By Laura Hall
The biggest week in Canterbury’s entertainment calendar is here once again; Cup and Show Week is in full swing.
Farmers from across the region have herded up their finest stock and made the journey into the big smoke for the A&P Show, ladies and gents are donning their Sunday best for a flutter at the races, and the tills of retail and hospitality businesses across the city are ringing with the sound of extra revenue from the annual influx
The city is positively humming with a week full of events which draw a swathe of people locally and from out of town, and these people inject the local economy with cash. More than $14.5 million is expected to spent in the city as a direct result of Cup and Show Week.
The hospitality sector, including catering, eateries and accommodation, plus the retail and tourism industries, will be on the receiving end of the expenditure. A welcome boost for the many new hotels, bars, restaurants and shops now open in the city, yet to build a regular customer base.
It is not surprising millions of dollars will be spent in the city thanks to a large number of families and party goers out and about, enjoying all the week has to offer.
An estimated 55,000 people are expected to attend the races throughout the week. But the biggest event during Cup and Show Week is undoubtedly the Canterbury A&P Show, with an estimated 120,000 expected to attend the three day agricultural show. More than 35 percent of the overall visitor numbers for the week are from out of town.
Christchurch City Council events development manager, Richard Attwood says the event continues to grow in popularity every year, with a record total turnout across the festival last year.
The growth can be attributed to the show positioning itself as a national event, as opposed to just a Christchurch event. “This year’s event is on track to top last year’s turnout numbers, which is great news for the city,” Richard says.
“Cup and Show Week promises to deliver all the racing, fashion, entertainment and family fun that makes New Zealand Cup and Show Week the country’s biggest and most vibrant
“This is a wonderful time for Cantabrians and out of town visitors to celebrate how creative and exciting Christchurch has become. We have a full week of events guaranteed to get everyone out and about,” he says.
New in show
This year promises to be the biggest Cup and Show Week to date with two new events packing even more excitement into show week. The debuting events are the Professional Bull Riders New Zealand Cup and the New Zealand Hat and Hair Art Awards.
The Professional Bull Riders Cup on November 13 at the A&P Show will feature 22 elite bull riders from around the world battling it out in a man-versus beast sport like no other.
Also new to the Cup and Show Week calendar is the New Zealand Hat and Hair Art Awards on November 8. The event celebrates the creative genius of the country’s top hat and hair artists at a catwalk show where the fashion-forward hairstyles and headwear will compete to win prizes and prestige.
The Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral show has been the country’s largest show of its kind for more than 150 years. The three day event showcases New Zealand’s best famers and their livestock as they compete for in excess of $100,000 of prize money.
More than 3,000 animals and close to 1,000 competitors compete in 1,700 classes including sections for horse and pony, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, alpaca, llama, wool, goat, dog trials, poultry, shearing, wool handling, wood chopping and vintage machinery.
Canterbury A&P association president, Richard Parkes says exhibitors travel from all around the country to attend the show. “We consistently attract some of the best equestrian and livestock entries that New Zealand has to offer; that equates to around 7,000 entries each year.”
The Canterbury A&P Show is the pinnacle of showing success and offers many benefits to exhibitors. “It’s not just the prize money that draws exhibitors from around the country. A win at the Canterbury A&P Show is a recognition of excellence which can result in financial success for breeders,” Richard says.
But the show has so much more to offer than just farm animals. It is jam-packed full of entertainment to excite the whole family.
Iconic Kiwi band Salmonella Dub is headlining the show, performing live on the Village Green across all three days. Plus there are a countless number of market stalls to visit, cooking demonstrations, food and wine tasting, carnival rides, helicopter joy rides, a family lawn with kid’s entertainment, wood chopping, a massive lolly scramble, a machinery parade and more.
This truly is Christchurch’s week to party, so get out and about and join in on the celebrations at any one of the many events.
Welcoming back a familiar friend
You may have noticed the towering 30 metre high ballerina, the largest piece of street art in Christchurch, on the back wall of the Isaac Theatre Royal – a significant icon that has been saved in a city that’s lost so much.
The stunning ballerina is a nod to what’s to come for the people of Christchurch. The ‘Grand Old Lady’ of New Zealand theatre is reopening her doors on November 17 in what will be a beaming light in our city’s road to recovery.
Earthquake strengthening work was undertaken in 1998/99 which no doubt saved this 106 year old heritage building from complete collapse in the 2010/11 earthquakes. The 106 year old structure has taken four years and $40 million – not to mention the removal of six layers of paint – to rebuild and restore, thanks to the support of many individuals and funding organisations.
Its façade has been stripped back to reveal its true bones, with original red brickwork with white Oamaru stone columns and capitals, unseen in decades.
Many other key heritage features have also been retained and restored, including the marble staircase between stalls and dress circle levels, as well as original leadlight windows and royal boxes.
The top level of the theatre previously known as “the Gallery” has been renamed “The Grand Circle” with its own brand new foyer space and plush bar facilities.
The theatre’s famous 1908 hand painted canvas ceiling dome has been painstakingly restored to its original glory and has been a key focal point of the restoration for many of the theatre’s supporters.
One hundred years worth of dust and grime has been cleaned off the individual canvas panels by Italian restorer Carolina Izzo and her team, revealing the true beauty of the painting.
Chief executive Neil Cox says he is more than looking forward to once again welcoming the large scale theatrical productions the ITR has been famous for since it first opened in 1908.
“The Isaac Theatre Royal is the preferred Christchurch venue for major local and touring productions, hosting musicals, ballet, plays, opera, film, concerts, comedy, recitals, community events, children’s theatre and even ice shows,” Neil says.
“The theatre has staged the best in the world and the best of our own world class talent during its illustrious 106 year history.”
He says the rebuild project will sees the theatre restored to her original Edwardian grandeur and will be celebrated once again as the South Island’s premier venue for the performing arts.
“It has been a massive project of love and belief to get this beautiful old venue back on its feet again.”
The Grade-A heritage listed Theatre Royal was the only surviving Edwardian style theatre in the country. The building was saved from demolition in the early 1980s, refurbished and upgraded to world class theatrical production standards in 2004 and was renamed Isaac Theatre Royal after Diana, Lady Isaac, after reopening in mid 2005.
The 2014 Reopening Season at the Isaac Theatre Royal will include performances from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Kostroma Russian Dance Company, Southern Ballet, a touring play and a concert from one of Britain’s iconic folk/rock bands of the 1970s will be announced soon, among various local community events.
The Isaac Theatre Royal will be celebrated once again as the South Island’s premier venue for the performing arts.