September 23, 2016

BATS Theatre is celebrating 21 years of STAB 

The BATS’ annual commission, STAB is turning 21 this year! STAB was created in 1995, with support from Creative New Zealand to provide a platform for artists to take their production to the next level. STAB has since grown to include STAB LAB, which was developed in 2013 to nurture new ideas by giving them space to be developed. 

STAB is an integral part of BATS’ annual programme. It gives us the opportunity to offer theatre practitioners a chance to take a stab at a new idea, allowing them the space to experiment in a supportive environment. STAB productions showcase theatrical innovation in all its forms. It’s a rare chance for artists to be given the financial resource required to realise something ambitious, experimental, or unusual. It is also an important event in the Wellington arts calendar, giving audiences the chance to see something they have never seen before. 

The focus of STAB was initially on the new ways in which technology could be incorporated into live performance. For many years, theatre practitioners seized the opportunity to deliver productions that experimented with different uses of technology to innovate their practice. As theatre has evolved over the past 20 years, STAB too has evolved to be less focussed on technology alone and more focussed on how a project will contribute to the evolution of theatre practice, process, performance and audience engagement. 

This year’s STAB production is The Rime of the Modern Mariner. Adapted by award winning theatre company, The PlayGround Collective from a beautiful graphic novel by British author/illustrator Nick Hayes. It will be a visual spectacle that thrusts Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner into the 21st century. 

We are excited to be working with the Playground Collective again this year. Robin Kerr, Director of The Rime of the Modern Mariner has this to say about STAB:

“It’s a pleasure to be participating in this year’s STAB at BATS. STAB has always been at the cutting edge of the performing arts, pushing the boundaries, setting precedents, and defining the conversation. More than just a place for theatre practitioners to grow and experiment, it’s driven the whole theatre community to aim for innovation.

“Some of my most thrilling theatrical experiences I have had have been in STAB’s past… Thanks to STAB we can safely say, in New Zealand we’re at the forefront of theatre, as much as anywhere else in the world.

“The PlayGround Collective are excited to be back at BATS for the 21st birthday. Last time we were here, we brought to life a magical re-imagining of Hans Christian Anderson’s Tinderbox in 2011 – this time we can’t wait to share what we’ve got in store.”

The STAB commissions are a great opportunity for our artists and community. It enables them to focus on developing new and innovative New Zealand theatre. We thank Creative New Zealand for their continued support, and cannot wait to see what another 21 years of STAB will bring us.

The Rime of the Modern Mariner

10 – 26 November, 8pm
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace
TICKETS: $20/25
BOOKINGS: or call 04 802 4175

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