Southerners will have the chance to experience top New Zealand theatre, music and comedy in their own backyard this year.
The Southern Institute of Technology has signed on to bring six Arts on Tour shows to Invercargill during the 2014 season, while Catlins Promotions is staging five of the shows in Owaka.
The shows include Southland- produced Too Far From Heaven, a gypsy-jazz guitar duo, a musical history of New Zealand's wild west, a comedic reinterpretation of Jane Austen, the story of a man with Locked-in syndrome, a response to the Christchurch earthquake, and a cabaret-style comedy.
Catlins Promotions treasurer Mary Sutherland said the Arts on Tour shows, labelled as Showtime in the Catlins, would help give the area a strong cultural reputation.
"What we're sort of hoping is that Owaka becomes the place for shows and theatre and music, and people come from far and wide to stop."
Southern Institute of Technology marketing manager Chami Abeysinghe said investing in staging the shows in Invercargill was a good way for the polytechnic to strengthen the links between it and the Southland community.
As well as being a great opportunity for the hundreds of performing arts students studying at SIT, the Arts on Tour series would also help showcase how creative Invercargill was, she said.
"Invercargill doesn't come across as being one of the most hip towns to be in as such - there's a lot of stuff going on here that's not really advertised.
"We're just hoping a series of events here will open the eyes of the community at large to tell them what we have here."
The Arts on Tour NZ Trust selects top local shows and facilitates performances in centres across the country, to enable residents in regional New Zealand to access theatre, music and comedy.
The shows will be staged in Invercargill between April and September, and in Owaka in March, April, May, September and October.
The Southland Times