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Live performances set to welcome New Zealand arts and event patrons
With spectator sport having returned to New Zealand stadiums at the weekend, the country’s live performance industry is now looking to restart in the largely unrestricted Coronavirus environment of Alert Level 1.
With Alert Level 1 allowing New Zealanders to resume work, school, sport and domestic travel without any restrictions while venue patrons are not required to be socially distanced or wear masks, capacity crowds attended the weekend’s first Super Rugby Aotearoa games at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin and Eden Park in Auckland.
With the New Zealand Government announcing at the beginning of last week that the country could safely move out of Alert Level 2, the live performance industry is now looking to restart months earlier than had been anticipated.
Now able to operate without restrictions after 10 weeks in lockdown, Robbie Macrae, Director of Auckland Live, New Zealand's biggest venue operator, advised that when venues closed in March, he thought they'd be closed "until next January".
Auckland Live venues are now set to reopen with classical and contemporary music, then dance and ballet and finally opera and theatre.
The lockdown in March saw countless performances cancelled and the sector prepare for the possibility of going without performing until 2021.
Now the main impediments to putting on shows being the time it will take to advertise and ticket them although, while borders remain closed, no international performers will be able to enter the country.
Barbara Glaser, Chief Executive of the 80-member Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, said the reopening was great news for the company, which had spent lockdown recording and posting online clips seen by almost three million people.
Glaser told the ABC "regardless of the YouTube views, there's no substitute for live events.
"We're super excited to be able to put the orchestra back on stage with a full audience."
Auckland Philharmonia has a concert scheduled for 9th July, which was never cancelled. It will go ahead but the program will be altered as international performers involved cannot enter the country.
Performances are also set to return to the Royal Wanganui Opera House, with Whanganui District Council Venues and Events Manager, Jo Jonas telling the Whanganui Chronicle that the lockdown period was still busy for staff.
Jonas advised “during the closure, staff worked from home dealing with ticket inquiries and venue bookings as well as taking the opportunity to work on the theatre's archives," she said.
"The last show in the opera house was Royal NZ Ballet Tutus on Tour on March 14 and a number of shows had to be cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 restrictions."
Two shows at the venue have been rescheduled to November this year and three shows to early 2021, and there are shows booked in at the venue for the rest of the year.
With New Zealand now the focus of global attention for its reopening, Steve Armitage, General Manager Destination at ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) told TVNZ: “we’re in a unique position and it positions us well for event attraction in the future … (and) we’re certainly hearing through some of our event promoters and through direct contact from some large organisations and large events that are interested in seeing what might be possible.”
Image: Royal New Zealand Ballet.
14th June 2020 - Fans return to Super Rugby in New Zealand
4th June 2020 - New Zealand looks for return of spectator sport from next week
21st April 2020 - New Zealand Government looks to ease Coronavirus restrictions
13th March 2020 - Pasifika Festival cancelled in Auckland
28th October 2017 - New ATEED Head of Tourism appointed
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