Festival Events

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  • nz
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A SYNTHESIZED UNIVERSE

AOTEAROA
From Anthonie Tonnon, an immersive experience that combines live music with custom animation, other-worldly video manipulations, and a flight through the known universe.
New Show Added
  • premiere
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APERTURE

AOTEAROA / NETHERLANDS
A new play about Ans Westra and the beginnings of her long and influential career as one of New Zealand’s best-known social documentary photographers.
  • international
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CARAVÃNA SUN

AUSTRALIA
Sydney five-piece band Caravãna Sun is bringing their blend of indie-surf-rock meets gypsy-ska to Nelson, with promises to make a cool evening sizzle like summer.
  • free

COVER ME

Cover Me returns with their mix of funk, soul, jazz, dance, RnB and rock influences.
  • free
  • international

CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS

BHUTANESE, COLOMBIAN & SRI LANKAN in AOTEAROA
This year’s Festival has a designated space hosted by communities from different cultural backgrounds, to encourage informal conversations around arts and culture.
  • free
  • international

CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS PERFORMANCE

Come and see the works created during Cultural Conversations.
  • free

DUST & GOLD

Dust & Gold blends Nikita Fountain’s beautiful songbird voice and Mark McKenzie’s rich baritone over a wholesome and raw acoustic accompaniment of original material.
  • free

FESTIVAL RETROSPECTIVE

This year we turn 25! To mark this special occasion, images from the past 24 Nelson Arts Festivals will be displayed on the walls of Bank Lane.
Greg Copeland blues singer
  • international
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GREG COPELAND

USA / GERMANY
Greg Copeland is returning to New Zealand to take audiences on an up-close and personal acoustic journey through the Blues.
  • free

HERELESSNESS

A mesmerising outdoor performance featuring bungee-assisted dance and landscape design.
  • free

MEDICINE WOMAN

Medicine Woman serves up blues inspired toe-tapping, full vocal harmony, rock originals with lyrics that provoke, inspire, and reach into your soul.
  • nz
book-tickets

MR RED LIGHT

AOTEAROA
Mr Red Light is a man who attracts bad luck, so when he tries to rob a bank he fails miserably and ends up in a pie shop with three very uncooperative hostages and the world’s worst police negotiator.
  • free

PIC’S PIKI MAI

In celebration of the 25th Nelson Arts Festival we’re thrilled to bring back crowd favourite Piki Mai, sponsored by none other than Pic’s Peanut Butter.
  • free

PIKI MAI REMAP PROJECT

Piki Mai is returning and mappers and animators are invited to create a 10-30 second work using the Piki Mai map.
  • free

PITCH BLACK LIVE

See ‘NZ’s Godfathers of Electronica’ playing their newest work inside the largest live-triggered video performance created in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • koha

PUBLISHING’S NEW FRONTIERS

An evening for aspiring and established writers.
  • nz
book-tickets

PUKAPUKA TALKS: BACKING WILD CARDS

Discover what happens when you team up feminist writer and playwright Renée, ONZM (born 1929), with journalist and debut novelist Becky Manawatu (born 1982).
  • nz
  • international
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PUKAPUKA TALKS: CAGING SKIES

Meet Nelson-based novelist Christine Leunens, whose novel Caging Skies is the inspiration for a major new Hollywood film.
Doctors who write
  • nz
book-tickets

PUKAPUKA TALKS: DOCTORS WHO WRITE

Join three physicians – who are also poets, playwrights and prose writers – in conversation with medical student and writer Emma Espiner.
Sold Out
  • nz

PUKAPUKA TALKS: NATIVE SON

Join national literary taonga Witi Ihimaera in conversation with Guyon Espiner, discussing the revealing encore to his memoir, Māori Boy.
  • nz
  • international
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PUKAPUKA TALKS: ON THE EDGE

Chessie Henry and Miriam Lancewood reveal what drove them to write such intimate memoirs about their extraordinary lives.
  • nz
book-tickets

