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New Zealand artists at the Edinburgh Festivals 2017

This article is from 2017

NZ at Edinburgh

Shannon Te Ao: With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods

Best of the land of the long white cloud in Edinburgh this August

This August, artists, authors and theatre-makers from all over New Zealand will make Edinburgh their home for the month, as NZ at Edinburgh once again partners with the Edinburgh festivals to bring you some of New Zealand's most exciting artists.

From music and literature to comedy, visual arts and theatre, the NZ at Edinburgh 2017 season will be packed with an eclectic range of events, exploring themes of love, identity, devastation and negotiation as well as ideas of community, equality and friendship – and a lot of laughs along the way too.

With such a strong programme, this year's season is one not to be missed, offering the unique chance to explore the creativity and talent that exists throughout New Zealand from within the Scottish capital.

NZ at Edinburgh Art Festival
Award-winning Shannon Te Ao's new multimedia installation is the result of a collaboration between the Edinburgh Art Festival and New Zealand contemporary art gallery Te Tuhi. The video installation, With The Sun Aglow, I Have My Pensive Moods makes use of footage shot throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand, and various connected clips including an 1840s Māori song and a dance scene from a 1970s Charles Burnett film. By linking these differing motifs, Te Ao provides an exploration of the physical and emotional depths of love, grief, sickness and healing.

Gladstone Court, 179 Canongate, 27 Jul–27 Aug

NZ at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
For the Edinburgh Festival Fringe's 70th year, NZ at Edinburgh are bringing nine shows presented by innovative theatre makers and companies.

Wellington-based performance collective Binge Culture, known for their interesting and immersive productions, will unveil three shows, Break Up (We Need to Talk) (Summerhall), Whales (Assembly Gardens), and Ancient Shrines and Half Truths (Summerhall). Meanwhile, Julia Croft, creator of 2016's If There's Not Dancing at the Revolution, I'm Not Coming, will be returning with new show Power Ballad (Summerhall), described as part performance lecture, part karaoke party.

Award-winning Trick of the Light Theatre also returns, following a sell-out 2016 season of The Bookbinder, with the dark fairytale The Road that Wasn't There (Assembly Roxy), and Calypso comedy legend / Caribbean DJ Juan Vesuvius brings his turntables back to Edinburgh for I Am Your Deejay (Assembly, The Box).

For physical theatre and clowning, look no further than White Face Crew's La Vie Dans Une Marionette (Gilded Balloon), a whimsical story of a pianist and his puppet, packed full of hilarious moments and surprises.

Don't miss the hearty voices and cheeky humour of Modern Māori Quartet (Assembly George Square 3) who make their Fringe debut with a celebration of Kiwi music honouring the legends of Māori showbands with a contemporary 'Rat Pack' twist, while Eleanor Bishop's Jane Doe (Assembly George Square 2), is a powerful show reflecting on rape culture and sexual violence.

NZ at Edinburgh

NZ at Edinburgh International Book Festival
Some of New Zealand's most exciting contemporary writers will present their work at Edinburgh International Book Festival in partnership with WORD Christchurch and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Auckland poet Hera Lindsay Bird (left) will perform with Hollie McNish (21 Aug, 7.15pm). Fiction writer Courtney Sina Meredith will take part in a 21st Century Women panel (19 Aug, 8.45pm), as well as appearing in Reshuffling the Pack (20 Aug, 5pm) with Scottish poet and musician MacGillivray. Novelist, comic artist and blogger Sarah Laing partners with English comic creator Hannah Berry for a Graphic Novels of Influential Women (20 Aug, 6.30pm), and also hosts a reading workshop of Katherine Mansfield stories (20 Aug, 1pm). Plus, Rachael King, author and programme director of WORD Christchurch, features at Migrating Mythologies alongside Scottish writer Lari Don (19 Aug, 6pm).

Juan Vesuvius: I am Your Deejay

  • 4 stars

The Venezuelan calypso comedy legend brings his turntables back to Edinburgh to deliver the greatest and strangest DJ set you’ve ever experienced. Get in the club with Juan.

