December 4, 2023

EMERGING REVIEWERS PROGRAMME – Theatreview  September 2023

Facilitators:   John Smythe, Lyne Pringle, Lynda Chanwai-Earle
+ Bette Cosgrove (admin)

2 September 2023 – Le Moana Arts office 113-115 Taranaki Street


A diverse group of participants gathered at the Le Moana space upstairs on Taranaki Street. This was an excellent light filled space , with kitchen facilities offered by the organisation for a koha of $100.

A search for participants and invitations was sent out through personal approaches of Bette, John and Lynne via contacts in industry, theatre study institutions – VUW, Toi Whakaari, Le Moana Arts, Rata Training etc.

Nine participants attended in person

Vaishalee Bhana DramaTeacher, Film Actor, Psych Masters
Shemaia Dixon  Theatre studies Chch Tongan, non binary, disabled
Isabella Jensen  Third year English Major and Theatre Minor
Carys Chapman-Vari   first year actor/ theatre major / dancer
Kasi Valu  Pasifika Le Moana Arts actor, poet, writer, producer for Le Moana
Nitika Erueti-Satish  Toi Whakaari Marketing, Min Cultural and Heritage
Margaret Austin – long term reviewer , screenwriter
Kepe Usoali-Jansen  Pasifika theatre practitioner, poet
Mitch Manuel Pasifika Actor and Writer

Reviewing Workshop Format

10 am – 10.15       Introductions and Karakia

Karakia Timatanga:

Kia tau ngā manaakitanga a te mea ngaro
ki runga ki tēnā, ki tēnā o tātou
Kia mahea te hua mākihikihi
kia toi te kupu, toi te mana, toi te aroha, toi te Reo Māori
kia tūturu, ka whakamaua kia tīna! Tīna!
Hui e, Tāiki e!
Let the strength and life force of our ancestors
Be with each and every one of us
Freeing our path from obstruction
So that our words, spiritual power, love, and language are upheld;
Permanently fixed, established and understood!
Forward together!

10.15 – 10.45        Introduce kaupapa of Theatreview

Discuss: the process of writing, how to view a performance, the ‘zone’ you need to inhabit to be fully present to the viewing experience All three mentors spoke about their perspectives on this mahi for both Dance and Theatre.

10.45 – 11.00          View a short clip: TOP STORY via video. Provocation to write a review based on responses talked about by Mentors and Theatreview guidelines.  Discuss your ideas with a partner.

11 am – 11. 30      Individually, wrote an offer as  a review of the opening scenes

11.30 – 11.50        Refreshment break and ZOOM chat with Angela Trolove (reviewer previous Emerging Reviewers programme) She offered a great perspective, and notes sent as a follow up.

11.50 – 12.40        Reconvene as a group, share work and discuss. Participants shared their offers of written review, and discussed. Wide variety of creative approaches were offered.  Excellent exercise well received

Dig into the nuts and bolts of writing, including
how to get going and structuring 

Offers and mentoring offered by three leaders. Questions asked and answered about responsibilities as reviewers, purpose of this work.

12.40 – 1.00          Questions from participants and setting forward direction. All given the opportunity to volunteer for reviewing of the Programme of shows in Tahi Festival. Karakia

Karakia Whakakapi:

E tü Hiwa-i-te-rangi
Ko ngã manako nui
Kia puta ai ko ngã wawata
Ki te whaiao, ki te ao marama
KNgā mihi ki a Nitika Erueti-Satish mō ngā kupu o ngā karakia e rua. oia!
Behold Hiwa-i-te-rangi
Of the many desires
Bring forth our wishes
And make them come true

New reviewers participating in our mentoring programme offered their time, and were given comp tickets by TAhi Festival Production team to create reviews, to be edited and  produced alongside our Managing Editor.

John managed the roster of reviewers during the Tahi Festival to spread them across many shows on offer. These reviews from some new and diverse voices were published on Theatreview Website.

Having the Festival straight after our writers workshop, then providing them with an immediate opportunity to practice reviewing, and meet a tight deadline  for online publication was a key to the success of our Emerging Reviewers Programme.

It was a very successful  collaboration.


This is such a great initiative and I am so pleased TAHI could be part of that. A few years ago, I did run a successful summer paper at Vic called Talking about Theatre. We saw shows and reviewed them.

Sally Richards  Tahi Festival

Participants feedback

Really appreciate you and your team putting this all together. I found it informative as I am new to the theatre space. Thanks to Le Moana for hosting us as well.

If there are any future workshops, I’d like to go over case studies.

Hearing Lynda’s review on other productions as well as the review of her own show of Ka-Shue was insightful.

I enjoyed the Top Story exercise and would love to hear everyone else’s review. Everyone’s perspective really enriched my own understanding of critique and how you can experience theatre. Kepe

(Provocation to other participants ) If I am lucky, please feel free to send your reviews of Top Story or anything you feel comfortable sharing.

Kind regards,


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