This year's Hawke's Bay Arts Festival line-up includes a delightful mix of theatre with performers young and old, local and well-travelled, those that have made their mark and those that are exploring their voices for the first time on the stage.

Returning to Hawke's Bay after soldout seasons in Johannesburg and Edinburgh, Trick of the Light Theatre will present their most unique show, The Bookbinder. The work is spellbinding, both for children and adults, with simple yet inspiring sets, engaging storytelling, shadow play and puppetry.

The Bookbinder weaves an original dark fairytale in the vein of New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, and will be performed at Napier's retro lounge, the Paisley Stage

An Iliad sees celebrated New Zealand actor Michael Hurst join forces with rock luminary Shayne P. Carter. Riffing off each other, the two create an enthralling modern take on Homer's influential work. It has received rave reviews in Dunedin, Auckland and recently has performed at WinterFest in Taranaki.


Cellfish is presented by Taki Rua Productions and Theatre of Auckland, whose aim is to commission, produce, and develop theatre with a distinctively Māori voice.

They define themselves as creative rule breakers, continually evolving the definition of Māori theatre. Cellfish challenges two actors to portray a fast-paced interwoven story featuring seven characters.

Based on the real-life Shakespeare Behind Bars programme, the result is a funny and insightfully gripping work that takes us behind the walls of a New Zealand Correctional Facility and into the minds of its residents.

High Rise will be performed in an empty warehouse in the old Tribune buildings. Local actor Cameron Jones, recently returned from LA, takes us on a rollercoaster ride with his award-winning play written as a tribute to a story close to home. High Rise catapults to its climax with dangerous speed and an ending with a twist that holds the key to this piece. Don your hard hats and high-vis jackets and enjoy a gritty story right here from Hawke's Bay like you have never seen before.

Rants in the Dark is a hilarious unfiltered truth on parenting. Wellington blogger Emily Writes' best-selling book Rants in the Dark has been adapted into a play.

This is an honest, authentic, laugh-out-loud funny truth of parenthood and its "mess of contradictions". Bring your mum, take your husband, shout your wife, take your bestie to a show that will bring delight to all.

Beneath the Surface is a culmination performance by our 2019 Furnware Youth Ambassador programme. Each year the festival supports a group of senior secondary school students to be the next generation of performance creatives. This piece is a compilation of scripts, interwoven with narration and music that will create a touching performance of discovery, desire and determination.

• For more information and tickets for all these shows and more go to or at i-Sites.