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Two world premieres and a Pulitzer Prize winner will feature at this year's Southern Lakes Festival of Colour in Wanaka.
The programme for the acclaimed biennial event, running from April 16 to 21, was unveiled in Wanaka last night and will be launched in Queenstown today.
Festival director Philip Tremewan said Between Darkness and Light would premiere during the six-day event.
The "remarkable performance" of pianist Michael Houstoun and soprano Jenny Wollerman would take the audience from night to morning using songs from the past two centuries and theatrical lighting.
The other premiere was a Wanaka production, Tracing Hamlet.
Director Sara Brodie has worked with local artists and Mount Aspiring College performance students on a deconstructed production of the Shakespeare classic, set in Puzzling World's maze and illusion rooms.
In what Mr Tremewan describes as a "real coup", renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh will join the Aspiring Conversations part of the festival, with two "hard-hitting" sessions on United States foreign policy.
The New Yorker magazine military and security writer won a Pulitzer Prize after uncovering the 1969 My Lai massacre in Vietnam. He is also credited with breaking the story about mistreatment of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison by the United States military, in 2004.
Wellington-based investigative journalist Nicky Hager will also join Aspiring Conversations to discuss New Zealand's presence in Afghanistan.
Festival-goers will also be able to see New Zealand dance company Black Grace's show Vaka, which Mr Tremewan said had taken Europe by storm with its "explosive" mix of Pacific culture and contemporary dance.
Other theatrical highlights would include a new Dave Armstrong comedy, Kings of the Gym, and an Auckland Theatre Company production, On the Upside Down of the World.
There would be musical performances by Wellington-based guitar quartet Electric Wire Hustle, New Zealand Music Awards 2012 winner Amiria Grenell, and the country's "queen of soul" Bella Kalolo.
A show that sold out at the Edinburgh and Wellington festivals, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells for Two, would feature two musicians recreating the classic album live with no extra hands.
Julia Deans, Anna Coddington and Don McGlashan would also team up for Songs to Leave Behind, which was commissioned for the Christchurch Festival following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
During the festival there will also be visual art on the lakefront, exhibitions by local artists, street theatre and a schools programme.
Some shows will tour to Queenstown's recently refurbished Memorial Hall, and to Hawea, Luggate and Cromwell.
Tickets go on sale on February 25.
- The Southland Times
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