Wellington is home to Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand), the National Library of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Museum, Colonial Cottage, the New Zealand Cricket Museum, the Cable Car Museum, Old St Paul's, and the Wellington City Art Gallery.
Wellington has become home to myriad high-profile events and cultural celebrations, including the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival, biennial Wellington Jazz Festival, biennial Capital E National Arts Festival for Children and major events such as Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art, Cuba Street Carnival, Visa Wellington On a Plate, New Zealand Fringe Festival, New Zealand International Comedy Festival (also hosted in Auckland), Summer City, The Wellington Folk Festival (in Wainuiomata), New Zealand Affordable Art Show, the New Zealand Sevens Weekend and Parade, Out in the Square, Vodafone Homegrown, the Couch Soup theatre festival, and numerous film festivals.
The annual children's Artsplash Festival brings together hundreds of students from across the Wellington region. The week-long festival includes music and dance performances and the presentation of visual arts.
Filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Richard Taylor and a growing team of creative professionals have turned the eastern suburb of Miramar into a film-making, post-production and special effects infrastructure, giving rise to the moniker 'Wellywood'. Jackson's companies include Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, Camperdown Studios, post-production house Park Road Post, and Stone Street Studios near Wellington Airport. Recent films shot partly or wholly in Wellington include the Lord of The Rings trilogy, King Kong and Avatar. Jackson described Wellington in this way: "Well, it's windy. But it's actually a lovely place, where you're pretty much surrounded by water and the bay. The city itself is quite small, but the surrounding areas are very reminiscent of the hills up in northern California, like Marin County near San Francisco and the Bay Area climate and some of the architecture. Kind of a cross between that and Hawaii."
Sometime Wellington directors Jane Campion and Geoff Murphy have reached the world's screens with their independent spirit. Emerging Kiwi film-makers, like Robert Sarkies, Taika Waititi, Costa Botes and Jennifer Bush-Daumec, are extending the Wellington-based lineage and cinematic scope. There are agencies to assist film-makers with such tasks as securing permits and scouting locations.
Wellington has a large number of independent cinemas, including The Embassy, Paramount,Penthouse, the Roxy and Light House, which participate in film festivals throughout the year. Wellington also has one of the country's highest turn-outs for the annual New Zealand International Film Festival.
The local music scene has produced bands such as The Warratahs, The Phoenix Foundation, Shihad, Beastwars, Fly My Pretties, Rhian Sheehan, Birchville Cat Motel, Black Boned Angel, Fat Freddy's Drop, The Black Seeds, Fur Patrol, Flight of the Conchords, Connan and the Mockasins, Rhombus and Module. The New Zealand School of Music was established in 2005 through a merger of the conservatory and theory programmes at Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Nevine String Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand are based in Wellington. The city is also home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Internationally renowned men's A Cappella chorus Vocal FX.
Wellington is home to Downstage Theatre, Bats Theatre, Circa Theatre, the National Maori Theatre company Taki Rua, Whitireia Performance Centre, National Dance & Drama School Toi Whakaari and the National Theatre for Children at Capital E in Civic Square.
Wellington is home to groups that perform Improvised Theatre and Improvisational comedy, including Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT) a Improvisors and youth group, Joe Improv. Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre, houses New Zealand's University-level school of Dance and Drama, Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School & New Zealand School of Dance, and also Whitiriea Peroforming Arts Centre .These Brother & Sister Institutions are separately run entities that share the building's facilities.
St James' Theatre on Courtenay Place is a popular venue for artistic performances.
Wellington is the home for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand School of Dance.
Wellington has a small but thriving comedy scene, aided in recent years by the emergence of the Fringe Bar as the home for Wellington comedy. The venue hosts up to three nights of comedy every week, with a mix of stand-up, improv and sketch. The monthly El Jaguar Fiesta de Variety showcases a mix of music, singing, burlesque, and comedy. Other venues which host comedy in Wellington include the San Francisco Bath House.
Many of New Zealand's prominent comedians have either come from Wellington or have got their start there, such as Ginette McDonald ("Lynn of Tawa"), Raybon Kan, Dai Henwood, Ben Hurley, Steve Wrigley, Guy Williams, and, most famously, the Flight of the Conchords and the satirist John Clarke ("Fred Dagg"), who found even greater fame after he moved to Australia.
The comedy group Breaking the 5th Wall operates out of Wellington and has regular shows around the city, performing a mix of sketches and semi-improvised theatre.
Wellington also hosts shows in the annual New Zealand International Comedy Festival. The NZ International Comedy Fest 2010 featured over 250 local and international comedy acts and was a revolutionary first in incorporating an iPhone application for the Festival.
From 1936 to 1992 Wellington was home to the National Art Gallery of New Zealand, when it was amalgamated into Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Wellington is also home to the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. The city's arts centre, Toi Poneke, is a nexus of creative projects, collaborations, and multi-disciplinary production. Arts Programmes and Services Manager Eric Vaughn Holowacz and a small team based in the Abel Smith Street facility have produced ambitious initiatives such as Opening Notes, Drive by Art, and public art projects. The city is home to experimental arts publication White Fungus. The Learning Connexion provides art classes. Other visual art galleries include the City Gallery.
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