Spiegeltent bringing art to Bay

Hawke’s Bay is preparing for a heavy dose of quality culture with the launch of a new arts festival.

Havelock North Village Green will play host to the world famous Spiegeltent from October 27 to November 8 for an exciting inaugural event.

A detailed programme featuring national and international acts and performers will be available following the official launch in Hastings this evening from Harcourts offices in Napier, Hastings, Taradale and Havelock North, as well as local iSites.

Tickets to the varied line-up including dance, music, circus, cabaret, theatre and a special literary series go on sale tomorrow from 8am.

Built in 1920, the Spiegeltent has spent its lifetime at festivals and fairgrounds throughout Europe and beyond. Comprising wood, mirrors, canvas with velvet and brocade detailing it is bursting with personality and style – and is one of a handful left in the world.

Festival director Pitsch Leiser said the introduction of a comprehensive arts festival was overdue – and would go some way to filling a cultural gap left by the Hastings Opera House.

“It’s going to be huge – I first had the idea about eight or nine months ago. There was an opportunity to partner with the Taranaki arts people and share the cost of bringing the Spiegeltent – that was the catalyst,” Mr Leiser said.

“We have been missing out on quality cultural fare with the Opera House out of action. The famous Spiegeltent is an equally amazing venue – it has been touring the globe for the best part of 100 years.”

Depending on the success of this year’s event, it is hoped the arts festival will become a regular on the local calendar.

The diverse programme features many acts which have never toured the region – with a focus on covering all bases from children to adults and entire families.

In future organisers want to add a visual arts element. “It’s also helping to build those relationships with promoters.”

Hastings District Council and Napier City Council both came on board with the concept, Harcourts signed up as naming sponsor for three years, and Hawke’s Bay Today is among the many businesses and trusts backing it.

“[Harcourts] is a significant partnership which reflects the desire of the local community for high quality arts experiences in Hawke’s Bay,” Mr Leiser added. “The three-year sponsorship programme will give us the opportunity to plan ahead and grow the event into one of the foremost regional arts festivals in New Zealand.”

Harcourts Hawke’s Bay managing director, Kaine Wilson felt showing its support was a no-brainer and a natural fit.

“We are in it for the long haul, we see it as being the major event that Hawke’s Bay will see in coming years,” he said.

Support from outside organisations has enabled ticket prices to sit around the $30 to $45 mark. Funding has also enabled organisers to develop a secondary schools’ programme with shows specifically targeted to a youth audience.