PUKAPUKA TALKS: SOUTHERN SCIENCE

Naomi Arnold and Rebecca Priestley, both award-winning science writers, explore what’s above and beyond Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • nz
book-tickets

PUKAPUKA TALKS: THE ABSOLUTE BOOK

Elizabeth Knox’s new novel, The Absolute Book, is being heralded as a triumph of fantasy, grounded in the reality and challenges of the times in which we live.
Speakers for the Friday Poem event
  • nz
book-tickets

PUKAPUKA TALKS: THE FRIDAY POEM

Something exciting – fun, dazzling, often powerful – is going on in New Zealand poetry.
Sold Out
  • nz

PUKAPUKA TALKS: THINKING BRUNCH 1 – ‘LIVING’ LONGER

Meet four extraordinary people who are redefining what ‘ageing’ and ‘eldership’ mean, and learn some of their insights into having a long and fruitful life.
Sold Out
  • nz

PUKAPUKA TALKS: THINKING BRUNCH 2 – THE TIME TO ACT

With a climate emergencies being declared in many places, we bring together a business leader, a researcher, a filmmaker, an activist and RNZ broadcaster Kim Hill to explore what this means in practice.

PUKAPUKA TALKS: WEST ISLAND

AOTEAROA / AUSTRALIA
Five notable New Zealanders who made their lives in Australia are the subject of this fascinating biographical investigation by award-winning author Stephanie Johnson.
  • free

RABBIT HŌLE

Rabbit Hōle is the musical collaboration of multi-instrumentalist and singer Sahn Bishop, drummer Bruce McGregor and saxophonist/EWI artist Simon Williams.
  • free

SCULPTURE IN THE PARK

Throughout the Festival, Nelson artist Lee Woodman will be working on a piece focused on utilising recycled materials.
  • nz
  • international
book-tickets

SKYSCRAPER STAN and The Commission Flats

AOTEAROA / AUSTRALIA
Hailing from Auckland and now based in Melbourne, Skyscraper Stan is turning heads on the indie alt-country music scene.
Sold Out
  • nz

STILL LIFE WITH CHICKENS

AOTEAROA
An intimate, heart-warming and funny play about life, love, loss and the fact that some friendships are just clucking surprising!
  • free

STREET THEATRE WITH ROLLICKING ENTERTAINMENT!

Roll up and join the exciting, terrifying and genuinely funny dastardly duo of Rollicking Entertainment. Come laugh, gasp and cheer – the carnival is in town!
  • free

SUN CITY SOUL

Sun City Soul is a six-piece soul band, complete with a funked-up horn section and fine home-grown and international musicians.
Sold Out
  • nz

THE TOPP TWINS

AOTEAROA
What better way to celebrate the Festival’s 25th anniversary than to bring back the headline act from that very first year, the glorious, audacious and hilarious Topp Twins!
Sold Out
  • nz

THE WISP

AOTEAROA
Follow The Wisp to an exciting outdoor setting.
  • nz
book-tickets

THE WONDERWOMBS

AOTEAROA
From New Zealand’s leading circus company comes a tenacious all-wombs troupe whose breath-taking performances are wrapped in an all-knowing nod and cheeky wink.

Past Events

  • free
  • international

A CALL TO DANCE

AUSTRALIA
Join acclaimed choreographer and dancer Amrita Hepi for a fun and free yarn, and together you’ll create a small moment of personal rebellion: a move that’s all about you.
  • nz

BJÖRK: ALL IS FULL OF LOVE

AOTEAROA
New Zealand’s most inventive and theatrical chamber orchestra, Blackbird Ensemble, presents an awe-inspiring homage to the inimitable Icelandic pop artist, Björk.
  • nz

CELLFISH

AOTEAROA
Where hardened inmates come face-to-face with a whole new nightmare: Shakespeare classes with Miss Lucy!
Sold Out
  • nz

