Arts Council Chairman Dick Grant says New Zealand made a strong impact in Scotland this year, with coveted awards, sold-out shows, high media awareness and positive reviews. He says excellent relationships have been built with a number of international presenters and partners and several companies are already in conversation about onward touring opportunities.
Creative New Zealand funding helped more than 200 New Zealand artists to participate in seven different festivals in Edinburgh, regarded as the largest arts market in the world.
“I would like to congratulate the companies and artists who pulled out all the stops to get these results, “ says Dr Grant. “It’s a huge undertaking to get a show to Edinburgh and once there the international competition is enormous. The payoff can be fantastic, but it takes hard work and an enterprising spirit to get there.”
“Some of the tremendous opportunities to come out of this year’s festivals are still being negotiated, but we are already celebrating some highly successful outcomes.”
Stand out successes include:
• A Herald Angel Award for dance company, Black Grace. These are awarded across the entire range of the Edinburgh festivals and artforms by The Herald newspaper’s team of arts writers to recognise excellence at “the world’s premier cultural occasion”.
• Little Dog Barking’s Duck, Death and the Tulip won a Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award. Fringe Review described this children’s puppet theatre adaptation of the Wolf Erlbruch book as “impressive, heart-warming and captivating.” The award was one of only two awarded at this year’s Festival Fringe.
• Meanwhile, Barnie Duncan, who was in Strange Resting Places, took out the inaugural Fringe Genius Award from The Skinny for his late night show, Calypso Nights, which received several five star reviews as well.
• Witi Ihimaera’s three events at the Book Festival sold out and he has received further invitations to other events.
• The New Zealand contribution to the Edinburgh Art Festival’s Commonwealth exhibition was hailed as the strongest component within the exhibition and received very positive feedback.
• Jazz trio, The Troubles were a hit at the Jazz and Blues Festival and sold out their last gig with rapturous applause and have further projects lined up as a result.
• Michael Houstoun and Gareth Farr performed separate and powerful concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival which also showcased Lemi Ponifasio and Mau’s new work I AM.
• Dance companies, Black Grace and Java Dance, with their Back of the Bus show, sold out, as did Royal Productions’ interactive zombie experience,The Generation of Z. With more than 3,000 shows on offer in the Festival Fringe, this was a phenomenal result.
• The Generation of Z was a massive Fringe hit, receiving significant media attention and offers from international producers.
• Haka was also a media sensation with numerous television and print features.
• The shows were well reviewed, with numerous four and five star reviews. Mutinesia’s play, Black Faggot was critically acclaimed.
• Creative New Zealand also worked closely with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to deliver the Backyard at the Roxy bar which promoted and sold New Zeland beverages including Babich wine, Monteiths’ beer, Old Mout cider, Karma Kola and Allpress coffee and became a popular bar through out the Festival.
Dr Grant says New Zealand can be very proud of its artistic offering internationally. “The NZ at Edinburgh season raised our profile for all the right reasons. I have no doubt we’ll see further doors open as a result.”
Grace Taylor and Tusiata Avia will participate in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in October and the Edinburgh Arts Festival exhibition Where Do I End and You Begin, with a contribution by New Zealand curator, Aaron Kreisler and five New Zealand visual artists, runs until 19 October.
Updated on 23rd July 2015