The 13 happenings that should be on your cultural radar this May

The month of May brings fresh cultural bounty to the fore, spanning everything from inspirational festivals for creatives to sheer musical talent. These are the events worth taking note of.

← GO BACK

SEE ALL SLIDES |

Aladdin

Aladdin

Aladdin

Aladdin

Another corker in a string of live action Disney remakes, this year’s Aladdin is set to whip us into a nostalgic frenzy. This retelling of the 1992 Disney classic sees Guy Ritchie, aka the creative mind behind legendary Brit gangster films Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, showcase his directorial nous. The unlikely task will see Ritchie working with Will Smith, who plays the wish-granting Genie, along with a raft of up-and-coming talent.
In cinemas 23rd May. 

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

Marking her first time on New Zealand soil, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves will be swinging by Auckland’s Town Hall mid-May to deliver a stellar one-off show. With her album, Golden Hour, already heralded as one of the best releases of the year, you can bet that the Texan pop-country star will deliver a captivating show.
For more information and tickets, click here.
Friday, 17th May.

Planet Earth II

Planet Earth II

Planet Earth II

Planet Earth II

A more intimate, more immersive variation of everybody’s favourite docu-series, Planet Earth II, live in concert, is set to be a feast for the senses. The evening will be an epic journey through the world’s spectacular natural beauty, all set to a rousing Academy Award-winning score by Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe, performed by Auckland’s own Philharmonia Orchestra. Spellbinding, to say the least.
For more information and tickets, click here
22nd May – 23rd May.

Auckland Art Fair

Auckland Art Fair

Auckland Art Fair

Auckland Art Fair

Art buffs rejoice because the Art Fair is back at The Cloud on Auckland’s Queens Wharf — this time marking its change to an annual event (from biennial). Giving Aucklanders a serious dose of cultural inspiration once again, 2019’s iteration includes a plethora of artistic talent from both near and far. (Like Max Gimblett and David Shrigley, to name a few.)
For tickets and more information on who you can expect to see, click here
1st – 5th May.

New Zealand International Comedy Festival

New Zealand International Comedy Festival

New Zealand International Comedy Festival

New Zealand International Comedy Festival

For those looking to get their funny bones tickled this month, the Comedy Festival will not disappoint. This year’s extravaganza, hosted by Australian comedian Rhys Nicholson, sees an array of comedic talent splayed out across a number of participating venues throughout the city, from the Q theatre to the Bruce Mason Centre.
For more information on who you can expect to see, click here
2nd – 26th May.

The Hothouse

The Hothouse

The Hothouse

The Hothouse

A decade on from its first iteration, Ford Transit brings back his presentation of Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse, with the original cast in tow. Set in a state-run sanatorium in 1950s England, the play confronts an array of thought-provoking themes, like corruption and loyalty, to create a thrilling black comedy. The production will also be raising money for Shine — a charity that deals with issues around domestic violence in New Zealand — with 25 percent of all proceeds donated to the cause. Whereas a special fundraising performance on the 11th May sees 50 percent of profits donated.
For the full lowdown on the play, and ticket information, click here.
3rd May – 8th May. 

Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert

Arguably celebrating May the fourth in the only way acceptable is the NZSO, with a notably more musical iteration of the timeless classic. On the infamous date, Star Wars will be shown at the Spark Arena, accompanied by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra bringing, with NZSO Associate Conductor Hamish McKeich at the helm, John Williams’ Oscar-winning, spine-tingling score to life.
For more information and tickets, click here.
Saturday 4th May. 

Black Swan White Swan RNZB

Black Swan White Swan RNZB

Black Swan White Swan RNZB

Black Swan White Swan RNZB

In a daring nod to a timeless treasure, Mario Radacovsky’s Black Swan, White Swan takes the traditional Swan Lake tale and strips it down to an enigmatic, elemental masterpiece. With Tchaikovsky’s original score combined with the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s modernistic choreography, this is ballet’s enduring classic at its most beguiling. For more information and tickets, click here
31st May – 6th July

Bright Nights Festival

Bright Nights Festival

Bright Nights Festival

Bright Nights Festival

Fresh off the back of its crowd-pleasing, visual feast that came last year, Bright Nights is back once again to deliver its iconic, enthralling light show to the masses. The Angus Muir-crafted project promises to bring more of its spectacular LED led creations to Viaduct Harbour — be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this one, it’s one for the books. For more information, click here
8th – 12th May. 

Post Malone

Post Malone

Post Malone

Post Malone

Blending R&B and hip-hop with ease as we’ve never witnessed before, it’s no surprise that rapper-singer-songwriter Post Malone has acquired such a swarming fan base during his short years in the spotlight. The multihyphenate will be bringing his bass-heavy beats, outstanding-rap flow and infectious dancing to Auckland, with one Mr Jayden Smith in tow.
For more information and tickets, click here
Saturday 11th May. 

Architecture and Design Film Festival

Architecture and Design Film Festival

Architecture and Design Film Festival

Architecture and Design Film Festival

The Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival is on its way to Auckland, set to showcase the very best in architecture & design from around the world, via inspiring motion pictures. If you only have time to see one film at this year’s iteration, make it Bauhaus Spirit. The 2018 documentary offers a glimpse inside the philosophy that helped to develop the 1919 Bauhaus architecture school, a school noted for its belief in a peaceful society.
For more information on Bauhaus and all the other enticing films showing at Rialto Cinemas, click here
2nd to 19th May

Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys

Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys

Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys

Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys

A celebration of one of New Zealand’s most renowned artists, Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki sees a multitude of conversation-starting works collected from around the globe and brought together in one engrossing exhibition.  The exhibition traces the painter’s creative progression through France, Morocco and Spain to her final days in England, each of which are pinpointed beautifully with her trademark landscape and still life creations.
For more information and tickets, click here
On from Saturday 4th May. 

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Bach to Bowie — a blindingly brilliant homage to the iconic, musical genius that was David Bowie — comes back to our shores once again courtesy of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Intertwining some of Bowie’s cult songs (Heroes, Life On Mars, Let’s Dance) alongside phenomenal choreography, dancing talent and pure showmanship, this is ballet like you’ve never seen it before.
For more information and tickets, click here.
9th – 12th May.

Petra Leary Studio Gravity

Petra Leary Studio Gravity

Petra Leary Studio Gravity

Petra Leary Studio Gravity

Award-winning photographer Petra Leary — renowned for her work which captures an out of the ordinary world view — brings her second solo show ‘Zero Gravity’ to Studio 230 Ponsonby Road. Expect to be enthralled by more of her unique work, which works with symmetry and motion in architecture.
17th May

Culture


The new Land Rover Defender is set to live up to its legacy in the next James Bond film

From architecture to design to music, these are the best coffee table books of 2019

Stuck for plans this weekend? Here’s how to spend your time over the next few days