Rangikura School, Porirua

24/09/2019 - 24/09/2019

Production Details

Story Studio LIVE is an innovative, multi-disciplinary work showcasing diverse stories workshopped with young people alongside industry mentors, narrating them into a highly engaging live action, stylised radio play – complete with Foley sound effects and adverts unique to the broadcasting tradition!

Our performance explores and celebrates our cultural differences through the voices of our tamariki from around the Wellington region.

Story Studio LIVE has toured in schools across Aotearoa. This work has reached more than 15,000 young people so far!

More on the workshopping process:

We conducted several storytelling workshops in schools with children aged 11, 12 and 13 years exploring themes of cultural identity – what brings us together and what differences set us apart.

We heard about their family traditions, who their heroes are; what myths they know; what friendships of different cultural backgrounds they have; what place they call ‘home’ and why; what things they wish for; and what things about living in New Zealand are good and what things they would change. In exploring these themes we worked with the children to express them in a variety of styles: mystery stories; karakia; haka; rap; weather reports; prayer; poems; drawings; and news bulletins.

Four intermediate and primary schools were visited in the Wellington region: Corrina School, Evans Bay Intermediate School, Hutt Intermediate School and Boulcott School – a total of 80 children participated in these workshops.

These ideas were then devised into a stylised radio play. During the performance audiences are also asked to contribute to this discussion and actively participate in creating the stories in a fun and accessible way. What we love about this project is that each presentation will differ, for the audience actively participate in making sound effects and offer story content to help create the ambience and stories told in the radio play. The personal exchange between the performers and the audience in that moment is immediate, magical, spontaneous and likely remembered for years to come for both audience member and performer.

Artistically the creatives in this production have explored the aural art-form so that the work is more a radio play performed live, where audiences experience the work aurally, rather than rely too heavily on visual stimulation.

Sepe Mua'au
Neenah Dekkers-Reihana
Hannah Kelly

Creative Producer – Live:  Marianne Taylor
Head of Programming & Partnerships:  Melissa Conway
Associate Producer – Live:  Sonia Hardie
Director:  Barney Olson
Directing Mentor/Dramaturge:  Leo Gene Peters
Original Designer:  Tony de Goldi
Production Technician:  Joe Newman
Stage/Tour Manager:  Phil Loizou
Sound Technician:  Thomas Lambert 

Theatre , Children’s ,

50 mins

Fantastic collaboration blends fun with deep, important and heartfelt messages

Review by Jo Hodgson 25th Sep 2019

At a time when the youth voice is becoming ever more present in our media and influencing the political system, Story Studio Live 2019 is an important piece of theatre.

Creative Producer Marianne Taylor with Director Barney Olson and the Capital E team have devised this show from storytelling workshops with pupils aged 11 – 13 at several Wellington schools. These workshops help to open up a communication pathway through play to allow children to express the topics that affect them or they wish to comment on through a range of creative mediums.

Actors Sepe Mua’au, Neenah Dekkers-Reihana and Hannah Kelly engage immediately with the group of school students at Rangikura school, Ascot Park, chatting casually to them and engaging them in questions about their likes and hobbies they might partake in. Getting their buy in straight away is essential to the flow of this piece. They are au fait with current crazes from dance styles, popular culture, gaming lingo, and what topics affect our youth – and also have an understanding of their own and each other’s cultural identity which they bring to their individual and collective performances. They easily invite active participation from the students.

Using a simple traverse stage and basic boxes for staging (original design by Tony Di Goldi), sound technician Thomas Lambert layers a sound scape of eclectic music styles, while mixing in live old time radio Foley style effects (played by students or the actors) with impeccable timing, thus creating an energetic live action radio play complete with adverts, voice overs, and music. 

The amount of Te Reo Māori spoken throughout this performance is a testament to just how far we have come as a country, often with the creative world leading this change, but also for me personally, an indication of how far I wish I had travelled in this area. It is fortunate that we can watch the Creation story beautifully narrated by Neenah Dekkers-Reihana as, while I understand many kupu, I needed the action to help me understand the story fully. Had it only been on radio, I wouldn’t have managed so successfully. This is another reason these dramatic and interactive shows are essential, as they break down barriers and allow for inclusion from whatever one’s vantage point or prior experience may be.

While the medium of the transfer of information is fun – at times humorously chaotic and comical – the messages within are deep, important and heartfelt.

Everything from bullying, cultural identity, embracing our national languages, knowing your neighbour, inclusion, climate crisis, historic truth, not accepting the status quo or how others tell you you must be, building the self-confidence to participate and speak up … But towards the end of the performance, the mashup of the young voices from our local schools speaking their truth, mixed with voices like Greta Thunberg, Jacinda Ardern and Richard Attenborough add to the crescendo of outpouring that has been evident in our world, particularly in recent weeks.

This production has been seen by over 15000 students around the country and I’m sure that many of the subjects touched upon will resonate within these kids for a long time to come.

Believing that our own voice CAN make a difference, that adding it to another can double the effect, that the process can be continued until the voices are heard …

A poignant quote to take away from this fantastic collaboration is, “Don’t rely on others to be decent human beings.” 


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