Wellington CBD, Wellington

21/02/2014 - 06/03/2014

New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2014

Production Details

Audience members become the players as subtlemobs take over capital  

“. . . a deliberate slap in the face to the flashmob phenomena . . . it reshapes the cultural landscape.” – The Londonist  

Flashmobs are a common modern phenomenon: a moment of disruption and fun, witnessed by unprepared passers-by and often shared far and wide on social media. 

British company Circumstance gives this a clever twist in their subtlemobs – participatory theatre experiences where the audience becomes the players and the city becomes the stage. But unlike flashmobs, you are never quite sure who else is playing…

For the 2014 New Zealand Festival, Circumstance presents two different subtlemob experiences in Wellington.

Our Broken Voice and As If It Were the Last Time are immersive theatre works that play out on the capital’s streets. Participating audience members will be captivated by an audio soundscape and respond to instructions delivered through their personal iPhone or MP3 player. All the while the actions of other participants unfold around them.

Our Broken Voice is a tense fiction about trust and suspicion that occurs in public spaces. As an audience member playing “yourself”, participants will become involved in the moments leading up to an imagined terrible event in the city’s centre.

In the poignant and joyful As If It Were The Last Time, participants take to the streets to contemplate celebrating the present – and take the rare chance in our busy lives to savour the moment. This work also creates opportunities to make new connections with the people and places surrounding you.  

Circumstance is famous for their “cinematic style of theatre using soaring soundtracks and beautifully presented framed scenes” (Artdaily). With an interest in pervasive theatre which uses digital media in real life situations, Duncan Speakman, one member of Circumstance says “we are trying to make cinema without cameras, so we are trying to make the experience of seeing a film, maybe of almost being in a film happening on the streets you are walking through.”

These two events are free – participants need to register on the event page As If It Were The Last Time / Our Broken Voice at www.festival.co.nz from 24 October 2013.  

As If It Were The Last Time
Sat 1 Mar, 8.30pm, Free
Wellington CBD – registrations open in 2014.
Location details provided 24 hours before the event.

Our Broken Voice
Fri 21, Tue 25, Thu 27 Feb, Tue 4, Thu 6 Mar, 6pm, Free
Wellington CBD – registrations open in 2014.
Location details provided 24 hours before the event.

To register to take part, visit the event page for As If It Were The Last Time/Our Broken Voice at www.festival.co.nz

Theatre , Site-specific/site-sympathetic , Outdoor ,

Festival town: at the NZ International Arts Festival opening weekend

Review by Simon Wilson 24th Feb 2014

Wellington sure knows how to put on an arts festival. Streets thronged with people, banners and posters, a bright, engaging eagerness everywhere you look, and yes, a wind so blustery it blows your face out of shape. 

The trick of a good opening weekend is to stage a big public event that attracts thousands and makes everyone in the city feel like it’s their festival – and at the same time, with the other shows, you have to showcase the range and standard of work to come. With this festival barely 24 hours old as I write, I’m happy to say that if you weren’t quite sure about it, be sure. Book those tickets. 

They got the mass event right, with hundreds of drummers and singers in the perfect amphitheatre of Civic Square. And they got the variety. I started with a “subtle mob”: I signed up to take part in an event called Our Broken Voice whose nature I knew nothing about, was sent an MP3 file to load onto my phone and told where to be at the appointed 6pm. At that time I had to hit play. I was also told to try to remain invisible. [More]


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