There’s little doubt that winter is truly upon us; the nights are long, and in a bid not to spend them at home in front of the television, we’ve been filling our calendars with all sorts of enticing events. From exhibition openings to film festivals and outrageous cabaret experiences, our June Culture Guide comprises all the events drawing us out of the house this season.
With showstopping and slightly risque acts and acrobatics, this international troupe will launch the world premiere of Circa’s Peepshow (Club Remix) on the Auckland stage this month. The performance itself is razor-sharp and funny, delivered by an unspeakably skilled cast, all set to the soundtrack of a live DJ. Should you consider yourself a fan of the circus, live music, or perhaps a tasteful striptease, you’ll find this absolutely brilliant.
Thursday, 29th June — Saturday, 1st July, The Civic
No stranger to Parnell Gallery, local artist Tim Jones will this month present his next collection, Voyage. Speaking to the notion of journeys, be they physical or spiritual, it is thought that there is always the opportunity to garner a new way of understanding. This series of expressionist works evoke feelings of spaces and travels past — the perfect opportunity to add a poignant new piece to your collection perhaps.
Tuesday, 22nd June — Tuesday, 4th July, Parnell Gallery
In a bid to alleviate tensions felt around discussing personal matters with strangers, local mental health collective Everyday Solitude has imagined a fun new card game that encourages people to start talking. The pop-up acts as a filming opportunity to promote the game, meaning you will be among the first to try it, and sponsored by Supreme Coffee and Daily Bread, you’re sure to be well nourished too.
10am — 12pm, Saturday, 10th June, Pollen Studios
This month the L’OR French Film Festival Aotearoa returns with the crème de la crème of French cinema. Nicolas Bedos’ Masquerade, a Riviera-set mystery featuring France’s most recognisable leading men, opens the festival, alongside four other Cannes films. With a great lineup of comedies and dramas, the festival promises to be a tour de cinema that is an unmissable entry in this month’s culture guide. Auckland dates have already begun with an impressive three-week romp of cinematic action. Discover the full programme and tickets here.
Wednesday, 31st May — Wednesday, 21st June, various locations
With the New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra and some of our nation’s final vocal artists in tow, the sound of the late composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim will come to life for one night only. Widely regarded as one of the greatest influences on Broadway, you’ll experience some of the greatest musical numbers unlike ever before.
Thursday, 22nd June, The Civic
Those with a penchant for fine ceramics would do well to visit Sanderson Contemporary Art this month, as the group exhibition States of Flow takes place in the second gallery. Featuring six contemporary artists, it is a collective yet varied response to the term ‘flow state’.
Tuesday, 6th June — Sunday, 2nd July, Sanderson Contemporary Art
Taking place in the early days of July, we’ve snuck this entry into our culture guide as your reminder to book tickets asap for this unmissable experience. Transporting the phenomenal talents of Cirque Du Soleil onto the ice, Crystal comprises the troupe’s signature surrealist shows with an entirely new challenge to work with.
Tuesday, 4th July — Friday, 9th July, Spark Arena
An entirely new exhibition arrives at Auckland’s War Memorial Museum this month, transporting visitors back to Egypt in a time when Pharaohs walked the earth. A fascinating glimpse at this time in history, where there are so many questions still left unanswered (how exactly did the pyramids get there), the exhibition showcases more than original artefacts, scale models, and interactive displays offering a glimpse into what life was like 5,000 years ago on the banks of the majestic River Nile.
Thursday, 15th June — Sunday, 12th November, Auckland War Memorial Museum
Guest curated by Jane Devery, this is the first major survey exhibition of the artist’s work to be held on home soil. It includes recent works that reflect Brent Harris’ reconnection with New Zealand as well as paintings and prints drawn from his most important series of works dating from the late 1980s to the present.
Saturday, 6th May — Sunday, 17th September, Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki
Rising comedy star Taylor Tomlinson is bringing her sharp wit and acclaimed Netflix special to New Zealand for the very first time. Having earned a reputation as one of the most talented and incisive comedians of her generation, Tomlinson has been praised for her clever writing and biting humour. Don’t miss your chance to see this “whip-smart and spectacularly cynical” performer live on stage.
Friday, 30th June, Auckland Town Hall
Experience the poetic and powerful masterpiece that is Shakespeare’s King Lear, brought to life by renowned New Zealand actor and Shakespeare expert Michael Hurst. The play explores the complexities of human nature through the story of an ageing king poised to abdicate his crown and confront his identity. Hurst’s bold and contemporary production, staged in the ASB Waterfront Theatre, promises to be a blazing performance that will leave audiences humbled and moved.
Tuesday, 13th of June until Sunday, 1st July, ASB Waterfront Theatre
Velvety-voiced Canadian crooner Michael Bublé is set to grace the stage of Spark Arena for an unforgettable evening of chart-topping hits and innovative renditions of his beloved classics. Buble’s charismatic presence and open-hearted banter are sure to leave audiences feeling good and longing for more of his multi-platinum-selling magic. An unmissable addition to this month’s culture guide, don’t pass up your chance to experience one of the most extraordinary performers of our time.
Sunday, 25th June, Spark Arena
Experience the gripping world of Suzie Miller’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning play, Prima Facie. The one-woman play stars Acushla-Tara Kupe, who is set to deliver a mesmerizing performance as Tessa Ensler, a ruthless criminal defence barrister whose faith in the law is shattered. Directed by Paul Gittins, this production delves into the dark complexities of justice in an unforgettable exploration of power, success, and the flaws within our legal system. With its thought-provoking narrative, this one-woman masterpiece will leave a lasting impact on audiences at the Herald Theatre, opening on Wednesday the 21st of June and running until Sunday the 9th of July.
Celebrating the rich cultural fabric that makes up our city, this month Auckland will play host to the Pacific Dance NZ Festival — a lively programme of our most talented indigenous dancers. Spanning two weeks, the festival embraces dance in all its forms with a series of showcases, live performances and workshops and is set to be a highlight of this month’s culture guide.
Thursday, 1st June — Friday, 16th June, various locations
While this year’s Doc Edge Film Festival’s Auckland in-person dates have already been and gone (it was a swift one), films will still be screening virtually nationwide until Sunday the 9th of July. Now in its 18th year, the festival features 71 impressive films from around the world, based on the intentions of Being Oneself, Crime & Conspiracy, Fighting Spirit and Making An Impact.
Wednesday, 24th May — Sunday, 9th July, online
Highlighting Vietnamese song and music, Memories is an enchanting affair that brings together four vocalists and two comedians for a celebration of culture in all its forms. As it is held at the luxurious SkyCity Theatre, we’d suggest booking dinner at one of the destination’s delicious restaurants and really making an evening of it.
Friday, 9th June, SkyCity Theatre
Bringing the raucous musical to The Civic’s stage, here Cyndi Lauper’s score comes to life. Based on true events, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of two people with nothing in common with a hilarious and endearing series of twists and turns.
Thursday, 25th May — Saturday, 17th Jun, The Civic
Responsible for some of our nation’s most beloved classic hits, any Dire Straits tour is always worthy of our culture guide. This iteration sees the band revisiting their third album, Making Movies, which led to the classic ‘Tunnel of Love’. With one show only, this shouldn’t be missed.
Saturday, 10th June, Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre