May 14, 2012

University and Theatre partnership provides distinct future for NZ arts  

Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) and AUT University are pleased to announce New Zealand’s first comprehensive theatre and university partnership. The partnership will be focussed on supporting the business of theatre through education. 

The three year partnership will connect ATC and AUT University both artistically and administratively at all levels throughout both organisations to develop sustainable business practices for the arts. 

“We aim to deliver a broad range of cultural and business benefits that build capability at ATC, and for the creative sector in New Zealand,” says Auckland Theatre Company General Manager, Lester McGrath. 

“This collaboration will provide our academics with a broad range of research opportunities and support multiple career pathways for our graduates,” says AUT University Vice-Chancellor, Derek McCormack.

“The production of theatre interfaces with a number of AUT disciplines; Arts Management, Business and Economics, Law, Education, Hospitality and Tourism, Languages and Cultures, Art and Design, Creative Technologies and Communication, Journalism and Media Studies.”

The performing arts contribute significantly to New Zealand’s cultural, economic and social wellbeing. Auckland is already New Zealand’s leading location for the creative industries, with over 55,000 people working in the sector. And Auckland theatre has the reputation for being the centre for performing arts excellence and innovation.

As Auckland’s diverse population grows creative industries will play an even more important role in the development of the region by contributing directly to businesses which specialise in innovation and IP, leading-edge technology, education, film and television, art and design.

In recognition of both organisations’ desire for the partnership to succeed and become an exemplar of industry-university collaboration, AUT University Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack has joined the board of Auckland Theatre Company.

The aim of the partnership is to recognise the opportunity to make a substantial contribution to the depth, talent and strength of the performing arts sector and creative economy in New Zealand.

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The partnership will facilitate and promote cooperation between ATC and AUT University in pursuing initiatives that will:

  • enhance brand Auckland and brand New Zealand by building Auckland’s reputation as a centre for performing arts excellence and innovation.
  • focusing on theatre, use connected and contemporary education pathways and experiences to develop the capability of the New Zealand performing arts sector
  • develop and extend the business capability (e.g. management, marketing etc.) of Auckland Theatre Company and the wider performing arts sector
  • foster an appreciation of performing arts and promote career pathways within the sector
  • support the career development of New Zealand’s elite performing artists both within and beyond the NZ performing arts sector
  • create valuable new knowledge for theatre and performing arts in New Zealand
  • provide research opportunities about New Zealand performing arts and theatre (e.g. history, business models, audience engagement approaches, social impact etc.)
  • support the generation of new, distinctly NZ-made performance works which attract international interest.
  • enrich NZ culture and sense of identity by contributing to the discussion about who we all are individually and collectively (as Aucklanders, Maori, Pakeha, Pasifika, Asian, New Zealanders).

Examples of outcomes and opportunities ATC and AUT University expect to foster include:

  • visits by students for the purposes of study, research and cooperative education (internships);
  • visits by and exchange of staff for the purposes of research, teaching and discussions;
  • co-development of new performing arts education pathways (e.g. Bachelors degree/majors);
  • derive value from existing creative disciplines at AUT (e.g. creative writing, design);
  • joint participation in course development and delivery;
  • co-operation in relation to school and community engagement programmes; and
  • research activities.
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