Escape! Festival returns to Tauranga

Te Radar. Supplied images.

Escape!, the little festival with big ideas, returns to Tauranga on October 17 and 18.

Organisers hope that after a year of disruption, people are ready to enjoy conversations for the heart, mind and soul.

“This version has risen from our cancelled event in June and is more like a pop-up,” says Tauranga Arts Festival trust chair Kathryn Lellman.

“We’re funding it ourselves because we felt we really wanted to present something in Tauranga this year, that it was important to put the arts back into the heart of the city.”

Headline guests are award-winning journalist Tom Scott, whose latest book is a best-selling biography of Kiwi war hero Charles Upham, and funnyman Te Radar, who will take his audience down some quirky, illustrated byways of New Zealand history.

Escape! has always been a festival with a difference and this slimmed-down version is no different.

Annette Lees will share a social history of swimming in New Zealand – her book ‘Swim’ includes her diary of a year swimming outdoors wherever she happened to be in the country – and as well will lead a free dip in the harbour on the morning of October 18 (registration essential).

Annette Lees.

Wellington lawyer and novelist Brannavan Gnanalingam acknowledges Escape! programmer Sandra Simpson and Tauranga Arts Festival for their support in his acclaimed new book ‘Sprigs’, described by one reviewer as being narrated “with the skill of the most bingeable miniseries”.

He appears with fellow novelists Nikki Crutchley and Tina Shaw, as well as joining a panel sharing their Love Letters to literature.

Tauranga talent taking to the stage includes GP and short-story writer Andrew Corin, marine scientist Kura Paul-Burke, librarian and publisher Debbie McCauley, bird expert Paul Cuming and small-town champion Karen Summerhays.

The Saturday programme takes place at the University of Waikato and the Sunday programme at Baycourt Theatre, both in Durham St.

See the full programme at

Tickets from the website or Baycourt box office.

Day passes and student discounts available (does not include Te Radar: Telling Tales).

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