COUCH STORIES

Couch Stories are true, personal stories told live on stage, without pictures or notes.
  • free

DAYNA SANERIVI

Presenting the long-awaited new collection of original compositions by gifted singer/songwriter Dayna Sanerivi.
  • free

ELISHA HOBBS

A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter hailing from Motueka, Elisha Hobbs performs a collection of original music.
Sean Young in his show Kaput
Cancelled
  • international

KAPUT

AUSTRALIA
A multi-award winning family show that has enthralled audiences of all ages with slapstick, acrobatics and total silliness.
  • free

LOS GALANES

Join the fun with one of New Zealand's up and coming Latin bands.
  • free

MASK MAKING WORKSHOPS

Join us to learn some easy mask making skills for yourself or your group.
  • free

MASK PARADE

Join us for the 25th Mask Parade! Make this the biggest opening night celebration yet for the Nelson Arts Festival, celebrating 25 years!
  • international

MIGHTY DUKE & THE LORDS

AUSTRALIA
They’re back! If you saw them in 2016, then you’ll know that Mighty Duke & The Lords take ‘trop pop’ to a whole new level.
  • nz

MR RED LIGHT

AOTEAROA
Mr Red Light is a man who attracts bad luck, so when he tries to rob a bank he fails miserably and ends up in a pie shop with three very uncooperative hostages and the world’s worst police negotiator.
  • koha

MY GROOVES: Festival in Development

All are invited to watch as choreographer and dancers work together to form dance for the stage.
Sold Out
  • nz

PECHAKUCHA

PechaKucha returns for its twelfth year at the Festival, with a diverse range of presentations from interesting and creative people.
  • international

PORTRAITS IN MOTION

GERMANY
What began as a one-to-one travelling theatre grew into a 16-year odyssey, turning photographs into magical flipbooks.
New Show Added
  • nz

SEVEN DEADLY STUNTS

AOTEAROA
Step right up as Rollicking Entertainment celebrates seven of the most notorious stunts in carnie history.
  • international

SHOOGLENIFTY

SCOTLAND
Shooglenifty’s unique blend of traditional Celtic folk embraces a wealth of world-music flavours ranging from electronica to alternative rock.
  • nz

TAONGA MOANA

AOTEAROA
New Zealand’s premier national chamber choir, Voices New Zealand, performs a stunning and musical reminder of the beauty and importance of our oceans.
  • nz

THE CLEARING

AOTEAROA
From the creative brilliance of Arts Laureate Ross McCormack comes a darkly cinematic new work performed by renowned national dance company, Footnote New Zealand Dance.
Cancelled
  • free

THE HERMSEN FAMILY BAND

Nelson’s own Hermsen family is synonymous with locally produced, quality grassroots music.
Limited Tickets
  • nz
  • international

THE SOUTH AFREAKINS

AOTEAROA / SOUTH AFRICA
An hilarious and heartbreaking show about country, loss, and the impossible search for home.
  • nz

THE WONDERWOMBS

AOTEAROA
From New Zealand’s leading circus company comes a tenacious all-wombs troupe whose breath-taking performances are wrapped in an all-knowing nod and cheeky wink.
Sold Out
  • nz
  • international

THIS IS TAMI NEILSON!

AOTEAROA / CANADA
Multi award-winning Canadian-born New Zealand singer-songwriter Tami Neilson uses her powerhouse voice to blend country, soul and rockabilly into her signature high-octane performances.
Up Up and Away show
  • nz

UP AND AWAY

AOTEAROA
A playful and gentle theatrical performance created exclusively for babies.
  • koha

VOICE COLLECTIVE

Everyone is invited to join the pop-up singing group VOICE COLLECTIVE for a night with Dolly Parton's 'Jolene'.
New Show Added
  • free

WE THREE

Ease into your Wednesday evening with We Three, bringing you tunes from Aretha to Prince and back again.

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