An arts festival allows us to celebrate and better understand our diverse lives and cultures through music, dance, theatre, literature and visual arts. For three weeks in 2017 our festival will fill venues in New Plymouth and expand across the region, including the luxurious Staples Rodway Crystal Palace.

As the worlds of politics, entertainment and social media converge and the pace of life increases the 2017 Arts Festival will explore the notion of progress. We will celebrate those great New Zealanders who made our lives better and richer, such as Kate Sheppard, Ernest Rutherford and Jean Batten. We will also look fondly back on the not-so-distant past with hit comedy Hudson & Halls Live! and the dazzling disco-cabaret VELVET.

But it’s not just about the past – there is much to experience from the wider world as we bring contemporary artists from across the globe to share their stories with places as different and distinct as Ireland, Mexico, France, Korea and Denmark. They will all rub shoulders with many of our Taranaki-based artists and even you are invited to participate – help us to construct The TSB Community Trust People’s Tower, a beautiful temporary structure of cardboard and tape that will rise on the coastline only to disappear the very next day.

Remember, like the Tower, the festival will not last forever, so choose something that appeals to you soon – there’s something for everyone!

Craig Cooper - Artistic Director of the Taranaki Arts Festival