4 September 2020


Due to the extension of Level 2.5 restrictions in Auckland and Level 2 across the rest of the country, we have had to make the devastating decision to cancel our upcoming national tour of Venus Rising which was due to open in Wellington on 10 September.

The final three seasons of the six originally scheduled for May to June – which were rescheduled for August to September, and then cancelled in all centres except Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland – have become untenable given the length of time the country will be in Level 2 or above.

All ticket holders will be offered a full refund. In the case of customers who purchased through Ticket Rocket in Dunedin and Palmerston North, following Ticket Rocket’s receivership announcement this week, we are looking at a number of different ways in which we can offer you compensation.

Venus Rising is a stunning show and the entire company, who have worked so hard, and all of the RNZB team, find this decision very saddening, yet, at the same time, support the Government’s cautious approach in so diligently keeping the country as safe as possible. We plan to explore the possibility of streaming or broadcasting some or all of the show in the next few weeks, and are negotiating with the rights holders. We also hope to programme one or more of the four ballets as part of our 2021 season.

We would like to thank choreographers Twyla Tharp, Alice Topp, Andrea Schermoly and Sarah Foster-Sproull, together with Shelley Washington and Jesse Huot of the Tharp Organization and designers Jon Buswell, Randall G Chiarelli, Donna Jefferis and Daniel Wilson, for steadfastly keeping the faith with the RNZB over many weeks and months of change and uncertainty. Their beautiful ballets have enriched the lives of our dancers and artistic staff, and have nourished our souls.

We would like to thank all our venue partners for working so patiently with us on the many changes this national tour has seen in recent months, and we send them our condolences as they, no doubt, will have to cancel and postpone other shows and events in the coming weeks, on which they rely so much.

These are difficult times for the arts industry, and many of our colleagues in the sector, especially those in technical theatre and events logistics, have experienced the hardest winter of their careers.

In good news, rehearsals for the forthcoming Ryman Healthcare Season of The Sleeping Beauty are shaping up beautifully and it’s going to be a joyous way to end a difficult year. We look forward to sharing it with ballet lovers across the country from 29 October.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Patricia Barker, Artistic Director and Lester McGrath, Executive Director


26 August 2020

Due to the extension of Level 3 restrictions in Auckland and Level 2 across the rest of the country, along with subsequent changes to the mass gathering rules under Level 2 in Auckland, we have had to make further changes to our national tour of Venus Rising, including – regrettably – some cancellations.

Wellington and Christchurch
As previously announced, the Wellington season is still planned for Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 September at The Opera House. The Christchurch season is still scheduled for Friday 18 to Saturday 19 September at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Everyone who was holding a ticket for the original dates in Wellington and Christchurch should have been contacted about transferring into the rescheduled performances

Dunedin, Palmerston North and Napier
The performances in Dunedin, Palmerston North and Napier scheduled for 5, 9 and 12 to 13 September respectively, unfortunately need to be cancelled. Ticket holders in Dunedin, Palmerston North and Napier will be contacted by the RNZB or ticketing agencies to cancel their tickets. A full ticket refund will be offered. We are looking at what arrangements can be made for those customers in Dunedin and Palmerston North who purchased tickets through Ticket Rocket.

We have reserved dates in Auckland to which we will move our performances at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre. These are 24 to 26 September (originally 17 to 19 September). For these performances to take place, Auckland will need to be in Alert Level One and we hope, by then, this will be the case. We will contact patrons, about whether the performances will proceed, following the Government’s next COVID announcement, set to take place on or before 6 September. Until we have greater certainty, Auckland ticket sales are on hold.

We are very disappointed we will not be able to tour the country as planned, and hope that some ballet lovers from Otago, the Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay may be able to travel to Wellington or Christchurch to attend a performance there. Our ticketing team would be happy to advise on transferring their booking.

We regret any inconvenience these ongoing changes have caused ticket holders. For the sake of our dancers and creative teams, we are grateful, though, to have been able to retain the Wellington and Christchurch seasons – at this stage – in order to give them some time on stage, and some of New Zealand’s ballet lovers the chance to experience a truly stunning mixed bill of works by four outstanding choreographers.

We would like to thank the management of all the venues in which we perform for their hard work in finding solutions as we have rearranged the Venus Rising tour over the last five months.

If the Level 2 restrictions are extended beyond 6 September, it is likely the entire Venus Rising tour will be cancelled.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Patricia Barker, Artistic Director and Lester McGrath, Executive Director


17 August 2020

Due to the extension of Level 3 restrictions in Auckland and Level 2 restrictions in the rest of the country, in accordance with Government regulations that events involving more than 100 people should not proceed under Covid-19 Alert Level 2, we have had to make some changes to our performance schedule for the national tour of Venus Rising.

