Drew James – Festival Artistic Director
Drew has extensive experience in the direction and delivery of large events. Drew has been the Artistic Director of ERUPT Lake Taupo Festival, Taranaki International Arts Festival, and WOMAD NZ. He is also the Senior Producer of Tour-Makers, New Zealand’s national performing arts touring agency.
Most looking forward to: Seeing the special CubaDupa commissioned events, the Whakatau opening at 12noon Saturday, Renard the Fox opera with Orchestra Wellington and circus performers in Hannah’s Courtyard, the Mass Cuba Street Funk Orchestra, and Battle of the Saxes with 100 saxophones. Its great to work with such talented creatives to make something new for the Cuba Street environment.
Kate Louise Elliott – General Manager
Kate is the Mumma who finds the money and pays the bills. She is a Toi Whakaari graduate with a wealth of experience in the arts and arts management and has come to us from Auckland City Council, where she was Production Manager for Arts and Culture. Kate likes to play Auntie to everyone who spends their life creating fantastic art, just don’t eat anything she cooks for you!
Most looking forward to: I’m HUGELY excited that all these incredible artists are congregating in the arts capital of the Country for what will be a massive party in Wellington! I’m really looking forward to seeing Wellingtonians excited and proud faces as they let go, enjoy and embrace CubaDupa as their own festival, one they share with everyone! I’m eternally grateful to all our sponsors and supporters that become our family as we all deliver this incredible weekend.
Fiona Gunter-Firth – Programme Manager
A born and bred Wellingtonian Fiona has been involved in the arts all her life.As a youth she performed in theatre. Tertiary study in film and photography lead to 20 years contracting in the NZ film and Television industry in the Art Department. In the last few years Fiona has worked in Arts Management and has been a part of the CubaDupa Team since the first festival.
Most looking forward to: The high caliber international artists. We are very fortunate to be able to have such esteemed international talent coming to Wellington for this weekend. Dynamogene, Les Grooms and The Chipolatas are going to be must see for me. I’m also pleased we are able to incorporate art installations into the festival and I am looking froward to seeing ‘Carp Diem’ evolve and grow over the two days. And for the big beat of the street, Tartan Samba!
Miett Fear – Project & Development Manager
Miett has worked as Project Manager, Senior Strategic Advisor, Trade Development Consultant and Team Leader. She has worked for central and local government agencies including the Wellington City Council, NZ Trade Development Board (New York), Ministry for Economic Development (on Rugby World Cup 2011) as well as several arts organisations such as World of WearableArt, Auckland Art Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and Sydney Opera House. She was the council Project Manager for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King world premiere in Wellington.
Most looking forward to: showcasing the amazing local businesses amongst a fantastic celebration of the street, with great atmosphere and the best street food in New Zealand.
Gerry Paul- Music Coordinator
Gerry is a guitarist, songwriter, author, producer and spearfisherman and has played music at over 500 music festivals in 40 countries around the world and claims to have the best Paua Fritter recipe in New Zealand!
Most looking forward to: Following on from my personal highlight of 2016 – the “Battle of the Bones” – I am looking forward to the “Battle of the Saxes”. Expect saxophones, loads of then, expect drag, expect horns, expect a battle and melodies flying through the Cuba St air like arrows through a battleground.
KJ Smith – Site Manager
KJ is an experienced event manager with a wide variety of skills and has project managed and executed a wide range events from the Wellington Sky Show and Gardens Magic Concert Series to awards dinners and photo exhibitions.
Most looking forward to: Cubadupa is moving forward to be as sustainable as possible. As such we’ve been working with local schools to create recycled material bin covers to encourage people to use our recycling stations. The creativity and imagination shown by local children is mind-blowing. I’m looking forward to these mini-masterpieces adding colour and vibrancy to the street.
Natasha James – Technical Manager
Natasha James is a light designer and production manager who has worked throughout New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Natasha has production managed multiple tours across Australia, including an 18week tour of Jack Charles V the Crown, and toured award-winning dance and theatre shows throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada and the United States. Natasha has been a Senior Production Manager for the New Zealand Festival, and also works with a number of established New Zealand performance companies.
Most looking forward to: I love being side of stage and peeking out to see all the smiles on the faces in the crowd. I also know I’ve hired a great crew that will make the performances look and sound amazing. I’m really looking forward to working with them and bringing a big buzz to the street.
Brianne Kerr – Marketing Manager
Wellington actor, Brianne Kerr, set up her own freelance publicity business mid 2004 and has been run off her feet ever since! Bri has publicised hundreds of diverse artistic projects in the last twelve years, she is passionate about grass-roots theatre and is proud to be on the New Zealand Fringe Festival management team, eleven-time publicity mentor Young & Hungry Festival of New Theatre, and Marketing Manager for Kia Mau Festival. Bri is also a member of Chapman Tripp Theatre Award winning theatre company The Bacchanals and won Best Supporting Actress in the 2015 Wellington Theatre Awards for her role in Richard III.
Most looking forward to: smiling faces, flash mob dance and yummy food!
Hilaire Carmody – Administrator
Hilaire is the behind the scenes thaumaturge weaving administrative glitter into the daily life of the office.
Most looking forward to: I’m a big lover of indie music so I’m going to try be as close to the Garage project stage as I can all day, and well into the night. I’m also in the position of having to decide which afterparty to go to, because I know I’ll be dancing well into the small hours on Saturday night.