Skip to main content

Christchurch Arts Festival Opens This Week

Christchurch Arts Festival opens this week with more than 50 shows spread over 19 days and including the biggest international line-up seen in the city for many years.

Festival director Craig Cooper says artists are coming to Christchurch from 14 countries as diverse as South Korea, Sweden, China, Mexico, Brazil, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.

From South Korea comes the hilarious Chef: Come Dine With Us! - one of 50+ shows at Christchurch Arts Festival 2017.

“Our first international artists – the South Korean cast and crew of Chef: Come Dine With Us! arrived in Christchurch this morning ahead of their opening night on Wednesday. And each day more and more artists arrive in the city.”

Today also marks the start of rehearsals of new commission The Things Between Us. “The cast will be gathering in Auckland and working on the show ready for it to open in Christchurch on 14 September.”

The Festival has its first shows on Wednesday night, opening with Chef: Come Dine With Us! at Charles Luney Auditorium, Play On – a roll call of New Zealand musicians performing Shakespeare’s “greatest hits”, while at The Piano, Polar Opposites features a 100-voice choir in the New Zealand premiere of Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living.

“Festivals are about showcasing a range of artforms and works and our opening night encompasses that with slapstick comedy and stunning music offerings,” Cooper said, adding he was looking forward toThursday’s opening night of controversial theatre piece Manifesto 2083 in Papa Hou, YMCA.

“This Festival is really exciting because we are using new venues which we haven’t had available in previous years – we’re back in The Arts Centre’s Great Hall, we’re using a really interesting intimate space in the YMCA and The Piano has opened since the last Festival.”

Some shows at the Festival are already sold out or have limited tickets available including Shifting Points Of View sessions with Clementine Ford Fight Like A Girl and an extra performance of Scriptless: First Class has been added to meet demand.

Christchurch Arts Festival takes place from Wednesday 30 August to Sunday 17 September. Highlights include VELVET: A Divine Discotheque Circus – a seductive fusion of disco, dance and circus featuring an international ensemble of music, dance and circus artists with legendary diva Marcia Hines; Olivier Grossetête’s Ephemeral City – using just cardboard boxes, tape and plenty of helping hands, a new building will be constructed in the centre of the city … and then demolished the next day; and two new commissions, Luke Di Somma’s new musical theatre piece The Things Between Us, and Arthur Meek’s multimedia adventure Erewhon Revisited.

Full details are available at

Christchurch Arts Festival acknowledges the support of Major Funders: Christchurch City Council and Creative New Zealand.

Images and the full programme pdf are available for download here

Updated on 18th September 2017