Marley, marionettes, Mansfield and more - Garden arts fest line-up revealed

The New Zealand Dance Company will perform Trolleys, a new work that combines elements of contemporary dance, ...
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The New Zealand Dance Company will perform Trolleys, a new work that combines elements of contemporary dance, acrobatics, street dance and parkour ... and supermarket trolleys.

An all-star musical tribute to reggae great Bob Marley will be the main event of the 2017 Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.

The concert on the Rhododendron Lawn on Saturday, February 18 will get the 10-day series of events under way with the homage to the superstar, who has had a massive influence on much of New Zealand music.

And many of New Zealand's best-known musicians will be converging on the city for the show. The line-up includes Tiki Taane, Boh Runga, Katchafire's Logan Bell, Ria Hall, Laughton and Fran Kora, Anna Coddington, Jayson Norris and Warren Maxwell from Trinity Roots.

Alex Ellis, who earlier this year thrilled festival audiences with her one-woman show Drowning in Veronica Lake, returns ...
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Alex Ellis, who earlier this year thrilled festival audiences with her one-woman show Drowning in Veronica Lake, returns with her new production, Miss Jean Batten.

Many of the musicians involved also collaborated on a recently released album of Marley covers, and concerts featuring a variation of the line-up will also be staged in Tauranga, Havelock North and Kerikeri. 

The Marley concert was one of 42 events announced at a special festival launch event at the gardens on Wednesday night, attended by about 100 people.

For those whose entertainment preferences don't encompass the soothing, uplifting reggae beats pioneered and perfected by Marley, there will be plenty more to choose from, including several staples of the annual summertime festival.

The Floating Theatre is an ingeniously-designed stage that features projected, reflected and dynamic imagery inside and out.
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The Floating Theatre is an ingeniously-designed stage that features projected, reflected and dynamic imagery inside and out.

The following night the Sunset Symphony concert by the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, this time with the theme of "A Viennese Midsummer Night".

Another regular event is the Opera at Twilight concert on February 22, which will feature soloists including Sarah Court, Elaine Wogan, Pamela Wallace and Clinton Fung performing works by Bizet, Mozart, Rossini and Strauss, among others.

And then there is the Mansfield Garden Party, a Sunday morning picnic in the Rogers Rose Gardens in a retro 1920s art deco style. Live music, vintage cars, fashion parades and even Charleston dance lessons will feature. The event is free, but gold coin donations to the development of the Katherine Mansfield Garden will be very welcome.

Warren Maxwell from TrinityRoots will be among the talent taking part in the Bob Marley concert at the Hamilton Gardens ...
Caleb Harris

Warren Maxwell from TrinityRoots will be among the talent taking part in the Bob Marley concert at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.

Festival programmes will shortly be distributed to the city's libraries and council buildings, and will also be available at the gardens, allowing prospective punters to peruse the shows on offer.

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Other likely highlights include La Vie Dans Une Marionette, a pantomime tale of a lonely pianist and the puppet he buys to keep him company, which employs clowning, dance and live music.

Alex Ellis, who thrilled crowds at this year's festival with her one-woman show Drowning in Veronica Lake will return with her new production Miss Jean Batten; and Hamilton's own Lyon sisters - Gwen and Ruby - will perform a mix of pop, classical and musical theatre numbers in the Victorian Garden Conservatory.

Gwen and Ruby Lyon will be performing everything from classical to pop to musical theatre in the Victorian Garden ...
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Gwen and Ruby Lyon will be performing everything from classical to pop to musical theatre in the Victorian Garden Conservatory on February 23.

This year's festival features two new temporary venues - the Pacific Crystal Palace, a 300-seat performance space that is based on the Belgian-designed spiegeltents of the 19th century; and the Jade Dragon Children's Theatre.

And one show is also a theatre stage in it's own right. The Floating Theatre, which can be seen at Turtle Lake for four performances, is an intimate experience that features an audience of 30 on the interior and a public spectacle on the outside.

On Friday, February 24 the Backyard Beats concert - an extremely popular part of the 2016 festival - will be staged. The line-up for 2017 features revered New Zealand funk band The Hipstamatics, supported by tribal electronica act J Geeks and reggae/funk/rock/hip-hop group Summer Thieves.

Elaine Wogan, Clinton Fung and Pamela Wallace will be performing numbers from the likes of Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, ...
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Elaine Wogan, Clinton Fung and Pamela Wallace will be performing numbers from the likes of Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, and the Marriage of Figaro.

Beatles fans will likely find much joy in the Helter Skelter concert on Friday, February 17 and Irish acts Mundy and the Seamus Begley Trio will perform on February 23.

The Marley concert is not the only Marley-themed event in Hamilton this summer. An exhibition - simply titled Bob Marley - featuring a selection of photographs and prints documenting the life of the musician will be shown at Waikato Museum from December 17 to April 2.

The Pacific Crystal Palace spiegeltent will be an exciting new venue for many festival acts, including the Trash Test ...
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The Pacific Crystal Palace spiegeltent will be an exciting new venue for many festival acts, including the Trash Test Dummies, Mundy, Helter Skelter, Le Vie Dans Une Marionette and Perhaps Hope.

Musical activist and entrepreneur Tiki Taane will be lending his talents to the Marley concert.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Musical activist and entrepreneur Tiki Taane will be lending his talents to the Marley concert.

Hamiltonian Logan Bell, of Katchafire, will be apply his intimate knowledge of reggae to the Bob Marley show.
kevin stent

Hamiltonian Logan Bell, of Katchafire, will be apply his intimate knowledge of reggae to the Bob Marley show.

Rock star turned jewellery designer Boh Runga is also on the Bob Marley bill.
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Rock star turned jewellery designer Boh Runga is also on the Bob Marley bill.

Ria Hall has mastered a range of musical genres. On February 18 she will showcase the reggae element of her knowledge.
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Ria Hall has mastered a range of musical genres. On February 18 she will showcase the reggae element of her knowledge.

Raglan's first lady Anna Coddington will be singing at the Bob Marley concert.
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Raglan's first lady Anna Coddington will be singing at the Bob Marley concert.

 - Stuff

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