Most of the 19 or so New Zealand acts appeared as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including Bullet Heart Club’sDaffodils which won a Scotsman Fringe First, Best of the Fringe Award.
Selected to play at the iconic Traverse Theatre, Daffodils is a love story set against a backdrop of well-known New Zealand songs performed by the cast. “A show based on true life events that finally packs a serious emotional punch, wrapped in a bubblegum glove,” said Scotsman reviewer Joyce McMillan.
Visual sound artist Olivia Webb’s Voices Project, installed at Trinity Apse, was an aural commemoration of the Christchurch earthquake. The work included a video documentary about Webb working with the church choirs exploring community and collective mourning and was named a top five art exhibition to experience by The Guardian. Webb also created an emotive new work Lapides Vivi in the Apse using recordings of five choral workshops she held with 100 local participants.
Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager for International Cath Cardiff said New Zealand is developing a reputation for bringing quality work to the festival and appreciated the ongoing encouragement and support of the city’s arts organisations and community.
“Over the years Creative New Zealand has funded the ongoing development of many of the works that toured so it’s thrilling to now have work and performers reaching international audiences at such a premier event.”
Creative New Zealand invested about $126,000 to support the touring to Edinburgh and $19,000 for six arts practitioners to take part in the Edinburgh festivals’ international delegate programme Momentum.
Delivered in partnership with British Council New Zealand, Momentum allows selected delegates to pursue opportunities to present future work and to build professional skills and networks.
“British Council is privileged to work alongside and support talented kiwi artists to build and enhance their international profile in Edinburgh. It also demonstrates that the strong relations we have built through the Momentum programme with the Edinburgh Festivals are truly invaluable,” said Meijing He Head of Arts and Creative Industries at the British Council in Hong Kong.
Also in Edinburgh this year was Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Maggie Barry, who attended the Edinburgh International Culture Summit during the Festival. In her speech she said, "We must never lose sight of the fact that the arts are a powerful source of strength and fulfilment … A society that speaks and thinks imaginatively and creatively is a society that can be innovative and adaptable socially, environmentally and economically.”
Fringe shows supported by Creative New Zealand this year included two plays by Wellington theatre company Trick of the Light. They were Beards! Beards! Beards! and five star reviewed The Bookbinder, which incorporated shadow play, paper art, puppetry, water play, music and light.
Writer and actor Arthur Meek, who was in Edinburgh on a playwright exchange, adapted his hit play On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover by re-writing it to feature Hillary Clinton.
Author of The Invisible Mile, David Coventry, appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival event The Game of Life.
Tim Carlsen’s One Day Moko, Thom Monckton’s Only Bones, Julia Croft’s If There’s No Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming and two pieces by Java Dance; Back of the Bus and In the Wine were also supported by Creative New Zealand.
Comedian Rose Matafeo independently toured her show Rose Matafeo is Finally Dead. The Telegraph's Rupert Hawksley awarded the show five stars, saying she has "constructed something special here: a joyous, high-energy - and technically complex - assortment of song, dance and more gilt-edged routines than you can shake a chrysanthemum at."
Other independent artists and their work included Penny Ashton’s Promise and Promiscuity, James Nokise’s So So Gangtsa and Torum Heng’s Keep Out of the Box. Cult comedy show FanFiction Comedy returned to the festival with all-new geek stories and special guests. Author Bruce Gilkison talked to UK journalist Sheena McDonald about In the Footsteps of James Hogg the tale of his “flawed, lovable, eccentric”, ancestor.
Herald journalist Stephen Jewell covered the event: Kiwi works shine on global stage at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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