiest: main character, Asad, just eight years old, is forced to flee the ravages of civil war and forced migration but he's a resilient and resourceful hero whose story of surviving against the odds is brought to life through pulsing African song and dance. An epic journey, it's been critically acclaimed around the world as a "full-blooded hymn to hope" and "glorious, vibrant musical theatre that speaks to the biggest concerns of our age".

A Man of Good Hope, ASB Waterfront Theatre, tonight until Monday

Loft, Q Theatre:

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Can poetry give us hope? Especially in this day and age where the idea of slowing down for long enough to read or to hear, let alone learn an entire poem, seems like a long-fogotten luxury? Portugese playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues believes in the power of words, so he travels the world telling stories about famous writers, ficitional characters and his own beloved grandmother to show that language and literature can connect us all. But there's an added twist to this ode: as Rodrigues talks, 10 members of the audience will attempt to learn a poem, by heart, on stage. Part of Auckland Arts Festival.

By Heart, Loft at Q Theatre, until Saturday

A star-studded cast turns up the volume for Toku Reo Waiata.
A star-studded cast turns up the volume for Toku Reo Waiata.

Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall:

The best way to learn a language isn't by sitting a classroom going over and over the same words and phrases; it's to get out there, speak it and, if you get the chance, sing it. For one night only, some of our finest singers – Annie Crummer, Moana Maniapoto, Maisey Rika, Tami Neilson and Rob Ruha among them – join forces to turn up the volume on Aotearoa's most beloved waiata. It's a celebration of te reo Māori, song and the aroha of music.

Tōku Reo Waiata, Auckland Town Hall, Saturday night as part of the Auckland Arts Festival