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Arts festival - the acts are on the way!

With less than three weeks until the second Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival kicks off, festival organisers are preparing for the arrival of international acts from the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA.

For the 2016 event, Festival Director Pitsch Leiser has worked closely with the Dunedin and Nelson Festivals to bring several high calibre international acts to New Zealand. “By joining forces with other festivals around the country, we can afford to bring quality overseas acts to Hawke’s Bay ” says Leiser.

One such performer is UK-based producer, director, writer and actor Guy Masterson, who is performing two extraordinary one-man shows at Napier’s Century Theatre. Globally renowned for his solo performances, Masterson has an impressive theatrical lineage, including his uncle, British actor Richard Burton and Italian superstar Marcello Mastroianni.

Winner of the prestigious Laurence Oliver Award, Masterson is the most successful and highly awarded international producer at the Edinburgh Festival, having presented more than 150 shows over 22 years.

The first of his two shows, Under Milk Wood, is a solo performance in which Masterson performs all 69 characters - men, women, girls, boys, cows, pigs, a horse and a cat – himself. This astonishing performance premiered in 1994, and has since played more than 2000 times around the globe.

Masterson’s second performance, Shylock, on the closing night of the festival will provide a fitting finale to the Napier festival offerings. Based on Shakespeare's famous villain from The Merchant of Venice, Shylock promises to be another dramatic and comical performance from this consummate entertainer.

The diverse line up of international acts continues with two Australian-based musical offerings - Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen and jazz musician Mike Nock.

Beginning their travels in Dunedin, Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen will bring their Euro-roots music to the Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent in Havelock North. Known for their exceptional musicianship and “great Aussie humour,” Mr Leiser expects them to be one of the highlights of the 2016 festival.

Also from Australia comes legendary jazz pianist and composer Mike Nock with two distinct performances showcasing his extraordinary talent.

Friday night’s Plugged in will see Mike Nock and his eponymous Trio presenting a funkier, more upbeat version of their music. On Saturday night, the Mike Nock Trio team up with the NZTrio to presentVicissitudes, a stunning composition created by Nock in response to the devastating Christchurch earthquakes.

New Zealand born Nock has resided in Australia for more than 30 years, becoming a leading figure on the Australasian music scene. In 2014, Nock was honoured by The Australia Council for the Arts with a prestigious Don Banks Music Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian music.

Australian cabaret show Songs for the Fallen has all but sold out with only a handful of tickets remaining for the second performance on Saturday night. With several other international acts including Australia’s Trash Test Dummies and Canadian county star Tami Neilson having sold out, Mr Leiser says local audiences clearly have a taste for top quality international acts.

“Bringing this standard of international talent to Hawke’s Bay is the icing on the cake for the festival,” says Leiser. “Hawke’s Bay audiences clearly want the best of what the big city festivals can offer and as long as the public continues to support us, we will continue to bring them.” - Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival

4 October 2017

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