On a beautiful, calm summer’s evening last week a group of Tauranga Arts Festival’s supporters gathered on the lawn at The Elms not only to mark the beginning of a new Festival Year but also to welcome Gabrielle Vincent as artistic director, a new role for 2021, and Nikki Hansen as general manager.
The evening, although an informal get-together, also included some cracking speeches and, after a traditional, and generous, welcome from kaumatua Puhirake Ihaka on behalf of The Elms Foundation, Festival Trust Board chair Kathryn Lellman took the microphone.
“We are acutely conscious the arts have a huge part to play in allowing us, in this new Covid world, to celebrate, think about who we are and also sprinkle some joy and colour through our city,” Kathryn said.
“Remember, because of your support, the ticket price paid by audiences is only about 30% of the actual cost of our event. On behalf of the Board and management team we extend our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your investment and recognition that our community is enlivened by the debate, discussion, enjoyment and the social and economic benefits the Festival brings.”
Kathryn thanked the Festival’s cornerstone funders TECT, Port of Tauranga and Carrus, and said the Board was “extremely humbled by the response of our patrons in continuing their financial support to us last year in the midst of so much uncertainty”.
Gabrielle delighted those present with her vision for the October 21-31 Festival.“For me, a festival is about creating a sense of togetherness and belonging for both the audience and artists,” she said. “As the programme for the 2021 festival comes together, I want the selection of works to remind us to see the world in a big-hearted way. To find joy in community and be grateful to live in a country where the show can go on.”
Nikki delivered some good news – the Carrus Crystal Palace will be back on the Baycourt lawn with the Festival Hub, started in 2019, further developed, and the Festival will again partner with The Incubator to deliver Fringe Village on Labour Weekend Saturday.
The more formal part of the evening wrapped up with Andrew Gregg, general manager of The Elms, briefly outlining what a Covid world has meant for the historic building and grounds – including having 400 schoolchildren visit last week, the chance to do some much-needed maintenance on the grand old lady, and opening a new garden.
It’s never too late to join our Festival whānau of Patrons and Sponsors. More information is available from our website, or Nikki is always happy to answer your questions, ph 021 1645 372. The Festival is a registered Charitable Trust, so please keep in mind that your donation may be tax deductible.
It’s hard to ignore the ‘what happened next’ moment (Auckland back to Alert Level 3 and our move back to Alert Level 2 for this week), but, once again, the Festival had a charmed moment – the heat going from the day, a beautiful lawn and shade trees, friends gathered and enjoying one another’s company. A Festival to look forward to. What could be better?
Our pop-up Escape! 2020 has been nominated for a TECT Community Award in the Event Excellence category. Sandra and Nikki have made a video and that’s available to view on the awards website. While you’re there, please cast your vote in the People’s Choice Award. Winners in all the categories will be announced on March 18.
Your Festival Team