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Whether it’s a community event or a high quality live performance, Auckland Pride has something for everyone. (Image Design: Archi Banal)
Whether it’s a community event or a high quality live performance, Auckland Pride has something for everyone. (Image Design: Archi Banal)

Pop CultureFebruary 9, 2023

Here’s what you need to see in the Auckland Pride Festival

Whether it’s a community event or a high quality live performance, Auckland Pride has something for everyone. (Image Design: Archi Banal)
Whether it’s a community event or a high quality live performance, Auckland Pride has something for everyone. (Image Design: Archi Banal)

Overwhelmed by the 100+ shows in Auckland Pride? Don’t worry, we’ve got choice picks from some of Tāmaki Makarau’s leading queer artists, activists and general cool people in the community.

Ahi Karunaharan, Actor/Writer/Director/Producer

Concerning the UFO Sighting Outside Mt Roskill, Auckland (Tue 21 – Sat 25 Feb, 6:30PM, Basement Theatre)

Reon is a true creative polymath. From opening for Tom Scott for Avantdale Bowling Club on their nationwide tour last year to producing incredible sonic design for theatre shows in between their acting gigs, Reon is a true talent to check out. I’m totally digging this retro, revisionist, intimate, queer sci-fi. 

“Concerning the UFO Sighting Outside Mt Roskill, Auckland” is a solo theatre show that tells the story of a young man in 1980’s Auckland that is struggling with his growing belief in aliens, and his life as a closeted gay man. (Image: Auckland Pride)

Vinay Hira by Morticia Antoinette Godiva by Vinay Hira (Thu 16 Feb, 6:30PM, Basement Theatre)

There is so much genre-bending, boundary-pushing, and truly experimental art at its finest on offer as part of this festival. Vinay Hira’s was one of the first South Asian performances and visual artists I had ever seen live and that experience expanded the way I read and saw live performance. I’m so hyped about their latest offering as well as the stunning lineup of artists and free events that are part FOLA.

Show Ponies (Sat 25 Feb, 7:00PM & 9:00PM, Basement Theatre)

I’ve been FOMOing hard for the last two years at not being able to catch a Show Ponies show ever since I saw it blow up on Insta Stories. Finally, this iconic event comes to Tāmaki with a line-up of some of this country’s best poets all cramped into the Basement with beats and backup dancers as they perform their words. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it and I simply cannot wait.

Art Chemist (Every weekend of February 11am-5pm at the Albert Park Caretakers’ Cottage)

I love the concept of this work. Part interactive performance and installation. At a time when our mayor looks at potentially slashing regional arts funding, it works like these that remind the wider community that the tonic for our ailments sometimes could be in the arts. There is something holistic and communal about this work that I’m intrigued by.

CXNT Vol.1 (Tue 07 – Fri 10 Feb, 8:00PM, Basement Theatre)

Some of this city’s trailblazing artists come together under the visionary direction and choreography of Logan Collis in this hybrid new dance work. Unapologetic, authentic, visceral, and spiritual. It will be an unforgettable experience.

Poets turn popstars in Show Ponies. (Image: Auckland Pride)

Janaye Henry, Comedian 

Takirua (Weds, 15 February, 8.30PM, Basement Theatre)

F.O.L.A (Festival of Live Art) is happening at Basement and honestly the whole lineup looks incredible, but if I only had time to see one it would be Takiura. It’s a double bill with Ta’i Paitai and Natasha Van Etten. It’s more bang for your buck and both will be experiences you go to tell ya friends about but end up saying, “you just had to be there!”

No Homo: Queer Comedy – Pride Edition (Thu 23 – Fri 24 Feb, 8:30PM, Basement Theatre)

It’s my favourite regular show in Auckland. It’s actually monthly but they’re doing a pride edition but they’re committed to the pride kaupapa year ROUND baby and I love to see it. It’s a guaranteed fun night out.

Show Ponies (Sat 25 Feb, 7:00PM & 9:00PM, Basement Theatre)

They make poetry cool, sexy and hot. It’s poetry performed in a gig-like fashion with musical backing. I don’t think there is anything else like it and it’s going to be such a fun time!!

Flea Pit (Tue 14 – Sat 18 Feb, 5:30PM, Basement Theatre)

It is also in F.O.L.A, is freeeee, and created by the incredible Tyrone Te Waa. It’s interactive sculptures, I don’t know what they are because I haven’t seen them but you better believe I will be going and interacting. Big fan of Tyrone, everything Tyrone makes is exciting to me! 