The Road That Wasn't There

  • 4 stars

This is a story about a girl, who followed a map off the edge of the world. Trick of the Light Theatre (The Bookbinder) present an award-winning dark fairytale combining puppetry, shadow-play, and live music.

Modern Maori Quartet: That's Us!

A classy celebration of New Zealand music honouring the legends of Māori Showbands. Hearty voices in epic harmony sharing Māori traditions and Kiwi stories that will warm your heart and make you cry with laughter.

Jane Doe

  • 4 stars

Based on trial transcripts from rape cases, frank and funny interview footage with young people, and text messages direct from the audience, Jane Doe is a participatory theatre show reflecting on rape culture, consent and sexual empowerment.

La Vie Dans Une Marionette

  • 3 stars

A whimsical story of a pianist and his puppet, packed full of gags, hilarious moments and surprises. Experience physical theatre and clowning at its finest, with fun for the whole family.


Gentle giants of the deep swim through the Fringe-littered streets, on a migration from Aotearoa New Zealand. But before they get back to the ocean, they strand! They need your help. Can you save the whales?

Break Up (We Need to Talk)

  • 3 stars

There’s no easy way to do this. An entire relationship lovingly created and destroyed over five hours. Come and go as you please and revel in the desperation, negotiation, devastation, and emotional blackmail.

Ancient Shrines and Half Truths

  • 4 stars

Join performance alchemists Binge Culture on an immersive audio experience to discover the city's hidden gems and meet Authentic Locals™.

Power Ballad

  • 5 stars

Part performance lecture, part karaoke party, Julia Croft (If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming) deconstructs gendered linguistic histories and rips apart contemporary language to find a new articulation of pleasure, anger and femaleness.

Sarah Laing on the Work of Katherine Mansfield

Sarah Laing, illustrator, author and creator of a graphic memoir of Katherine Mansfield, explores the work of the short story writer. Mansfield often wrote of feeling alienated in her native New Zealand because of the treatment of the Maori people and at 19 relocated to the UK where she became friends with the likes of D…

MacGillivray & Courtney Sina Meredith

MacGillivray and Courtney Sina Meredith are contemporary poets who play with the past and toy with tradition to create dynamic, daring new poetry and stories. MacGillivray’s The Nine of Diamonds reinterprets the story of the nine of diamonds, the 'Curse of Scotland'. Courtney Sina Meredith is a New Zealand poet, fiction…

Lari Don & Rachael King: Migrating Mythologies

Myths, legends and folklore travel the globe, emerging in various guises. Join two authors from two hemispheres to contrast and compare Celtic Selkies and other unworldly creatures. Scottish writer Lari Don melds Greek and Scots legends in her exciting First Aid for Fairies series, while New Zealander Rachael King…

Hannah Berry & Sarah Laing

Katherine Mansfield was the only writer of whom Virginia Woolf was jealous. The New Zealand icon, who died from tuberculosis at the age of 34, is brought to vivid life through Sarah Laing’s new graphic novel memoir. Hannah Berry’s Livestock is a savage satire in words and pictures in which human cloning is legalised while…

Hera Lindsay Bird & Hollie McNish

If poetry is a minority interest nobody told Hollie McNish or Hera Lindsay Bird, whose spoken word performances attract widespread attention on and offline, generating a fast-growing cohort of fans. After wowing us last year with Nobody Told Me, McNish returns with a new collection, Plum. Hera Lindsay Bird’s strikingly…

Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, Thordis Elva & Courtney Sina Meredith with Jackie Kay

Today, Jackie Kay brings together guests from three remarkably different continents. Argentinian novelist Gabriela Cabezón Cámara’s Slum Virgin tells the story of Cleopatra, a transvestite who renounces prostitution after the Virgin Mary appears before her. Icelandic writer Thordis Elva explains what made her decide to…

Shannon Te Ao: With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods

  • 4 stars

Shannon Te Ao’s powerfully affecting video installations, sound works and live performances often find their starting point in existing literary material (particularly Māori lyrical sources found in whakataukī (Māori proverb) and waiata (Māori song)), which the artist uses as devices to explore various social and…