The Hawke's Bay Arts Festival continues to shine a light on locally grown talent within our region, supporting and developing local creatives to showcase their work alongside national and international artists.
An important part of that local development is giving young people a voice and space to express themselves and their concerns for the world as part of the Festival.
Hawke's Bay Youth Theatre under the direction of Peter Cottrell and Champa Maciel, presents April's Fool, a powerful work of verbatim theatre, written by Australian playwright David Burton.
Described as charming, intelligent, ambitious and honourable, Toowoomba teenager Kristjan Terauds died on April Fools Day 2009 after complications from illegal drug use.
Kristjan's story is hardly a standalone tragedy. It is intimate, moving, thought-provoking and sometimes confronting, but ultimately an optimistic reflection on the choices we make and how they affect those we love.
April's Fool is at various times clinical, vulnerable, comical, and deeply spiritual. It brings the real voices of real people into the performance space, bearing a potent message for the audience and a wakeup call for the wider community.
Festival Opera, featuring Project Prima Volta and the Hawke's Bay Orchestra, will present The Cunning Little Vixen. Whether you're an opera lover or new to the genre, this will offer a wonder-filled opportunity to see the first opera performed at the Hawke's Bay Opera House since 2013.
It is the tale of a clever vixen, captured by a local forester when she is a cub. She later manages to escape from his clutches and return to the forest, leaving him haunted by her memory.
The forester realises that we humans are not so far from the animal kingdom and have much to learn from them. This opera premiered in 1924 and the music, which explores Czech folk music traditions, has been described as romantic and very beautiful.
In this stunning semi-staged Festival Opera production there are 130 performers with 78 singers on stage, including the soloists and a full symphonic orchestra. Rarely performed in New Zealand, The Cunning Little Vixen, originally written in Czech, will be performed in English, making it easily accessible to Festival audiences. Explore the transformational experience of live opera in our very own Opera House.
Hawke's Bay group Ish plays traditional acoustic music from around the world, with some stunning music from Bulgaria, Sweden, Moldova, Ireland, Brittany and Egypt.
Conceived during the 2020 lockdown Ish is the brainchild of Dana Parkhill. The Ish whanau pools its talent from various musical paths and includes, Louise Ward, Phill Jones, Johnny Goodhind, Joe Dobson and Chris Beernink alongside Dana Parkhill who are all based here in Hawke's Bay.
With their show Ishtopia this vibrant group has created a work aimed at taking you away from daily life in NZ to somewhere exotic, with music and songs to stimulate your memories or your imagination.
Join Ish for evocative sounds and relentless rhythms as they transport you to fire-lit camps, crowded taverns and fiesta dance floors playing fiddle, flute, bouzouki, banjo, bass, cajon and drums.
Paul Bosauder, who will perform the Tierra Y Mar Flamenco Project, has recently moved home after studying and performing flamenco guitar for 14 years in Spain to live in Napier.
He joins his sister's family who have been living in the Bay for several years. This concert will bring a truly once-in-a-lifetime flamenco experience to the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.
The audience will experience an authentic journey to the South of Spain to discover the essence of flamenco guitar and dance. Paul will team up with local musicians to create a unique flamenco experience enriched by collaborations with world-class New Zealand musicians who will explore the limits of flamenco dance, composition and improvisation.
Tierra Y Mar contrasts tradition and innovation, expression and discipline.
A special commission for the 2021 Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, Whare Kōrero, Stories Within Stories is an intimate theatre experience from the coastline of Te Matau A Maui, Hawke's Bay, directed and co-created by Puti Lancaster (The Contours of Heaven, As the Day Draws In), featuring Kristyl Neho and Eru Heke with their own stories.
The first half starts with A Thousand Thoughts A Minute a guide into the unequivocal world of Kristyl Neho, a self-confessed Drama Queen.
A story full of rich intense whānau characters and of flamboyant, feral decision making - this is pure and unadulterated Kristyl, full of soul, heart and comedy.
The Hunger Strikes Me - the second story is shared from the heart of one rangatahi, Eru Heke, is an exploration of voice, dreaming and whanau Eru reflects on the question "Who are we now?" in an intimate performance of utter charm and honesty, full of movement and poignancy.
These are local stories told by our best local talent. Kristyl Neho is a local and graduate of Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School acting degree. Founder and creative lead of Maia Dreams, Confident Me, working alongside tamariki in local schools, building confidence through performing arts here in Hawke's Bay. Eru Heke is a young actor from Heretaunga, who is at high school and has been involved in the performing arts for four years now.
Both are accompanied live by Matiu Whiting a local musician and graduate of New Zealand School of Music in a multitude of styles from contemporary to classical. For Puti Lancaster, a graduate of Toi Whakaari & Victoria University with a master's in Theatre Arts (directing), 2021 will be her fifth year in directing and co-creating diverse new theatre pieces focusing specifically on our local stories to show at the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.
The Festival Director, Pitsch Leiser, said: "Supporting local performers to be part of the Festival is about supporting the lifeblood of our creative community here in Hawke's Bay giving us an opportunity to better appreciate ourselves as a community and enrich us culturally as a region."
During the current lockdown all tickets for the Festival planned for 16-31st October can be purchased through www.hbaf.co.nz