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Our top picks for the Christchurch Arts Festival

From theatrical world premieres to stunning artworks, the Christchurch Arts Festival is not to be missed.

By Jessica-Belle Greer
With an already well-respected arts scene, the Christchurch Arts Festival is bringing a smorgasbord of cultural feasts to the Garden City, while promoting local acts at the same time.
Here are Simply You's picks of the festival. But you'll have to book your tickets quickly - the events run from August 30 to September 17.

Play on

A number of high profile New Zealand musicians perform some of Shakespeare’s most well-loved soliloquies in Play On.
Banding together again to celebrate the release of an album of the same name (after a successful premier at the Pop-Up Globe in Auckland) Julia Deans, Ria Hall, Paul McLaney and more are making their way to Christchurch to share their sound.
From $39
Wednesday August 30
Isaac Theatre Roayl


Why travel to Auckland to see an art gallery when the gallery will travel to you?
At-Large's owner and art dealer Anna Miles is coming to Christchurch for one week only to showcase a curated range of pieces from artists including ceramicist Richard Stratton, photographer Allan McDonald and painter Adrienne Vaughan.
Monday 11- Saturday 16 September
The National

Beyond Calligraphy

The Guangdong Modern Dance Company brings Beyond Calligraphy to Christchurch, with stories that challenge the physicality and grace of dance.
The award-winning work begins with 'Upon Calligraphy', developed from the stylistic essence of Chinese script styles. 'Ink Wash Landscape' pays homage to the spiritual essence of ink wash paintings in contrast to communication in the digital era.
From $20
Saturday September 9
Aurora Centre

Ephemeral City

This year at the Arts Festival, a cardboard skyscraper will rise in the middle of town. Play your part in building a miniature city with only cardboard boxes, tape and a team spirit with Ephemeral City's free workshops.
Learn about the inner workings of architecture or have a blast demolishing these structures the following day.
Register for the workshops by emailing
Tuesday 5 - Saturday 9 September
Market Square, The Arts Centre

Erewhon Revisited

Shedding new light (literally) on Samuel Butler’s classic NZ novel, Erewhon, acclaimed playwright and newly qualified 'Magic Lantern Showman' Arthur Meek will premiere 'Erewhon Revisited' in Christchurch.
With mesmerising light displays and witty narration this show is sure to be a delight.
From $45
Tuesday 12 - Saturday 16 Septmeber
Great Hall, The Arts Centre

Stopped Short by Wonder

Works by one of twentieth century's most original artists, and Cantabrian, Len Lye are coming to the Christchurch Art Gallery for the length of the festival.
Len Lye: Stopped Short by Wonder includes kinetic sculptures, paintings and films. And while you check out this free exhibition, make sure you leave time to also see colorist Henri Matisse's world famous 'Jazz' painting, also on show for the festival.
Saturday August 5 - Sunday November 12
Christchurch Art Gallery

My Own Darling

Award-winning poet and Ted talk sensation Grace Taylor brings her unique voice to theatre in this intrguing show, My Own Darling.
Accompanied by a pumping soundtrack, Taylor celebrates the people you might otherwise pass by.
From $36
Tuesday September 12
Papa Hou YMCA

Exposing Edith

Legendary French star, Edith Piaf is brought to life in Exposing Edith. A stunning mix of authentic French chanson and contemporary sounds, which shot the songstress known as ''The Little Sparrow' to stardom, this show won 'Best Cabaret' at the Adelaide Fringe festival.
Songs featured include 'La Vie en Rose', 'Milord and Non' and 'Je Ne Regrette Rien', along with stories of Piaf's extraordinary life.
From $45
Saturday 2- Sunday 3 September
Great Hall, The Arts Centre
For more information on all of these shows, visit
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