While we are still finalising details for the second half of the tour (Palmerston North, Dunedin, Napier and Auckland), we have confirmed details for Wellington and Christchurch.

The Wellington season, originally scheduled for Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 August, will now run at The Opera House from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 September.

The Christchurch season, originally scheduled for Friday 28 to Saturday 29 August, will now run at the Isaac Theatre Royal from Friday 18 to Saturday 19 September.

Ticket holders in Wellington and Christchurch will be contacted by the RNZB or by Ticketmaster (Wellington) or Ticketek (Christchurch), in the next few days, to confirm that they wish to have their existing bookings transferred into new dates. If the new dates do not suit, and an exchange is not possible, a full refund will be given.

Whilst we regret any inconvenience this has caused, we also acknowledge how lucky we are in New Zealand to still have the prospect of performances in the near future, when many countries across the world don’t have the luxury of being able to present or attend ballet and arts events, some for the foreseeable future.

We are working closely with our venue partners and will confirm details for the final four regions as soon as we can.

Please keep your eyes on here or our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.


14 August 2020

With this evening’s announcement that Auckland will stay in Covid-19 Level 3 until 26 August with the rest of New Zealand remaining at Covid-19 Alert Level 2, and in accordance with Government regulations that events involving more than 100 people should not go ahead under Level 2, we have temporarily suspended sales for our Venus Rising performances in Wellington and in other centres.

We hope very much that performances can be rescheduled for later in the Spring and are already in touch with our partners at Venues Wellington and around New Zealand to explore possibilities for this.

The tour was due to open at Wellington’s Opera House on Thursday 20 August, with performances nationwide as follows:

Wellington, Opera House, 20 – 22 August

Christchurch, Isaac Theatre Royal, 28 – 29 August

Dunedin, Regent Theatre, 5 September

Palmerston North, Regent on Broadway, 9 September

Napier, Municipal Theatre, 12 – 13 September

Auckland, Aotea Centre, 17 – 19 September

If you have tickets for Venus Rising, whether purchased through the RNZB or through Ticketmaster (Wellington and Auckland), Ticketek (Christchurch, Napier and Palmerston North) or the Regent Theatre in Dunedin, you will be contacted directly to discuss options, once we have new dates confirmed. This is likely to be early next week.

In the event of a cancelled performance, or if you are unable to attend a rescheduled performance, you are entitled to a full refund.

If you were due to attend a performance of Venus Rising as a member of the media or as an invited guest, you will also receive an update next week.

The whole company would like to thank our supporters and ballet whānau in Aotearoa and overseas for your messages of support which have sustained us all, particularly over the last few days, but also over the many months of this Covid-19 journey. Like you, we eagerly look forward to being back in the theatre and to sharing the magic of live performance.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Patricia Barker, Artistic Director and Lester McGrath, Executive Director


12 August 2020

With the recent community outbreak of Covid-19 in Auckland and the associated increase to alert level 3 in Auckland and alert level 2 in the rest of New Zealand, we have to face the possibility that our tour of Venus Rising, due to open in Wellington on 20 August, may not go ahead as planned or with some performances re-scheduled. 

Venus Rising is currently due to tour to Wellington (20 – 22 August), Christchurch (28 – 29 August), Dunedin (5 September), Palmerston North (9 September), Napier (12 – 13 September) and Auckland (17 – 19 September). 

If you hold tickets for a performance of Venus Rising, purchased through the RNZB, or through Ticketmaster (Wellington and Auckland), Ticketek (Napier, Palmerston North, Christchurch) or the Regent Theatre in Dunedin, you will be contacted once we know if and when performances can proceed in accordance with government regulations.  

If any performance is cancelled, you will be entitled to a full refund. 

If performances go ahead, either on the original dates or rescheduled, our refund and exchange policy, with additional special provisions regarding Covid-19, will apply. We have instructed the ticketing agencies associated with each venue for the tour to follow this policy also. 

The continued good health of our audiences, artists and staff is our priority and we look forward, with optimism, to returning to theatres around Aotearoa soon.  Rest assured that our venue partners are also working with us to deliver a high standard of customer care.

View our COVID-19 Ticketing Terms and Conditions.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Patricia Barker, Artistic Director and Lester McGrath, Executive Director

Venus Rising Venus Rising rehearsal. RNZB Artist Annaliese Macdonald and Principal Paul Mathews. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.