Tauranga Arts Festival last night [Aug 8] launched its 2019 program in front of an invited audience of 530 people at Baycourt Theatre.
After a moving performance of the biennial festival's commissioned waiata, 'Takiri ko te Ata' (A Chorus Dawn), by a volunteer choir trained and led by Ria Hall, the program was unveiled by festival director Jo Bond.
Running from October 24 to November 3, the festival includes major home-grown talent, as well as performers from overseas.
Among New Zealand talent taking to the stage are singer-songwriters Nadia Reid and Reb Fountain, 'cowboy comedian' Wilson Dixon and theatre productions of 'Cellfish', 'Mr. Red Light' and 'Wild Dogs under my Skirt'.
Labour Weekend offers writing workshops led by Tim Balme, Kate De Goldi, Catherine Robertson, and Tracey Slaughter, while the Speaker program on November 2 and 3 includes financial writer Mary Holm, climate scientist James Renwick, parenting blogger Emily Writes and falconer Debbie Stewart. Panel discussions will examine diversity, racism and climate change.
Many shows offer group and student prices, and this year there is a new Arts Passport for student ID holders, which will see those registered with the festival's Facebook page receive daily updates on shows offering limited tickets for $5 one hour before the performance begins.