Winter is advancing and our plans for Aspiring Conversations 2016 are well underway. So lock in the dates of 22 – 24 April now.

European Overview
An important part of Festival Director Philip Tremewan?s job is to keep abreast of all the new creative work in development overseas and he has been on an incredible European trip for the last few weeks. Here?s what he has to say about the state of the Arts in Europe.

I?m impressed by the ongoing investment in the arts in France and the UK, even at times when there are so many cutbacks.

I went to hear Ibeyi in Paris – the twin sisters are Cuban / Venezuelan / French / Nigerian – and sing like it! They were performing in a festival out at La Cite de la Musique – two brand new stylish concert halls with the larger one being the home of the Paris Philharmonic. (And acoustic design by the leaders in the field – a NZ firm). Superb facilities, a great gig and a wide ranging audience.

Then Manchester – usually thought of as not much more than home to two football clubs – is reinventing itself as a city of culture. The city helps pay for the leading innovative arts festival in the UK. Their international festival stages only new international commissions and collaborations – e.g. musician Arvo Part and artist Gerhard Richter with a choir singing in a gallery; and artist Olafur Eliasson working with choreographer Wayne McGregor and musician Jamie xx for “Tree of Codes”.

London?s Southbank runs a non-stop programme of specialist festivals, public participation events and major concerts. I saw a dance show devised by three Belgian choreographers working with 10 Palestinian dancers as part of London’s Arab festival. They also umbrella a bunch of Aussies each summer who set up a spiegeltent and stage great cabaret shows like Scotch and Soda. And they also collaborate with an English theatre company who set up a small temporary venue where I saw the children?s show ?My Teacher is a Troll?.

Yet with all this cultural activity flourishing, the government is now threatening to cut the UK’s largest cultural institution off at the knees – with a major review of the BBC. Watch this space.

And if you want to dodge art and politics and have the best eco-swim in London, try out the new eco-pool at King?s Cross. Just remember you need to book in advance as a only a few swimmers are allowed at a time in order for the plants to be able to keep the water purified.

Philip is heading to Galway and Edinburgh next ? and will be back early in August to start buttoning down the Aspiring Conversations programme



Hireath is a gem of a Welsh play. Hireath (pronounced Here-ath) has no direct English translation. Hireasth means longing or homesickness for a place you can never return to. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for the Wales of the past. Performed by Buddug James Jones and Max Macintosh, ?Hireath? is a show about Buddug?s life growing up on a farm and deciding to move to London, and the impact on herself and everyone around her. It is a comical heart-warming show which comments on the situation many in rural communities have to face. For those with family and loved ones overseas or those that have moved from afar, the themes will resonate. ?Hireath? has been described as a ?Sweetly hilarious low-fi comedy? and is bound to charm you.
It is touring nationally and comes to Luggate fresh from the Christchurch Arts Festival and then goes on to tour in Wellington, Wairarapa, Nelson, Tauranga and Auckland.
Two nights only ? Luggate Hall Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September at 7.30pm
Tickets only $38 each
Priority tickets for Festival patrons and benefactors from Monday 10 August and general sales from Monday 17 August. Ticket sales only available online at