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School teachers across New Zealand are encouraged to BOOK NOW for the Auckland Arts Festival 2013 SMARTSfest programme -where education meets the arts.


Bookings are open until 28 February for the Festival's SMARTSfest, a programme designed to provide young people with the chance to experience internationally-acclaimed arts and culture at significantly reduced ticket prices. This year, SMARTSfest includes two specially-programmed performance works which reflect the world and lives of children:


  • The Man Who Planted Trees (ages 7+) is a funny and captivating show, about the difference one person's actions can make to the world. An environmental story set in the south of France, featuring sweet-smelling lavender, a dog and a man who plants trees, bringing life back to his region.
  • The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk (ages 9-98) is an engaging storytelling experience about friendship, betrayal and how relationships change over time. This show received numerous five-star reviews at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe but it was seeing the reaction on children's and adults' faces that made Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director, Carla van Zon, programme this work. She says, "Its relevance to us all is astounding. And I too remembered moments in my childhood."


In addition to these dedicated shows, schools can still book for a selection of matinees within the Festival's main programme:


  • I, George Nepia is the heart-warming story of the New Zealand rugby legend as he travels from small town Nuhaka to stardom in the United Kingdom, by leading Māori playwright Hone Kouka.
  • Leo - an international, one-man show that challenges the senses and tests perceptions of reality, Leo fuses energetic live performance with innovative video projection.
  • One Man, Two Guvnors - the National Theatre of Great Britain's hilarious and multi-award-winning West End and Broadway sensation.


Schools can also book for the following public shows at heavily discounted prices:


  • Urban - a high-voltage circus-theatre production with gravity-defying stunts and astonishing acrobatics, performed by an extraordinary group of young Colombians.
  • Rhinoceros in Love - China's most successful play of all time, about the maladies of young, urbanised Chinese, lost and in love. Performed in Mandarin rhyming slang with English subtitles, this show is perfect for students learning Mandarin.
  • Babel (words) - a beautiful dance-theatre masterpiece by two of Europe's hottest choreographers, about the universal language of music and dance.


Carla van Zon, Artistic Director at the Auckland Arts Festival says, "This is an incredible opportunity for students to discover the power of creativity and the thrill of the arts. We want to encourage teachers to make their school bookings now, for these universally-themed works that not only align with and enhance the New Zealand education curriculum, but are also great fun."


For more information about the SMARTSfest programme and to book tickets, email or phone:


  • Tracey Marama Lloydd, Programme Manager - Education and Community, on 09 374 0316.
  • Claire Noble, Programme Assistant - Education and Community, on 09 374 0330.


For more information, visit







The Man Who Planted Trees

Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre

6 March, 10am and 1pm

7 March, 10am and 1pm

Concert Chamber

8 March, 10am and 1pm

The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk

Mangere Arts Centre

5 March, 10am and 1pm

Bruce Mason Centre

7 March, 1pm

8 March, 1pm

Shed 2, Corban Estate Arts Centre

12 March, 10am and 1pm

13 March, 10am and 1pm

14 March, 1pm

15 March, 10am

Concert Chamber

20-22 March, 10am and 1pm

I, George Nepia

Mahurangi College

8 March, 12.30pm (Q&A to follow)

Mangere Arts Centre

21 March, 11am


Maidment Theatre

20 March, 1pm

One Man, Two Guvnors

Aotea Centre

21 March, 1.30pm


The Civic

13 March, 6.30pm

14 March, 6.30 pm (Q&A to follow)

15 March, 7.30pm

Rhinoceros in Love

Maidment Theatre

11 March, 7pm (post-show talk)

12 March, 7pm

Babel (words)

The Civic

21 March, 8pm (Q&A to follow)

22 March, 8pm

Hui Open Rehearsal

Mangere Arts Centre

8 March, 6.30pm


Loft, Q Theatre

20 March, 6.30pm (post show talk)

21-22 March, 6.30pm

Moko in Rehearsal

Loft, Q Theatre

23 March, 6.30pm





Email or phone 09 374 0316


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Twitter: @Aklfestival

Media enquiries

Siobhan Waterhouse, Publicist. P: +64 (0)9 374 0317 | M: +64 (0) 22 126  4149