Saturday, May 18, 2024

Spectacle of the year: ready to get WOW’ed?

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The 2024 WOW Show: DREAM AWAKE is being staged in Wellington from September 26 to October 13. Photo supplied briannekerrpublicity

Even as New Zealand Fashion Week, a fixture on the local fashion calendar, has been cancelled due to reduced consumer spending, the World of WearableArt (WOW) Show is already making news for the phenomenal number of international entries and the captivating new theme for 2024.

Fashionistas in east Auckland are in a flurry of excitement as this year’s theme for the World of WearableArt (WOW) Show has been revealed.

The 2024 WOW Show: DREAM AWAKE promises to bring the magic and vibrancy of WOW back to the heart of Wellington from September 26 to October 13, delivering a mesmerising journey into a world between worlds at the TSB Arena.

While locals who have attended the WOW Show in the past have started booking their hotel, flights, and event tickets, exexecutive creative director Brian Burke says they’re going to engage audiences like never before, with six awe-inspiring dreamscapes directly influenced by the competition design themes.

The audience will become time travellers and experience visually stunning worlds spun by a mysterious and magical visionary.

“The 2024 WOW Show: DREAM AWAKE will transport audiences to surprising and unexpected places,” he says.

“We have jaw-dropping performances, unique aerial artistry, extravagant costumes, state-of-the art 3D projection and lighting, and of course phenomenal wearable art from around the world, all coming together in a visual spectacle you can only experience at WOW.”

A new stage design and storeys-high audio visual are aiming to bring the wearable art garments closer than ever.

“We know people love to see the detail of the garments, so are constantly exploring ways to bring them closer.

“This year we’re building a completely new stage, using more of the arena, and integrating live cameras for giant projections to celebrate the artistic intricacies of the designs at the heart of the show,” Burke says.

The 2023 WOW Show saw finalists from across the globe showcase their artistry and innovation to about 60,000 audience members.

WOW Chief Executive Meg Williams says people are loving the creative developments WOW has been making since bringing on Las Vegas-based Burke, an International Emmy-nominated television producer who continues to redefine entertainment with 20 years of acclaimed ‘Best of Las Vegas’ productions and record-breaking worldwide spectacles, including the 2023 Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

“Brian has always said that WOW is globally unique and special in its own right – and that’s something to treasure and nurture,” Williams says.

“What he has connected WOW into is some of the world’s leading theatre technology and stagecraft, to continue to evolve and lift the experience, and audiences are loving it.”

Over $185,000 of awards and prizes are up for grabs this year, across six section categories.

This includes three recurring sections – Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open – and three unique categories this year: Crazy Curiosities of the Creature Carnival, Natural World and Geometric Abstraction.

WOW’s head of competition Sarah Nathan says this year has attracted a phenomenal quality of international entries, with Aotearoa-based designers having until the start of May to enter their garments.

“We already have quite the competition on our hands, and there’s a lot more to come in,” she says.

“The introduction of a new Transformation Innovation Award has been an exciting development, with designers really rising to the challenge to create garments that completely transform onstage.”

As well as the return of last year’s popular 30 Under 30 and NZSL-interpreted Awards Night initiatives, this year sees the introduction of a new Gold ticketing category.

Sitting between Platinum and A Reserve, Gold tickets include excellent seats and a WOW Show Programme.

The premium Stageside Plus and VIP Table Plus experiences also return; the exclusive backstage tour is limited to just 40 people per night.

WOW promises a dreamy escape, Williams says.

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