“The only noteworthy exhibition in NZ dedicated to performance in all of its forms”

Bruce Phillips (2018)

A Contextual Tightrope


“Rather than what festivals have become, how can both the public and artists be engaged with more dynamic processes that embrace the more heady and unsteady model of carnival suggested by The Performance Arcade?”

Emma Willis (2012) "Enter Here: Emergent Dramaturgies and the Civic Role of an Arts Festival" Illusions, NZ Moving Image and Performing Arts Criticism, 2012.

Running since 2011


For its 10 year anniversary The Performance Arcade presented a specially curated retrospective programme of works from the last decade, and an ambitious city-wide programme of performance and live art - WHAT IF THE CITY WAS A THEATRE? Together with over over 30 creative companies and 500+ artists and performers this expanded festival engaged 240,000 people over the course of 6 weeks of programming.

The Performance Arcade is an acclaimed live art event that attracts 60-90,000 people every year to Wellington Waterfront. Every year since 2011 audiences have come for an exciting and diverse programme of works by NZ and International artists, presented within an architectural arrangement of shipping containers. 


This innovative space for live art, music and performance presentation offers new encounters between artists and the public. Opening onto the bustling life of the Wellington Waterfront, these sites of encounter engage the public in contemporary art and performance practices outside the familiar constraints of gallery or theatre spaces.


The free admission and waterfront location makes this miniature festival accessible to a broad community, developing empowered audiences and participants in the creative and cultural life of Wellington. Over two long weekends every summer, The Performance Arcade becomes a vibrant hub on the waterfront: activating the city, and exposing communities to new ideas and cultural perspectives.