Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Escape! – the little festival with big ideas – is all set to get Tauranga talking this weekend.

Guests include novelist Greg McGee (11.30am & 4pm Sunday), chef Peter Gordon (11.30am, Saturday), microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles (5.30pm, Friday; 2.30pm & 4pm Sunday) and Dame Anne Salmond (1pm, June 5).

Restaurant reviewer Jesse Mulligan (right) Spinoff books editor Steve Braunias talk about the art of reviewing (2.30pm, Saturday), while Braunias also joins Rod Oram and Wintec editor-in-residence Aimie Cronin to chew the fat about the state of our media (1pm, Saturday).

Don’t Mention the Flag (4pm, Saturday) is a ‘big ideas’ panel featuring former Cabinet Minister Margaret Wilson, business commentator Rod Oram, Awanui Black from the Tauranga Moana Iwi Leaders Forum, and Basement Theatre general manager Charlie McDermott.

A highlight for festival director Claire Mabey is an Italian-theme morning tea with Nicky Pellegrino on Queen’s Birthday Monday (10am). “I’ve been reading her novels and so enjoyed them I have booked a trip to Sicily. I can’t wait to hear her talk about the books and Italy.”
Shakespeare is in the spotlight – 400 years after his death – with Michael Hurst appearing in No Holds Bard (1pm, Friday; 7.30pm, Saturday) and a panel discussion about the Bard’s enduring appeal (10am, Saturday) featuring Hurst, Professor Mark Houlahan and Donovan Bixley, author-illustrator of Much Ado About Shakespeare.

The final line-up of The Great Escape! (4pm, Sunday) has only recently been announced. Six speakers have 7 minutes each to tell a true story based on the session title. Taking up the challenge are Tauranga’s Robert McGowan, a rongoa Maori medicine expert and former Catholic priest, film buff Geoff Lealand, Greg McGee, Nicky Pellegrino, Donovan Bixley and Siouxsie Wiles.
“It’s a one-off ‘performance’,” Mabey says. “We’ve got an interesting mix of panellists so expect it to be surprising, as well as fun.”
There are also some free sessions with Tauranga City librarians reading tales for nippers at 10am (Saturday) and 1pm (Sunday). Grim Tales are for older listeners at 1pm (Saturday) and 10am (Sunday).  Grim Tales was produced this year to support Tauranga Women’s Refuge.
An international movement to encourage acceptance, The Human Library is at Escape! on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm. ‘Books’ include a paraplegic, a man whose brother was murdered, a suicide survivor, a recent migrant and a transgender teen. Book a half-hour slot (groups of up to 4) by emailing

See the full Escape! programme. All events are at Baycourt Theatre in the central city. Tickets from Baycourt or

No comments: