Depending on your outlook, my theme for March is either The NZ International Arts Festival or my own frugality. I plan on attending as many free events as I can (see list below), but can only afford to go to the other shows if I manage to get $20 tickets. (The Festival has introduced a new initiative this year, "Tix for Twenty", where 10 tickets for each show are held back and sold for $20 on the day of the show to lucky/patient people at the booth in Midland Park).
The main focus of the festival for me is always the Writers and Readers Week. This year the standard sessions (60-75mins duration) are $18 plus a booking fee. There are some sessions that tempted me at theat price, but they are mid-week during work hours… I understand the economics of putting on a book festival with international authors, etc etc, but I do feel priced out of a situation where I can discover new writers. I guess I'll just have to stick to buying and reading books!
But the Festival (especially the book week) are to be commended for the number of free events (at times outside working hours!). My booky highlights:
Monday 8 March - Once Upon A Deadline (all day around Wellington, with a read-off at 6.30pm in the Town Hall).
Wednesday 10 March - Poetry Reading, featuring Glyn Maxwell, Kevin Connolly, Kate Camp, Geoff Cochrane and Ian Wedde (5.15pm, Embassy Theatre)
Thursday 11 March - VUP Publisher's party (doubles as the launch for new poetry collections by Geoff Cochrane, Bill Manhire, and Kate Camp (6pm, Exchange Atrium, 22 Blair Street)
Friday 12 March - Telling Stories session, featuring short story writers: Anna Taylor, Charlotte Grimshaw, Lisa Moore, Joan London and Fariba Hachtroudi (5.15pm, Embassy Theatre)
There's also a bunch of visual art exhibitions (free) around the city which I hope to check out.