Christchurch gets arts festival boost

9:42 am on 12 August 2011

The first major arts event to be held in Christchurch since the February earthquake will make use of an events village set up by the city council in Hagley Park.

Two months of music, theatre and dance begins on Friday as the Christchurch Arts Festival kicks off.

Many of the city's entertainment venues were wrecked in the February earthquake, so shows will be held in the Hagley Park venue.

Musical theatre show Raising the Titanics will use a large inflatable dome in the park. Performer Tama Waipara, who grew up in Canterbury, says it's overwhelming coming back to the city, and he hopes the festival will uplift its audiences.

Festival director Philip Tremewan says a number of shows have already sold out, partly because of cheaper $20 ticket pricing made possible by a $125,000 subsidy from Creative New Zealand.

This year's acts include musicians such as Dave Dobbyn, Liam Finn and the Phoenix Foundation.

Opening alongside the arts festival is Scape, a public art event held every two years. It has been postponed twice by the September and February quakes.