Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
It was a tough decision, but the organisers of the Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) have announced they will not proceed with the festivities under the red light Covid-19 traffic setting.
Scheduled to start next month, the announcement was made via Facebook; “The road to decision making for each of our more than 80 shows and events with over 700 artists involved has not been an easy one.
“The AAF Board and Management have made the difficult decision to cancel all live events and performances – 51 in total – in venues, theatres, and outdoor spaces.
“While we are incredibly disappointed to be hit with Covid-related interruptions for the third year in a row, we know that this is the best way to keep everyone safe during this time.”
The festival plans to go ahead with two international online works, three outdoor installations/activations, 10 visual arts exhibitions and potential online streams of other performances.
Performance group Sau E Siva Creatives were set to stage their usual school holiday production and this year would have been the first time being included in the AAF.
In the past Sau E Siva have staged hugely successful productions like Wizards of Otāhuhu, Sinarella and Rosalina.
The team were in the midst of working on Alatini, a Pasifika re-telling of the classic story Aladdin, when they received news of the cancellation.
“A lot of people may think, ‘it’s just a show’,” says Sau E Siva Creative and Alatini director Troy Tu’ua.
“But when you put in a lot of hard work and a lot of people who look up to you and rely on you to develop their skills…it’s hard to keep people motivated when it’s the third [cancellation] in a row.”
The Sau E Siva team are keeping tabs on the cast and crew, supporting them in any way possible as, “this is all new to us,” Tu’ua says.
The cast already had a full week of rehearsal under their belts when they received the news.
However, Tu’ua and the team are adamant that this will be the year Alatini makes it to the stage, hopefully by mid-2022.
“It is hurting but I know we’ll be okay and I know we’ll get through it,” Tu’ua says.
“For the village that’s come together to put this Alatini story together for the past couple of years…we are going to show Alatini some way or another – I can promise you that.”