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New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington wraps up for 2008 and prepares for 2010

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The curtain may have just fallen on the 2008 New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington – but planning is underway for the next extravaganza in 2010.

More than 800 artists from 35 countries performed in 365 shows at this year’s event, the first coordinated by new Artistic Director, Lissa Twomey, a former Associate Director of the Sydney Festival.

Ms Twomey said she was delighted by the audience response to her first New Zealand festival and how passionately people engaged in the 2008 programme – one of the largest international arts festivals ever staged in New Zealand. Many shows were sold out.

“The festival’s success has been reflected in box office takings of more than over $5 million,” Ms Twomey said. “As well, audiences have embraced the initiatives incorporated in the programme, which addressed today’s themes of human rights, globalisation and environmental concerns with creative flair and compelling theatre.”

Sarah Peacock, Australia Marketing Manager for Positively Wellington Tourism, said the New Zealand international Arts Festival provided a unique attraction in the city, and generated significantly more income through visitor accommodation and spending.

“Wellington is known as the cultural capital of New Zealand, offering visitors a broad range of activities, year round, and the arts festival has again highlighted just how unique this city is,” said Ms Peacock.

“Our events and entertainment offerings are becoming increasingly appealing to an ever-growing range of visitors – from sophisticated travelers seeking a wining and dining weekend, to a growing number of visitors who are embracing not only our arts, but our great nightlife and party atmosphere, with a vast range of bars and restaurants on offer in the downtown area.”

The 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival will be held from 26 February – 21 March.

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