Bread and Circus - World Buskers Festival - 10 January to 3 February 2019

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After 25 successful years, the Christchurch (World) Buskers Festival has become an annual institution in the city - its a favourite milestone of Summer and this time around the series of events has been Pack yourself into a bar with hundreds of strangers, learn a song in 3 part harmony in 90 minutes, perform it twice, and if the publishing Gods are smiling: have it immortalised in video forever.and renamed as Bread and Circus.

The city's events and tourism agency ChristchurchNZ appointed Australian company Strut & Fret Production House to run the event in 2019. 

Strut & Fret is based in Melbourne and has run events in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, the UK, Asia, South America, Canada and the USA over the last 20 years. 

The company co-produced the Garden of Unearthly Delights, an outdoor festival in Adelaide that inspired the buskers festival revamp.

This summer Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival invites you to step into the heart of the city, the Arts Centre and beyond, for a whole month of extravaganza – world-class busking, award-winning shows and plenty of free spectacle for all.

We have reviewed what is on offer and summarised the venues below with some of the acts you can expect to see and enjoy at each one.

Check out the full programme here, and note the new system indicating which events are:

1) Ticketed

2) Pass the hat (ie bring along cash to drop in the performers hats), and

3) Completely free (which means the performers have been sponsored to appear, but would probably still appreciate any donations)

Ticketed events have limited capacity of course and it pays to book early since they often sell out.

Venues:

Worcester Boulevard

A variety of free street shows and performances, along with an exhibition of images from the last 25 years of Buskers Festivals in Christchurch, curated by former festival director Jodi Wright.

Cathedral Square

Christchurch's traditional event venue will be reclaiming it's place in 2019 - 

The re-establishment of the Cathedral Square Pitch sees busking, on a grand scale, return to the heart of the city. Expect big shows, big crowds and big love for this iconic festival mainstay. Note that there is limited shade and seating available at this pitch. You can BYO cushion or low chairs only and make sure you slop on the sunscreen and wear a hat. 

These are free shows but the hat will be passed around, so make sure you bring along some cash. Food trucks will also be onsite so there will be plenty of food and drinks options available.

Enjoy performances from:

Ready Aim Fire, Pancho Libre,  Daredevil Chicken Club, Ernest the Magnifico, The Atari Show, Hero-San, The Toni Show, Satya Bella, Peter Mielniczek, Pedro Tochas,Josh Grimaldi, The Miss Behave Street Show, Mulletman and Fraser Hooper.

Peacock Fountain, Chch Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave

This is a gorgeous setting but again there is little shade. You can bring along a cushion to sit on the grass, no chairs are allowed.

Artists at this buskers pitch include:

Mulletman, Fraser Hooper, Ready Aim Fire, Pancho Libre, Daredevil Chicken Club, Ernest the Magnifico, The Atari Show, Hero-San, The Toni Show, Satya Bella, Peter Mielniczek, Pedro Tochas, Josh Grimaldi, The Miss Behave Street Show

Festival Hub and Spiegeltent, cnr Worcester Blvard and Oxford Terrace

This is one of the primary locations for events during the festival and will remain in place right through into February with daily shows. The Spiegeltent location also includes food vendors so you can head down there knowing there is food, drink and entertainment all in one spot - and just a short walk from the heart of the city (and plenty of parking options).

Shows in this venue include:

LIMBO, The Raymond & Mr Timpkins Revue: HAM, Pub Choir, Le Gateau Chocolat: ICONS, Modern Māori Quartet, Kevin Quantum, Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum, RNZ BANG! Live Show, RNZ Black Sheep Live Show, Freaks on Friday, Orchestra of Spheres, The O.T.T Show, Festival Superband and The Nasty Show.

Christchurch Arts Centre - North Quad, Market Square and Backstage Social Club

The festival programme features an incredible line-up at the Arts Centre’s Backstage Social Club (The Gym) and busking pitches at Market Square and the North Quadrangle.

Festival events at the Backstage Social Club include:

The Miss Behave Gameshow (variety, comedy – United Kingdom/United States)
Kaput (family, physical theatre – Australia)
Melanie Bracewell – Melodrama (stand-up comedy – New Zealand)
The Revolver Club (cabaret, variety – New Zealand and international)
Guy Montgomery – I was Part of the Problem Before We were Talking About It (stand-up comedy – New Zealand)
Breaking Bread (conversation – everywhere)

Christ's College Assembly Hall and Old Boys Theatre

Shows at Christ's College in Rolleston Ave, which is next door to the Museum and close to the Arts Centre, include:

LEO: The Anti-Gravity Show, Hot Brown Honey and Piff the Magic Dragon

The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue: HAM, Garry Starr Performs Everything and Betty Grumble: Love & Anger

Sixty6 on Peterborough, Christchurch Casino

This venue will be home to the Pub Choir on January 11 at 6.30pm - pack yourself into a bar with hundreds of strangers, learn a song in 3 part harmony in 90 minutes, perform it twice, and if the publishing Gods are smiling: have it immortalised in video forever.

Tickets start from $20 so make sure you book! The Pub Choir will also be showing up at the Spiegeltent on January 12 and 13.

Isaac Theatre Royal, Gloucester Street

The Isaac Theatre Royal is a stunning venue that was completely rebuilt after the Christchurch earthquakes, but featuring many of the original elements that were beautifully restored.

This magical venue features some incredible performance during Bread and Circus, including:

The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue: HAM, Garry Starr Performs Everything and Betty Grumble: Love & Anger.

To find out more about any of the events, venues and performers mentioned above, check out the Festival website at www.breadandcircus.co.nz