September 17, 2010
The theatre column is entitled:
Developments in the theatre game
Certainly when the celebrated English production featuring Sir Ian (Gandalf) McKellan played the St James, back in July, thousands flocked to see it. Doubtless many did so because their favourite Tolkienian wizard was in it but, once there, I suspect most will have found it engaging because ….
So you’ve written a play – who wants to know? | By John Smythe
To be a playwright in New Zealand – in Wellington especially – is to be a masochist who gets off not so much on rejection, but on having your plays completely ignored.
It’s not that there’s a lack of talent around. Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters draws ten post-graduates a year into its MA in Scriptwriting stream, and you don’t get a seat in that waka without proving you’re already adept as a dramatist. Many start early in life and grow to see it as their vocation.
Theabundance of homegrown plays and playwrights is illustrated by this year’s tourby Wellington-based EnsembleImpact.It’s touring A Baker’s Dozen – a55-minute compilation of 13 New Zealand play extracts – in high schools countrywide. [More]
Creative excellence and strong production values made the homegrown theatre productions a high point of the recent New Zealand International Arts Festival. In retrospect, however, I am intrigued by the ‘cultural identities’ of the productions.
Of the 14 festival shows I saw, seven were original New Zealand works. Five had premiered and toured elsewhere, and were included under the ‘Restage’ initiative. Given that all the international shows had also ‘been around’, this new policy levels the playing field for local productions. Two were world premieres. Every festival has a key role to play as ‘midwife’/co-producer, and being present at the birth of a brand new show is a special privilege. [More]
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
FISHHEAD #1, APRIL/MAY 2010
Wellington kicked off its theatre seasons way ahead of other cities this year. Bats opened five shows in January and Circa three (a continuing season, then a revival in Circa One and a new production in Circa two). Downstage got cracking on 4 February with a Long Cloud Youth Theatre show, and Bats slipped in a couple more before the official 12 February start of the Fringe.
While the annual Fringe Festival is over, the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival is drawing to a close and generating reviews – on theatreview.org.nz – of some 82 performing arts productions staged in Wellington. We’re not called ‘the Creative Capital’ for nothing. [More]