Your Essential Guide: The Auckland Arts Festival

By Marilynn McLachlan - 04 Mar 2016

auckland arts festival, things to do in auckland, white night, fire garden

The world will come to Auckland this month with the Auckland Arts Festival in an exceptional line-up of theatre, dance, circus and cabaret.

From the 2nd—20th of March, there will be hundreds of artists and companies from around the globe, all here to entertain and delight.

Artistic director, Carla von Zon says, ‘The arts are like a waharoa to a new world, a gateway to welcome you to different cultures, art forms, generations and beliefs’.

While there is so much on offer throughout the month, we’ve put together our top seven picks of what not to miss at this year’s Auckland Arts Festival.

Fire Garden

The event kicks off with heat when French fire masters Carabosse set the lower slopes of the Auckland Domain alight with a magical Fire Garden. Part after-dark dreamscape, part steam punk playground, it promises to ignite imaginations and reveal an extraordinary flickering art work never seen in Auckland before.


Intense and beautiful, tango superstar Nelida Rodriguez de Aure and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cerkaoui have collaborated to create a spectacular fusion of dance and music. In a mix of Latin aesthetics and state-of-the-art video design, M¡longa will transport audiences to the nightlife of Buenos Aires.


Taking the concept of a circus to a whole new level, the 360 ALLSTARS features breakdancers, jugglers with freestyle basketballs and unicycles and a world champion BMX flatlander. A revolutionary and fun radical urban circus, it’s a must-see at this year’s Auckland Arts Festival.

White Night

For one night only, Auckland will be lit up with the iconic White Night. There will be free exhibitions and visual arts installations around the city, including the New Zealand premiere of the secret and magical world of Kathrin Simon’s Full Moon Kingdom. This is a beautiful portrayal of Auckland Zoo’s animals held at Silo Park.

Speed of Light: Three Brilliant Dance Works

Three larger-than-life dances from the Royal New Zealand Ballet showcases the raw energy, precision and charisma of our national ballet company. Under the artistic leadership of Frensesco Ventriglia, expect a synthesis of colour, light, music and movement at the SKYCITY theatre in Speed of Light. 


A magical and powerful performance through the forests of Fiji, the Solomons, Samoa and New Zealand, Marama is a call to women of the Pacific. Highlighting the devastating effects of deforestation on their homelands and culture, there will be chants, dances and rituals in this graceful yet strong performance.

The James Plays

The James Plays bring to life three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland during the fifteen century. Experienced as a trilogy, it is historical drama for a contemporary audience and has been described as equally addictive as any on-demand network drama.

The deets:

What: The Auckland Arts Festival

Where: Around Auckland

When: 2nd—20th March

More: Auckland Arts Festival website 

Busy planning your March activities? Here are 21 Awesome Things To Do This March.

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