The new show from Mother Honey Givenchy’s season of Cxnt Vol.1. (Image: Auckland Pride)

Sam Low, Influencer and Masterchef 

Jez & Jace: Lads on Tour (Thu 9 – Sat 11 Feb, 6:45PM, Q Theatre)

Like stumbling across something unexpected on your For You Page on Tik Tok. So clever and so dumb – my favourite combination. Nails the Kiwi bogan in such a fun way. 

Club Cxnt (Sat 11 Feb, 9:00PM, Basement Theatre)

It’s just a great way to engage with the ballroom scene – something that’s become a huge staple of queer culture. Attending the House of Givenchy’s previous ball was lit. You have no choice but to feel when you’re amongst these legends. Slays hard.

Peaches (Mon 20 Feb, 8:00PM, Powerstation)

I only discovered Peaches very recently in anticipation of this gig. And all I have to say is… it’s gonna be a good night. 

Irregular Objects (Sat 18 Feb, 8:00PM, Raynham Park)

A friend is dragging me but I love going to things not knowing what to expect. Also, Raynham Park is such a sick venue. I love to be surprised. 

Show Ponies (Sat 25 Feb, 7:00PM & 9:00PM, Basement Theatre)

In the last two years I’ve found a love of spoken word and poetry. And to see how it can be elevated with a concert vibe, smashing those genres together is very exciting to me. Also a big fan of Dan Goodwin and Chris Tse. 

Diaspora Rendered is a compilation of collaborative digital works by Tanu Gago and members of FAFSWAG Arts Collective. (Image: Auckland Pride Festival)

Michelle Mascoll, Community Activist (Same Same But Black, Ethnic Rainbow Alliance & Black Sound Society)

Be:longing (Homegrown and OE Edition) (Homegrown: Sat 18 Feb, 7:30PM, Q Theatre LoftOE: Fri 17 Feb, 6:45PM, Q Theatre Vault)

Not only does the title draw me, but also having the South Asian queer community represented in Auckland Pride is spectacular. The play reading as an opportunity to weave the threads of our community together. 

Diaspora Rendered (Thu 16 Feb, 8:20PM, Basement Theatre)

Fangirl of all things Tanu and FAFSWAG and the opportunity to see something of international esteem on our soil.

Inclusion: Being disabled in the LGBTQIA+ community (Thu 09 Feb, 7:30PM, Ellen Melville Centre)

Inclusion – it’s such a broad word and also very narrow at the same time. Inclusion looks like a very different thing depending on where you stand, so I’m keen to see how they tackle this. I am looking forward to the challenging of conscious and unconscious biases in our community. 

Honoured Writer: Chris Tse (Sat 25 Feb, 4:00PM, Ellen Melville Centre)

Really curious to see Chris’ work and see what he will discuss. Admire his writing and style. Nice to see him in a candid space where he can be himself. The concept of being a Poet Laureate is so colonial but to jump those hurdles to be in this space is an achievement. 

Vinay Hira by Morticia Antoinette Godiva by Vinay Hira  (Thu 16 Feb, 6:30PM, Basement Theatre)

I have no preconceptions of what this is. I just wanted to see what it is. I am inspired by a level of curiosity as the blurb doesn’t tell me anything, but I liked that. The style and fashion of the show image felt like a homage to my youth. 

Samuel Te Kani, part of the Pride Elevates programme in Auckland Pride Festival. (Image: Auckland Pride Festival)

Chlöe Swarbrick, MP for Auckland Central

Festival of Live Art (F.O.L.A.) (February 14th – February 19th, Basement Theatre)

A festival in a festival? Are you serious? I love this city.

Art & Activism with Rainbow Green MPs (Fri 17 Feb, 5:30PM, Green Party Outreach Office)

Come hang. We’ll do some cute art together.

Pride March (Sat 18 Feb, 2:00PM, Queen Street)

The pure queer power and community of it all. Always one of my highlights of the year.

Test Your Gear/Test Yourself (Drug Checking and STI Testing) (Thu 09 Feb, 3:00PM, Albert Park Caretaker’s Cottage | Sat 25 Feb, 11:00AM, Burnett Centre)

This term of Parliament, we became the first country in the world to explicitly legalise drug checking services. It was a long, hard fight, much like every fight has been for our rainbow communities: against entrenched conservative stigma and misinformation, to get the law to reflect the reality and finally, reduce harm.

Elder Queers Give Advice (Sat 25 Feb, 11:00AM, Aotea Square)

Deeply wholesome.

The Auckland Pride Festival runs from February 1 to February 26, with events taking place all over Tāmaki Makarau.

Keep going!