Central Auckland starting location will be revealed via text message, Auckland

06/03/2013 - 24/03/2013

Auckland Arts Festival 2013

Production Details

After hugely successful seasons in Edinburgh, London, Chicago, Seoul, Brisbane, Darwin, Launceston, Melbourne and Adelaide, the pedestrian-based live art experience en route comes to Auckland Arts Festival 2013. From 6 to 24 March, audiences armed with MP3 players and mobile phones will be taken  on a unique and personal journey through the thoroughfares and back alleys of Auckland City.

en route is an expedition into the core of the city, tailor-made for Auckland. Played out to a poetic soundtrack from NZ musicians and bands, en route is more than a performance, audio tour or interactive perambulation, it’s a warm-hearted and hand-crafted way to engage with the city like never before.

Utilising mp3 players, mobile phones, urban streetscapes and cafés, en route invites participants on an inward and outward journey through the paths and alleyways of the city. Directions, instructions and music intertwine with the wanderings, observations and experiences of the participant. The spontaneous choreography of passers-by, streets, lanes, buildings and detritus, becomes the canvas onto which the participants can project their own reflections, narratives and meanings.

en route is an exciting opportunity to stop, think, take time out and see the city through new eyes. It promises to change the way audiences see Auckland, themselves and others.

en route comes to Auckland hot on the heels of en route – East London where it was part of the London Cultural Olympiad. Its many awards include Best Live Art at Melbourne Fringe 2009, Best Theatre Production at Adelaide Fringe 2010, and the 2009 Australian Green Room Awards for Production and Creative Collaboration (both in Theatre – Alternative & Hybrid Performance).

en route is created and produced by one step at a time like this and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd. one step at a time like this comprises four Melbourne-based artists, Suzanne Kersten, Clair Korobacz, Paul Moir and Julian Rickert, who have a history of creating site-responsive and conversation-based work including Southern Crossings, a multi platform audio journey at Melbourne’s Southern Cross train station which won the 2010 Green Room Award for a Site Specific Production, a Melbourne International Arts Festival Commission, Pop Up Project; Contemplating Gold, a walk-in outdoor cinema installation; and Pillow Talk, a bed for casual discourse. en route also engages a large team of local volunteers for the season, which runs every day of the Festival (see dates and times below).

… you feel like a spaced-out invader with a free pass to everywhere and X-ray powers of hearing that tune you in to the city’s stream of consciousness****. – Time Out London

… you’ll see [your] city in a way you have never seen it before. …the experience will be revelatory****. – The Chicago Tribune

en route
Central Auckland starting location will be revealed via text message approximately 24 hours before your en route session time.
en route does not end where it begins.
Each person must bring a mobile phone (fully charged) – it’s not possible to do the route without it.
Dress for the weather and walking.
Performances occur rain or shine, so be sure to dress for that day’s forecast.
Please note there is a limit of 8 people per session.
Wednesday 6 March – Sunday 24 March
Monday – Friday, 11.30am, 2.30pm, 5.30pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10.30am, 1.30pm, 4.30pm
Duration Allow approx 1hr 30mins – you set your own pace
Price GA $39 / Friend/Conc $34
Bookings Book at THE EDGE: www.buytickets.co.nz / 09 357 3355 / 0800 289 842
Group bookings: groups@the-edge.co.nz / 09 357 3354

Information www.aaf.co.nz

Allow 1hr 30mins (set your own pace)

All the world is indeed a stage

Review by Nik Smythe 07th Mar 2013

I’ve lived most of my life in Auckland, loving and hating it as anyone is wont to in his or her hometown.  Walking in any direction through the city, its streets and buildings and parks and alleyways are invariably loaded with any number of personal memories, of events and encounters that have taken place there years or decades before.

Now, via En Route, through the elaborate machinations of Richard Jordan Productions (UK) and their performance-collective associates one step at a time like this [sic], based in Melbourne, I’ve seen my own city through a new, unique lens, in a way that I would never have otherwise.

When pre-registering online, participants are advised they will texted the start point location 24 hours earlier.  There an official provides comprehensive instructions, exchanges phone numbers, kits you out with an mp3 player and sends you en route up the road to your immediate destiny…

What ensues is an originally constructed four-dimensional geographical collage.  It’s not about historic landmarks or geographic features as such; this isn’t that kind of sightseeing tourist attraction.  It’s an immersive artistic journey, involving an extensive credit-list of artists, musicians, poets and technical crew et al.

Paradoxically the adventure is experienced in a solitary paradigm, almost entirely alone or else just on a benign one-on-one basis.  There’s no live performance as such; any people encountered along the way, credited as ‘guardians’, operate wholly in a functional capacity to get you to the next phase of what one might consider to be a gigantic multi-level installation, in which all the world is indeed a stage.

Each track on the media player comprises original Auckland-based music, which is generally enjoyable and has a forward-driving energy in itself.  There are also local Auckland voices providing occasional directions, but mainly philosophical commentary and discussion on the existential nature of sight and place, intrinsically related to where you are and what you’re doing or observing at the time. 

A great deal of ingenuity and fun has gone into devising the means of propulsion from point to point along this literally captivating multi-media treasure hunt – furtive note-passing, phone messages, chalk arrows on the pavement and so on.  It feels at times like a covert spy-trail, or one of those action thrillers like Die Hard 3 where the hero is dragooned by the villain on the phone into careening all over the city to exact his dastardly bidding, only without the animosity or explosions. 

We are to a large degree at the mercy of technology – my mobile chose to turn itself off at one point causing me to be momentarily lost.  We’re obviously being tracked on GPS too because on reactivating my phone I was promptly rung with simple directions to get me back on track.  The importance of a well-charged phone battery cannot be stressed enough! 

As well as work from local artists positioned purposefully along the track – notably the seven deadly sins exhibit in the carpark stairwell – there are a number of serendipitous moments on my personal journey that I am sure were not contrived by En Route’s personnel but feed in well to the all-encompassing experience, such as the collection of fossil-fuel protesters spontaneously freezing in tableau while crossing at the Victoria/Queen St intersection. 

There are so many phases and facets to En Route that are best beheld in the context of one taking the walk for themselves.  There’s no set timetable, you can take it as quick or slow as you like – mine was about 90 minutes – and at the end you give back all your accumulated equipment and receive a programme of information about what you’ve just been through, including their website where you’re encouraged to share any impressions and/or photos you took along the way.

Auckland is the tenth city that Richard Jordan Productions and company have infiltrated with their uniquely immersive urban art-trail.  Having now been En Route in my own, I’d be very keen to travel to one where I’m a stranger to see how a less familiar environment will unfold and envelop me.  


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Going with the flow reveals city's treats

Review by Janet McAllister 07th Mar 2013

Walking tours – especially those guided by a remote, apparently all-seeing, all-knowing central HQ – are full of tantalising possibilities: where will I be going? How will I know how to get there?

Taking advantage of the format, many of en route‘s contact methods are whimsical, delightful, treasure-hunt surprises. And their behind-the-scenes organisation is remarkable – location permissions alone would be a migraine. [More


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