This September marks the inaugural New Zealand Theatre Month, an entire month of our calendar year devoted to honouring, supporting, and highlighting national theatre, its performers, its writers, its community, and its viewers. We’re half-way through New Zealand Theatre Month and their website is abuzz with information, events, goals, and the results of their poster competition. I was invited along to the launch event at Parliament earlier this month and have been watching the publicity of this exciting venture closely. So, I’m here to spread the word -- what happened at the launch event and what are the plans and goals for New Zealand Theatre Month moving forward?
So, it's come around again; welcome to the start of the Wellington Fringe Festival for 2018. And with it again comes a plethora of shows that are seeking reviews. And we promise we're going to deliver, but to do so and keep our lovely contributors afloat, we're making a few changes to our approach over the Festival.
A group of 300-Level students from Victoria University of Wellington’s Theatre Programme are currently working with PhD candidate and lecturer Kerryn Palmer on two Theatre for Young Audiences productions, Moonlight and In the Attic, set to open to the public this coming week. As well as public performances targeted at younger audiences, these productions serve as research material for Palmer’s PhD research on the quality and culture surrounding Theatre for Young Audiences in New Zealand. Through these productions, the students strive to shatter the stereotypes surrounding Theatre for Young Audiences, and to create theatre for children that is enticing, entertaining, and exciting.
Recently, I caught up with several students from the course (Terri Cochrane, Dara Flaws, Georgia May, Gemma Revell, Saffron Troughton, and Nicole Top-Annan) as well as director and researcher Kerryn Palmer. I sought to unpack their intentions and processes further, looking at their aim to break past the form’s stereotypes, their process and the steps involved, and how important they believe theatre is to our young people.
BATS Theatre is, in many ways, the mother of the Wellington theatre community. It welcomes emerging artists with open arms and provides a place of nurture to help those artists grow and eventually fly from the nest. BATS Theatre is embedded in Wellington’s theatre community, and so many of us have ties to our winged friend, one way or another. Like all the wonderful and valiant mothers in our world, those they nurture always strive to return the favour, by giving back to the person (or people in this case) who helped them along their way.
The Billy T Award is possibly the most well-known award in New Zealand comedy. The winner receives the famous ‘yellow towel’, a small grant, and a lot of prestige. Every year, many up-and-coming comedians spend a significant amount of time and money preparing for this process.
On a typical wet and windy summer day in Wellington I headed out to meet with Hannah Clarke, the Director of the NZ Fringe Festival. I'm not going to lie, this was pretty daunting considering she has been heavily involved in the Wellington arts scene for some time.
George Fenn, age 23.
Hudson and Halls LIVE peaked my interest during its first season in Auckland. So when the big banner went up on the Hannah Playhouse I was delighted to get a chance to see what the fuss is about later this week. My taste in theatre is very broad. I would probably have been satisfied with the hook of “people cook a meal and it’s funny.” I hadn’t realised there was a real Hudson and Halls in the 70’s and 80’s. I had a chat with Anya Tate Manning, one of the performers about the context I was missing.
I do not think I need to explain the radical difference between Edinburgh and Wellington (NZ) Fringe in terms of size. It's obvious from any standing point that Edinburgh trumps in scale, popularity, and history. However, during my time working in both there are a couple of differences that I found surprising and interesting, which in turn was a surprise to me.
“Lungs is a love story,” say husband and wife production team Adrianne Roberts and Dean Hewison who are about to launch it's Wellington premiere. The play follows two people through the raw and intimate moments of their relationship. Written by British playwright Duncan Macmillan, Lungs has been performed to sold-out audiences internationally.
Courtney Rose Brown
Director James Cain is bringing Richard II to the stage at BATS Theatre this August. Although the Wellington theatre scene has overflowed with Shakespearean content this year, Cain says there’s promise in Richard II because it’s “a fantastic kind of story that no one really knows.”
I question how Cain will make Shakespeare interesting to a modern audience. Aware of potential downfalls with Shakespearean language, Cain is confident in his decision.
“It’s really important to highlight and find the beauty in the language and Richard II is all written in verse and there’s some fantastic passages and what he [Shakespeare] is able to explore and bring about through characters in this incredibly stylistic language is amazing.”
At Art Murmurs, we aim to provide a safe and open space to discuss the arts in the Wellington Community.