Making it happen: Creative Director

22:45, Feb 11 2013
Charlotte Isaac
Demanding job: Charlotte Isaac, creative director.

A lot of talented people are pulling together for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival - from the ground up. Denise Irvine meets five of them.

This is a first of five stories we will bring to you over the week to celebrate this year's Gardens Arts Festival.

Charlotte Isaac is a Hamilton lawyer, occasional actor and creative director for this year's Gardens Arts Festival. She works closely on the event with Hamish Nathan, the festival's logistics supremo.

"My family home is in Cobham Dr, Hillcrest, and I remember a lot of construction taking place at Hamilton Gardens when I was growing up. It is a very special place, the best-kept secret, and a perfect combination with the arts.

My first memory of coming to a Gardens Festival is a dawn Shakespeare, probably when I was a teenager. It was held in the rose gardens, and it was really something to see the sun coming up and all these people sitting around wrapped in blankets.

I've been on stage at festivals, acting in An Italian Straw Hat with Full House in 2010, then The Miser of Mystery Creek, and Four Dogs and a Bone. It's been great fun; everyone pitches in, it's all outdoors, you do your costume changes in a tent, shake the cockroaches and other garden bugs out of your clothes. There's no chance of anyone being a diva in a setting like this.

I'm sad not to be performing in Full House's play Booom! for this festival, but I've got a big job on my hands. I came into it in September and it's been busy ever since. The main things for me are to showcase the Gardens, make the festival accessible to as many people as possible and ensure there are new things to see and do.

I really like the fact that we have so many events with free admission: people can call in after work, settle back and enjoy.

I should be worrying whether it will rain. But I'm not, really. Last year it rained during the outdoor movies and it wasn't called off. People said, No, we're OK, and they sat in the rain with their umbrellas and watched the movies. It is an outdoor festival - you expect these things to happen.

I do worry that not enough people will come. As well as our regular advertising, I've been putting fliers in letterboxes.

I roped in my father to help and other people are doing it as well. I'm aiming for blanket coverage. I'd hate to think people didn't know what was happening and were missing out.

We've got a great programme: a huge range, a mix of well-known things and new things. It is good to have Zeal Acoustic Stage, with some fine young Hamilton musicians, Pecha Kucha Nights for sharing ideas, The Great Debate for wit and entertainment.

I wake up thinking, Have we done such- and-such? Have we done this?

This job will be a one-off for me. I don't have aspirations to be an event planner and I am starting my own law firm in the middle of the year. But I'll continue to be part of the arts scene. I like being able to contribute to the cultural side of the city.

I love Hamilton. You can dream a dream here and achieve it."


Creative director Charlotte Isaac's personal favourites from the programme (in no particular order):


1. J Mayall and the Fluid Wall Ensemble (free)

2. The Great Debate (free)

3. Booom!

4. Pecha Kucha

5. Adam Usami and the Blacklight Strings

Logistics man Hamish Nathan's picks:

1. Sunset Symphony

2. Birds of Paradise

3. Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

4. Wonderland Olympics

5. The Resonance of Yin & Yang