Homeless Economics

Auckland City Mission, 140 Hobson Street, Auckland

02/03/2011 - 05/03/2011

Production Details

1. One large pinch of hard knocks
2. A dollop of humour
3. A cup full of inspiration
4. A sprinkling of humanity
5. Mix for one hour
6. Share with friends
7. Authentic stories from those in the know.

This is the second public performance of The Hobson Street Drama Club and it’s first as part of the Fringe Festival. It gives a unique glimpse of a day at the City Mission’s Drop-In – from both sides of the counter.

Formed in February 2010 with the support of The EDGE and three volunteer tutors, the Hobson Street Drama Club is part of the Mission’s activities programme and focuses on developing a range of theatrical skills.

‘Homeless people are often excluded from activities many of us take for granted,’ says City Missioner Diane Robertson. ‘Participation in activities provides clients with new skills, encourages socialisation and develops a sense of worth, helping homeless people reintegrate into community and experience a sense of value and belonging.’

Join The Hobson Street Drama Club and experience homelessness first hand.

VENUE: Auckland City Mission, 140 Hobson Street 
WHEN: 7.30, Wed 2 – Sat 5 March 2011
TICKETS: Adult $15, Conc/Groups $10 
BOOKING: www.eventfinder.co.nz 

Auckland City Mission works with the homeless of Auckland, assisting them to rebuild their lives and re-establish themselves in the wider community. We provide a range of integrated services including social work, housing support, medical services, drug and alcohol programmes and mental health services. 

Auckland City Mission works to address the causes of individual homelessness and advocates for societal and structural change to help prevent people from becoming homeless.  


Real, raw, honest, special

Review by Stephen Austin 04th Mar 2011

We’re seated in the foyer of the Auckland City Mission: harsh fluorescent lights, hard practical seats, the smells of the comings and goings at the food-bank permeating our nostrils. Many of the current occupants are busying themselves tidying up the kitchen, getting into black clothing, adjusting lights and tuning up guitars. It is explained to us that we are going to see the stories of these people. We are welcomed like we are homeless too.

The evening is broken into courses, like the much desired meals, exploring the hunger, red-tape, loneliness and, ultimately, freedom of being disenfranchised.

It is so easy for this sort of group-devised, community-based theatre to slip into being so political, but this show manages to entertain while it makes a statement. That really is what makes this muggy, drizzly night with these people so powerful. 

The half-dozen main performers range in abilities and ages. A couple have years of performing experience, others have had to work to gain trust to be a part of this team. All have fascinating tales to tell and many of them are linked by a love of music or simply being the centre of attention.

Shadow is forthright, frequently rude, almost mean-spirited, but as soon as he starts into his song, with a harmonica given to him by a visiting Asian busker, the emotion and remarkable talent take flight. He is fully able to give every emotion required its full meaning and with that incredible voice, surely has a career in the music industry if he wants it.

Brian is nervous to tell us that he loves to perform, admitting sheepishly that he won a Best Non-Drag Award at a local festival. Strangely, his singing seems somewhat subdued and nervous. The clarity he brings to his story underlines his desire to perform.

Huia’s bureaucratic impressions show us a performer of some years and plenty of skill. Clarity and diction are his strong suits.

Jem hints at violence born of alcohol, but a family unit that truly cared and supported all of his decisions. His own music is as strong as is his support of his fellow performers. 

Daniel relies on projections gathered from his memories of attaining a Duke of Edinburgh Award. His personality carries, but it is easy to see why he is described as “not the most reliable” in the programme. 

They are capably supported in the larger group sections by Alan, Maeve and City Mission Leaders/Support-Staff Bronwyn & Wilf. 

Much has been said by politicians recently about the choices made by beneficiaries in their lives and how it should be easy to get work, even in the current economic environment. I wish many of those in power could get to see this very real, raw, honest, special show and see how untrue that sentiment really is. 

This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust http://www.wallaceartstrust.org.nz/

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