Tauranga Arts Festival's set to top all expectations

Tauranga Arts Festival fields an extravaganza with something for everyone and with $6,000 worth of funding for festival programs, NZCT helps get the message out. These handy little pocket-sized programmes are now available from libraries, and various cafes around Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Pāpāmoa and beyond. The Tauranga Arts Festival uses these printed programmes as a key part of their marketing campaign.

General Manager of the Festival, Nikki Hansen says "We aim for a varied programme with a multiplicity of voices, so all corners of our community can see themselves in the stories shared. Our festival programme is curated to celebrate our place and the diversity of people in it - from mana whenua to the newest migrants. The wide selection of arts experiences along with the free community programming means there is no suggestion of arts elitism, but rather the opposite, a wonderful coming together of the community.

To ensure we are true to our vision in creating an inclusive festival, we have three performances that provide support for blind and low-vision audiences and have one relaxed performance. Working with Audio Described Aotearoa, performances of The Haka Party Incident and UPU will have live audio commentary, where key visual elements of the physical action will be described via earpiece to blind and low-vision attendees. These performances will be accompanied by a touch tour, where patrons will be introduced to the cast, feel costumes and familiarise themselves with the physical stage environment and sensory materials that are included in the performance.

Tea with Terrorists is a rich piece of storytelling which does not rely on physical action to connect with its audience, so is also completely accessible to blind and low-vision audiences. This particular production has a dedicated relaxed performance, where there will be some adjustments to the show and seating configuration to embrace patrons with sensory needs.

Through initiatives such as our school’s programme and our free community events, we strive to grow our future audiences and give opportunities for rangatahi to experience the arts. Where possible, we also look for opportunities to present performance and discussions in non-traditional spaces or venues. This is why you’ll see events popping up this Festival at the Edgewater Fan, the Cargo Shed and in unused retail spaces. In these ways we plan to continue reaching out to new audiences and funding from grant agencies like NZCT will allow us to reach much deeper into the local community.

For more information about the festival and accessibility head to taurangafestival.co.nz

Photo credit : Tauranga Arts Festival