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What to see at the Taranaki Arts Festival

The shows to see, and stars to watch rise, at the annual Arts Festival.

By Jessica-Belle Greer
Perhaps, Perhaps... Quizas at the Taranaki Arts Festival

With 44 acts staged across 13 different venues in Taranaki, it can be tricky to decide what to see at the Arts Festival.

But never fear, the Simply You team has found its top 10 picks to help you priorities the extensive schedule, which runs from Thursday August 17 – Sunday September 3.

Velvet

Velvet, a show inspired by the famed New York nightclub Studio 54, including disco, dance and circus acts, is bound to be kaleidoscopic fun.

From Australia, the show is an international ensemble of performers, including American-Australian songstress Marcia Hines.

Details:
From $24
Thursday August 31 - Sunday September 3
TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace

Won’t make it to the show at the Taranaki Arts Festival? Velvet is also showing at the Christchurch Arts Festival (September 7 – 17) and the Auckland Live International Cabaret Season (September 21-29).

Sal Valentine & The Babyshakes

One of New Zealand's favourite live acts Sal Valentine is starting a new tour with a big band and new repertoire of original material.

Infusing his writing with pop music, soul, RnB, jazz, hard rock and funk this is a unique, modern and catchy show. Hot on the heels of an EP release, hear these songs live before anyone else.

Details:
From $32
August 31 – Friday September 1
Inglewood Town Hall and Crystal Palace

The Absurdity of Humanity

Expect to be wowed by the latest offering, The Absurdity of Humanity, from Shona McCullagh and The New Zealand Dance Company, including two engaging acts of energetic movement, wild comedy and raw human emotion.

The first, 'Matter' considers questions of purpose within a surreal network of giant pillars. While 'Whispers from Pandora’s Box' is a black comedy exploring the good and evil within human nature.

Get out of your comfort zone and see this two-edged show that defies expectation.

Details:
From $39
Sunday September 3, 6pm
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace

Also showing at the Christchurch Arts Festival and on a tour to Wellington and Marlborough in September.

Terry Moyle

Discover the Art Deco landscape of New Zealand with professional artist and writer Terry Moyle, and his partner and illustrator Rosie Louise.

They will share impressive research alongside a collection of stunning illustrations, which breathe life into Art Deco buildings around New Zealand, which are often sadly obscured, dilapidated, or even lost.

Details:
From $16
Sunday August 20, 2pm
Libri Lounge

Perhaps, Perhaps... Quizas

From Mexico, especially for the festival, Fringe darling Gabriela Munoz will delight Taranaki with an unrequited story of longing and laughter in the solo show, Perhaps, Perhaps... Quizas.

As heart-wrenching as it is hilarious, this hit show has captivated audiences the world over, including the 2016 Wellington Fringe Festival, where Munoz was named Outstanding Performer and the show was awarded Best in Fringe.

Details:
From $44
Saturday September 2 - Sunday 3
Crystal Palace

Also showing at the Christchurch Arts Festival

Spoken Word Open Mic Night

Celebrate National Poetry Day at the Puke Ariki Library with leading Taranaki artists and headliner My Own Darling creator Grace Taylor at the Spoken Word Open Mic Night.

Anyone is welcome to share their own work or favourite poems, by signing-up on the night or getting in touch with the organisers beforehand by emailing pukearikiadmin@npdc.govt.nz.

Details:
Gold coin donation
Friday, August 25, 6.60pm to 8pm
Level 1, Puke Ariki Library

Ria Hall

Fusing furious hip hop beats and richly layered vocals in English and Te Reo, Ria Hall is a free-thinking, edgy and unapologetic performer with an enormous vocal range that effortlessly shifts between styles.

Hall, who has collaborated extensively with a diverse range of artists such as Fly My Pretties and Tiki Taane, will be giving an exclusive preview of her long-awaited debut album, scheduled for release this September.

Details:
From $44
Saturday, August 26, 8.30pm
Crystal Palace

Also showing at the Christchurch Arts Festival

Miss Jean Batten

In this one-woman show, Alex Ellis plays Jean Batten on the final leg of her record breaking solo flight across the world.

Batten may have been as glamorous as a movie star, but she was also a great pilot who knew how to wield a wrench.

This moving show already has rave reviews from Wellington and Sydney.

Details:
From $39
Thursday August 31 - Friday September 1
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace

Hudson & Halls Live!

Highly entertaining TV chiefs Peter Hudson and David Halls were New Zealand’s original ‘Master Chiefs’, as well as a true love story, from a time when it was illegal to be gay in this country.

Todd Emerson (Hudson) and Chris Parker (Halls) replicate their famous onscreen chemistry in Hudson & Halls Live! to transport the audience to a retro television studio for a taste of riotous action, including an oven on fire and wardrobe malfunctions.

It’s a laugh-out-loud show that has already impressed audiences at the Silo Theater in Auckland.

Details:
From $39
Thursday August 17 - Sunday August 20
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace

Also showing at the Christchurch Arts Festival

Art Bites

Presented by Puke Ariki Library, the Art Bites lunchtime sessions with Taranaki artists are your chance to hear from the region’s leading creators, and to ask them your own questions.

Artists include painters Amanda Hewlett and Ian Axtell, stone sculpture and woodcarver Howard Tuffery, printmaker Antonia O'Mahoney, painter and recording artist Jordan Barnes and photographer Pat Greenfield.

Details:
Tuesday August 29 and Thursday August 31
Temporary Exhibitions Gallery, Puke Ariki

For more information on all of these shows visit artsfest.co.nz.

For more, see this month's Simply You magazine, visit our Facebook page, and follow us on Instagram.