Rachel Bowen's If I'd Known: Celebrations for the other C word

Rachel Bowen's If I'd Known: Celebrations for the other C word

I’ve got a new C word this month – Christmas! I’m surprised every year when it sneaks up on me, but that might be my Northern European roots showing – even after nearly 20 years in New Zealand it still feels mildly inappropriate that summer includes Christmas.

Our performing arts sector knows no such concern and we are all systems go for a full programme of events in the run-up to the holiday break.

Act Three Productions’ Legally Blonde has opened to critical acclaim, with notably scene-stealing dogs. This feel-good movie adaptation is a great family or work outing.

Centrepoint’s Cringeworthy 80s edition continues their high-energy, fun, and strangely informative run. Both shows close on December 11.

Santa’s Cave at Te Manawa is up and running with (in a first for Palmy and possibly the man in red) an online option using the AirBnB platform.

The city council’s A Very Palmy Christmas offers family-friendly, free activities this weekend. Our Christmas Concert on December 4 at the Regent on Broadway showcases Palmy’s excellent choirs as well as the internationally renowned Rodger Fox Big Band and special guests. The annual Christmas Parade moves to Central Energy Trust Arena on December 5, where the parade will go around the track and be themed to celebrate our history and heritage. Tickets are no longer required for the parade as capacity restrictions have been lifted. Tickets to the concert are available through Ticketek.

Everyone 12 and over attending the concert and parade needs to be fully vaccinated. Organisers will be checking vaccine passes on entry and ID may also be requested for verification.

The Crows Feet Dance Collective presents Carmina Burana on December 5 (rescheduled from September) at the Globe Theatre. This show explores Carl Orff’s famous cantata for orchestra and chorus with a contemporary twist. The wheel of fortune and the power of luck and fate are explored by a company of 45 dancers from across the region in an exciting large-scale work.

I’m a huge fan of SpontaneoUS – our award-winning company of improvisers who regularly perform at The Dark Room. Their Christmas show has become the stuff of Palmy legend and this year looks set to continue the tradition as they return with a full season of improvised Christmas comedy. A Spontaneous Christmas Calamity runs from December 1 to 18. Tickets available through Centrepoint Theatre.

Te Manawa Art Gallery opens a new exhibition on December 10. Keening is a collection of paintings by New Zealand artist Jack Trolove put together especially for Te Manawa. Trolove’s work is an exploration of productive tensions, and there is an attempt to mimic or remember the processes that occur during the shifting states we experience throughout our lives. I’m looking forward to making space over this busy season to spend time with this exhibition.

The Boom Boom Room Burlesque returns, bringing The Ritz to the Globe Theatre with three shows on December 10 and 11. Thrill to a fantastic burlesque world set in a 1920s hotel, with naughty guests, saucy housekeeping and a secret speakeasy in the basement. The season is almost sold out as I write, so you’ll need to move quickly to secure your tickets.

Christmas will be followed by the summer holidays – again, still strange to me – but that means I’ll be taking a month off writing this column and will be back with you in February when I hope I’ll be able to continue what I’ve started here, and not use the other C word at all.

• Rachel Bowen is an arts enthusiast, sometime actor and, as a Palmerston North city councillor, chairwoman of the council’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee. The views expressed here are her own.

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