New festival’s line-up unveiled for winter

Taranaki’s newest festival is bringing an impressive selection of laugh-out-loud comedy, breathtaking theatre and daring dance to the region this winter.

Winter Fest runs for ten days in August and its line-up was revealed at the TSB Showplace on Thursday night.

The entertainment bill is packed with shows from Scotland, Denmark, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand, and it also boasts a full literary programme.

The comedy line-up includes appearances from Ben Hurley, Michele A’Court, Jeremy Elwood, and Ginette McDonald, in two shows that are set to be sell-outs.

Taranaki’s favourite comedian Ben Hurley is part of the line-up for Winter Fest

Among the theatrical line-up is the award-winning hit New Zealand show Still Life With Chickens. The intimate, heart-warming, and funny play centres on Mama, an ageing Samoan woman who discovers a mischievous chicken invading her flourishing veggie plot.

Acclaimed actor Michael Hurst will also take to the stage with his latest show, The Iliad, while the multi-award-winning cabaret Valerie will be popular with music lovers and theatre lovers alike.

The Libri Lounge will host the authors’ talks and also includes a three-hour workshop with Indonesian artist Rozana Lee, who is said to blend creativity with compassion.

Taft chief executive Suzanne Porter

TAFT chief executive Suzanne Porter says Winter Fest has evolved from the biennial Taranaki Arts Festival, which underwent a contemporary makeover and is now a series of four unique festivals.

“This new era begins with a winter-wonderful programme celebrating stories and the power of words and expression,” Porter says.

“We know there will be something for everyone in this line up.”

“I encourage you to get a programme and make your plans quickly as some shows have a very limited capacity.”

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Porter says the new programme format is a bold move that would not be possible without the ongoing support of TAFT’s partners, patrons and sponsors.

“The amount of support we have received speaks volumes about the individuals, businesses and organisations within our community which allows us to punch above our weight to deliver vibrancy and present world class acts in Taranaki,” she says.

Artistic director for the four festivals Craig Cooper says Taranaki Arts Festival has always been a leader in the New Zealand arts sector, and at the forefront of arts practice in New Zealand.

“TAFT’s core purpose is to ensure Taranaki is more alive with the arts than ever,” he says.

“We look forward to seeing you at the TSB Showplace this winter.”

  • Winter Fest, August 15 to August 25, 2019. For a full description of the programme or to book tickets visit


The Good Oil – Comedy Debate 

Watching Paint Dry – Aotearoa / New Zealand / Denmark

A Funny Thing Happened – Comedy Triple Bill – Aotearoa / New Zealand / Australia 

Still Life with Chickens – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Onepū – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Tactile Histories – Aotearoa / New Zealand / Indonesia

Valerie – Aotearoa / New Zealand

An Iliad – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Arthur Meek’s Erewhon – Aotearoa / New Zealand / Scotland 

Trash Test Dummies – Australia

Delaney Davidson’s Ship of Dreams – Aotearoa / New Zealand

The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and His Narcissistic Mother – Scotland

Rants in the Dark – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Eat Up New Zealand – Al Brown – Aotearoa / New Zealand

I have Loved Me A Man: The Life and Times of Mika – Mika – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Caves: Exploring New Zealand’s Subterranean Wilderness – Neil Silverwood and Marcus Thomas – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Kiwiana – Richard Wolfe – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Unknown  Anzac – David Hastings  – Aotearoa / New Zealand

Loving Sylvie – Elizabeth Smither – Aotearoa / New Zealand

  • Winter Fest, August 15 to August 25, 2019. For a full description of the programme or to book tickets visit