24 Feb 2012

NZ International Arts Festival begins in capital

9:16 pm on 24 February 2012

New Zealand's largest arts festival begins in Wellington on Friday.

The New Zealand International Arts Festival, featuring about 900 acts from around the world, runs until 18 March.

Organisers estimate the festival will attract about 300,000 people to more than 300 events in the capital.

They say there will be a variety of theatre from circus acts to Shakespeare, and music from salsa to Stravinsky.

A free opening night party is being held place on the waterfront near the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa.

It is the third and last programme selected by artistic director Lissa Twomey, who returns to Australia once the festival is over.