World Buskers Festival

New Zealand’s world-leading street performance festival releases line up


International divas and burlesque kings and queens are among the line-up released online today by iconic annual street performance event, the 2014 SCIRT WORLD BUSKERS FESTIVAL.

The Christchurch-based festival is the biggest street performance festival in Australasia and is still the most popular feature in the city's cultural calendar after 21 years.

Artistic director and festival founder Jodi Wright said as word spreads about the international calibre of the entertainment, the audience is moving beyond the Garden City regulars and the need to secure seats early to avoid missing out is growing. While the full programme and pre-release seat offer is launched on the festival's website today, the festival itself will run from 16 January to 26 January 2014.

"We've seen the festival grow from a five day showcase in the City Mall with a strong street performance focus, and mainly local talent, to our current base of Busker Park in North Hagley Park with multiple stages, on-site bars and food vendors, and a ten day/ eleven night programme of events that features some of the world's best comedians, fringe artists, musicians and visual artists," said Wright.

"We've had to change the way we do things after the earthquakes, including moving out of the inner city. While we still have our street performance roots - you can turn up at any time and be entertained - our new base means we've developed a number of indoor venues and fringe theatre style events that allow us to host a whole new range of performers.

"The scale of the festival is so much bigger but I think the main reason people keep coming back, and more people are checking us out, is because whether you're a fan of highly skilled acrobatics, hoola-hoopers, trapeze artists, musicians, dancers, circus and vaudeville skits, burlesque, or you're looking to entertain the kids in the school holidays - you're guaranteed a good time and some belly laughs.

For the indoor fringe theatre-style shows, the 2014 programme will see the return of 2013 stand out hit Le Gateau Chocolat with his new show I Heart Chocolat (R16) and local boy done good Sam Wills taking time out from an international touring schedule to bringThe Boy with Tape on his Face - More Tape (R16) back to Christchurch.

The all new incredibly high calibre iSite Buskers Burlesque (R18) will be hosted by star emcees of Speigelworld'sEmpire, which premiered in New York City last year, and will featureAmerica's Got Talentsemi-finalist Michelle L'Amour, past World Burlesque King Captain Kidd aka Mark Winmill, star of Cirque de Soleil's Love, star of circus-cabaret show La Soiree Nate Cooper, and current reigning Queen of Burlesque Imogen Kelly.

The popular Nothing but Stand-Up (R18) series will this year be a battle of the sexes with male-only and female-only comedian nights hosted by Jeremy Elwood and Urzila Carlson from Seven Daysand accompanied by Stuart Goldsmith, Nick Rado, David Quirk, Lori Bell, Justine Smith and Patsy Decline.

Michele A'Court, voted Female Comedian of the Decade 2010 by the NZ Comedy Guild, will be presenting her new showStuff I Forgot to Tell My Daughter.

American bad boy magician Paul Nathan will perform hisI Hate Children Children's Showas well as something for the grown-ups with An Hour of Magic(R20), and the UK's new international cabaret scene star, Dusty Limits, will be displaying his three-octave range and merciless wit. 

For the street acts - clowns, contortionists, circus performers, acrobats and performers that flat out defy description are descending from Israel, USA, The Netherlands, Mexico, the UK, Australia and our own backyard.

In all, the festival will feature 55 acts from 10 countries and will run from 16 to 26 January 2014.

While the majority of the festival will be held at Busker Park in North Hagley Park, the festival will also be spreading the laughs across the city at The Terrace Pitch, Lane Neave Music Pitch - Re:Start Mall,  Gap Filler Pallet Pavilion, New Brighton Basketball Courts, Botanic Gardens, Mashina Lounge - Christchurch Casino and at The Press Club - Christ's College.

The online pre-release seat offer is available now until seats are gone. To beat the queue and book pre-release seats and view the full programme visit


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Renee Parsons