Southland Festival of the Arts – Invercargill’s annual arts celebration
Each May, New Zealand’s southernmost city, Invercargill, comes alive with a month-long celebration of the arts.
Since 2009, the Southland Festival of the Arts has delivered a diverse program of events that has included everything from yarn bombing in a local street, to a comedy show on Steward Island, a solo circus performance and a six-hour pop-up, multi-art exhibition in the heart of Invercargill’s CBD.
These innovative, unusual events are complemented by more traditional performances – theatre, cabaret, dance and music – as well as visual art exhibitions, all taking place in various venues around town. Daily performances and shows mean there’s always something to see.
The festival attracts local and international acts. A highlight of the 2016 program was a one-night-only performance by the Modern Māori Quartet, who delighted audiences with modern renditions of classic Māori show band tunes. The Ensõ String Quartet, a Grammy-nominated string outfit from New York, performed an evening of chamber music and the festival also hosted the world premiere of Fool to Cry, a play exploring the aftermath of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 concert in Invercargill.
Considered curation of the festival program ensures a variety of events are on offer, including for children and families, such as the 2016 performances of Death, Duck and the Tulip. This award-winning adaptation of the popular children’s book combines live theatre and puppetry to tell a gentle tale of an unlikely friendship, which can be enjoyed by all ages.
With more than 20 events in the month-long program, there are plenty of reasons to come back for more. A mix of ticketed and free events also means that even without cash to splash, you can still enjoy what the festival has to offer.
Funded by the Arts Council of New Zealand and supported by range of Southland businesses, the festival is well-attended by locals and visitors alike, with audience numbers increasing each year.
In 2015, the program was performed both in the CBD and out in the region, taking the festival further afield amongst the Southland communities, such as Te Anau, Riverton and Scottish Hall.
Invercargill accommodation close to the action
For visitors wanting to catch the festival in town, choosing Invercargill accommodation on Tay St is a great idea. The SIT Centrestage Theatre and the Southland Museum host a large number of the festival events, and both are within around five minutes’ walk of the Comfort Inn Tayesta. The ferry to Stewart Island is only 20 minutes away.
Choose from a studio, one or two bedroom unit. Each of the simple yet comfortably appointed rooms comes with a full kitchen or kitchenette and a cozy lounge/dining area. The Comfort Inn also offers all guests free Wi-Fi, Sky Guest Select cable with over 50 channels and free parking.
What’s more, Comfort Inn Tayesta is close to Invercargill’s best restaurants, many of which offer delicious local seafood, caught just off the Southland coast. For a lazy breakfast, you can enjoy a tasty cooked or continental breakfast delivered right to your room.