‘It all happened so well’

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Arts Festival Dunedin director Nicholas McBryde is exhausted but happy after steering dozens of performers and technicians, along with hundreds of volunteers, through another successful event.
‘‘It was great that it all happened so well — and in the end people did turn up,’’ Mr McBryde said.
‘‘It would have been nice if they had turned up earlier, because we could have done more performances of some of the shows that sold out.’’
The 2016 festival had more sold-out shows and standing ovations than all previous festivals, he said.
‘‘That’s something to be proud of — that the shows resonated in an exciting way with the Dunedin audience.’’
He believed part of that success was due to the sheer range of entertainment on offer, from challenging to frivolous and humorous to strange, as well as shows for children.
Holding the festival during the school holidays had been a departure and ‘‘an interesting experiment’’, which had proven quite successful. The decision would be carefully reviewed during the follow-up to the festival, Mr McBryde said.
Among the many highlights of the festival, he was particularly delighted to have the presence of Australian National Living Treasure Michael Leunig and the extraordinarily talented actor Guy Masterson in the city.
Powerful and moving performances, such as the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Anthony Ritchie’s Gallipoli to the Somme, and the intense and thought-provoking work of Masterson had contrasted delightfully with the ‘‘highquality romps’’ of Live Live Cinema’s Little Shop of Horrors, and Songs for the Fallen.
‘‘So I’m very happy with the mix and the way Dunedin jumped at the chance to experience these things.’’
Arts Festival Dunedin relied on a hardworking team of technical folk and 300 volunteers to achieve a smooth running of the many events.
‘‘These people really worked hard to achieve that, and to enhance the quality of life for our town,’’ Mr McBryde said.
While it would be about six weeks before the financial aspects of the festival could be finalised, it had been an artistic and critical success, he said.