June 17, 2020


Posted by John Smythe | 16th Jun 2020 | Covid-19, New Zealand, News

[Written for The Theatre Times] 

As I write this, New Zealand has moved to Covid-19 Alert Level One, limited only by quarantine rules for international arrivals and a request for us all to support contact tracing. In late March, “Go early, go hard” was the government’s mantra. Performing arts rehearsals and live performances in public venues were cancelled as we moved into our Lockdown (Alert Level 4) ‘bubbles’, confined to home except for socially distanced food shopping and local exercise. Zoom became the tool-de-jour for work meetings and social interaction with family and friends – and its potential for creating Lockdown Theatre was immediately explored, using either Facebook Live or YouTube as platforms for the recorded shows.

Amateur theatres organised online play readings to keep their members active. Professional theatres worked with swiftly responding funding bodies to secure continuity or emergency relief grants and some proceeded to invent new ways to deliver shows to their audiences. And ever-creative independent co-ops variously rose to the challenge. Most notable were Centrepoint Theatre’s 24-Hour Challenge, the Auckland Theatre Company’s online adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull and Circa Theatre’s It’s Behind You! (see below). But first, here’s an overview of what else happened over the 10 weeks of Lockdown Levels 4, 3 and 2. [More]


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