Eleanor Catton to speak at New Zealand Festival

Last updated 19:00 23/10/2013

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Eleanor Catton
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LOCAL PRIDE: 2013 Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.

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Eleanor Catton, a True Blood star, and plenty of Spanish flair will entertain the masses at next year's New Zealand Festival.

The biennial 24-day festival - formerly the New Zealand International Arts Festival - announced its lineup today ahead of its opening in February.

Among the highlights include newly crowned Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton speaking at Writers' Week, True Blood star Denis O'Hare's one-man play based on Homer's epic poem the Iliad, and the Spanish-flavoured East Coast love story ¡Paniora!

A Spanish flavour will also be felt through the opera Ainadamar, and flamenco dance show La Curva, starring Spanish dancer Israel Galvan.

The festival will also be the first overseen by new artistic director Shelagh Magadza, who has previously worked on Perth's arts festival.

She told The Dominion Post earlier this year she was particularly looking forward to the opening weekend as it was "going to be a blast".

"What I love about this event is that it features children and adults from our own community coming together to mark the beginning of three weeks when we welcome the world to Wellington.

"It's like the whole city is involved in throwing a party and I love that feeling of all coming together for this special time."

The festival, which will run from February 21 to March 16, will stage about 300 events across theatre, dance, music and speaking events such as Writers' Week.

Tickets will be on sale to the general public from Thursday next week.

Highlights include:

- Russian director Dmitry Krymov takes on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

- The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular will feature Daleks, monsters and the work of composer Murray Gold played by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

- Requiem for the Fallen reflects on New Zealanders in WWI through poetry, traditional Maori musical instruments, and string quartet

- American jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux will perform at the Michael Fowler Centre

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