Pacific Crystal Palace, Hamilton

02/03/2019 - 03/03/2019

Nelson Musical Theatre, 95 Atawhai Dr, The Wood, Nelson

17/10/2017 - 18/10/2017

Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, Havelock North Village Green, Havelock North

29/09/2017 - 29/09/2017

Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

05/07/2017 - 07/07/2017

Baycourt X-Space, Tauranga

25/10/2017 - 25/10/2017


Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2019


Tauranga Arts Festival 2017

Production Details

Enter a sumptuous world of cheese-making with Java’s immersive style of dance  

Java brings you their unique immersive style of dance, live music and theatre. Baths of milk, dripping wax, the smell of fresh cut grass and the call of the cows will transport you to The Creamery.

Enter the sumptuous world of cheese-making where artisans compete to win your favour and create the finest slice of cheese. We embark on a cream-filled journey from the mountains to the market where fortunes are made and the curds are separated from the whey.

From the makers of The Wine Project, The Creamery is the third part in Java’s Artisan Series. This culinary investigation into culture delights the senses and feeds the soul.

“Layers of history and old cultures are abundant” Theatreview

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 6.30pm
Thursday 6 & Friday 7 July 2017, 6.30pm and 8.30pm
Adult $35.00; Senior Citizen $30.00;
Student $30.00, Group of 6+ $25.00.
VIP tickets are Friday only, $50.00 and includes tasting cheeses with a glass of wine.
*Service fees may apply.

Or for phone bookings call the Box Office on 04 894-7419, note the Box office is open Monday-Friday, noon-2.00pm and 90 minute prior to each show. Messages left are returned daily Mon-Fri.

Performance duration: Approximately 1 hour. Seating is general admission.

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2019 at 6pm 2 & 3 March 2019

$38 General Admission
$35 Concession

*Booking fees apply


Choreographer:  Sacha Copland
Composers:  Trian Carter and Charley Davenport

Cast and Creators
Emma Coppersmith
Lauren Carr
Natalie Hona
Charley Davenport
Tristan Carter

Costume Design: Meggan Rollandi
Design Aesthetic: Helena Steinmann 
Lighting Design:  Brynne Tasker-Poland
Stage Management & Construction: Colin Edson
Costume Construction: Anne De Geus
Photography: Tom Hoyle  

Dance-theatre , Dance ,

1 hr

A Romeo and Juliet of Cheesemakers

Review by Dr Debbie Bright 03rd Mar 2019

The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival programme booklet states:

Enter the sumptuous world of cheese making where rivalry and passion boil over as the curds are separated for the whey.

Artisans compete to win your favour with freshly made lemon ricotta, sweet herbs and steamy stirring. Live music, theatre, divine physicality and filthy tactics combine to make delicious cheese coated in red wax as the story unfolds.

The Creamery is an ageless tale of neighbours at war, forbidden love and broken taboos. 

The above describes well what the audience is going to encounter in this performance. However, what the programme outline does not say is that audience members will be drawn in to participate in the action, take sides in a light-hearted conflict and join in the final dancing and partying, while eating bread and cheese, amidst the aroma of sweet-smelling herbs trodden underfoot.

Once again, Java breaks through the traditional separation between performers and audience, as, immediately upon entry, audience members are directed to fill the front row of chairs first, and one dancer respectfully places cheese-making/food preparation hats on each audience member’s head as he or she sits down. A double row of seating surrounds a circular performance area, where we, the audience, see tall rectangular wooden and pipe frames, wooden stools, and various wooden and china bowls placed on a firmly fastened circular black polythene sheet – the latter a sign of possible spillages? I assume that the ‘props’ are part of the cheese-making equipment. Audience members on either side of me tell me they have already seen Back to the Bus and, as a result, they are looking forward to this show. I sense slightly nervous trepidation along with their excitement. They tell me they are wondering what they might be asked to do or what they might have poured or splashed on them. We discuss what the props might be for and what might take place during the coming performance. I can sense, generally, a measure of nervous frisson combined with good humoured anticipation among the audience members.

One female dancer dressed in white begins the cheese-making process, from symbolic cow-milking, through stirring of a gently simmering pot, to separation of curds and whey and the final productions of lemon ricotta and wax-filled cheese blocks. Early in this sequence, it becomes clear that a second group, on the other side of the stage area, is also making cheese. This is a group of four: 2 female dancers and 2 male musicians. They are identified by a darker overlay on their white clothing.

It also becomes clear that the people in this second group are the rival cheese-makers. The rivalry escalates from glowering looks to forceful physical encounters, to liquid and sticky products being thrown or poured on opponents, to general mayhem, across and over a central cheesecloth divide.  

Meanwhile, a courtship begins to develop between the woman in white and one of the musicians (on the ‘other side’), much to the chagrin of the other members of his tribe.  Despite his friends’ best efforts, love (or the taste of fresh cheese!) wins. In the midst of this, audience members are invited to taste, handle, have hats removed and replaced, interact, and, ultimately, to take sides (dictated by where one is sitting). A battle between the two sides ensues: the audience members on their feet participating in competing rhythmic body percussion and herb throwing. Finally, the cheesecloth barrier is removed, and general partying and laughter end the show. All good natured fun really.

Woven throughout this narrative are sequences of very strong competent contemporary dance, virtuosity displayed in moments of strength, speed and interactions with the equipment/props and other dancers. There is a constant shifting and moving of performers, sitting (including on an ‘audience’ chair), standing, dancing, changing places and roles, including the roles of musicians and dancers. Duets requiring strength and balance are done with an added ‘purpose’, since the one being supported is focused on achieving a task such as cleaning the spilt cheese on her supporting partner, or feeding spoons full of fresh cheese to the man she is seeking to win – I find particularly satisfying and intriguing this ‘contact dance work with a purpose’.

The musical accompaniment includes live singing and instrumental music. The main instruments are violin and cello, with later additions of percussive items, notably a pottery jar that produces a wonderful range of tones and rhythms, in the hands of a musician. Early in the work, the music and movement remind me of Western European Middle Ages music, dance and ritual – a slower, quieter, ordered way of being. The rhythms and tones then evolve into the catchy clapping and foot-stamping rhythms more associated with Spain and Eastern Europe. The musicians become dancers and the dancers become musicians, yet without interruption of rhythms and tones. After the show I am told that the music and dance are developed together in the studio, an exciting and rewarding way to create.

Afterwards, one of my audience ‘neighbours’ mirrors my own thoughts: “This is like a Romeo and Juliet of Cheesemakers”. We discuss which side we had been cast on, in terms of the Shakespearian play.

An enjoyable, interesting and enlightening, if somewhat risky, evening’s entertainment. We didn’t get wet or dirty! And besides, the cheese and fresh French bread, handed out at the end, are delicious!  


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Rich with conflict and all things messy

Review by Emily Mowbray-Marks 26th Oct 2017

Evidently it’s Sacha Copland’s mission to make contemporary dance a household name throughout Aotearoa – so mainstream that everyone’s watching it.

Tonight Clara and I go to The Creamery from Java Dance Theatre. We experience (cos it’s more than merely watching) Sacha Copland’s “dance with playful physicality, live music and full audience immersion.”

The most striking elements are the fennel food fight to end, the live cello and violin fiddling a Celtic tune to open, some of the audience being spoon-fed what I fantasise to be panna cotta because their eyebrows ‘light up’ when it hits their tongues, and the dance of attraction between the fiddler man and the flame headed woman.

It’s all drama here folks. This is dance with story. As advertised, “Java Dance Theatre captures audiences all over the world with visceral dance theatre that delights the senses and speaks to the soul.” I start to wonder where physical theatre ends and dance theatre begins.

Tonight we hear no spoken word yet there are sounds: mythical or archetypal sounds, let it be known; engaging live and inventive song, instruments both traditional and ‘found’, such as a terracotta giant milk jug dipped in white and hit like a djembe to make the most delicious of percussive tones and rhythms. Perhaps this is where the line is drawn: physical theatre has text, dance theatre has not?

I think the most stand out performer tonight is Tristan Carter. He sings a tender Hungarian-inspired shepherd song. I love how he bravely risks the sound and tips his voice over into the vocal ‘breaks’ to share utmost vulnerability. I can’t get over this violinist turned dancer – it seems as satisfying as a circus trick. And he has delightfully articulate eyebrows and facial expression which says so much in this silent conversation with us his audience. To be fair all the actors/ dancers/ sometimes-musicians do. 

And that love dance, that dance of forbidden lust, is almost too much for a Wednesday night in the suburbs of (once a town, getting bigger now a city) Tauranga, New Zealand.

There is an infectious buoyancy throughout this show. A flirtatiousness which is uplifting. The themes are somewhat disturbing though. How easy is it to polarise and mobilise ‘a people’! The Creamery explores the group against the individual. It explores who belongs to who. It explores rivalry, resources and possession.

I watched another Java Dance Theatre show, Cheese, earlier today and wonder whether both works could use more audible breath … I decide tonight perhaps the performers intentionally don’t, to help retain a sense of the forbidden, a sense of anxiety, a sense of danger.

Instead this good-looking cast smile with pretence, and keep up appearances: all is under control. There’s a filthiness about this show and a daring in the child-like acts of revenge and power.

As you may have sensed, this is the full shebang. The Creamery is dance theatre, rich with conflict and all things messy.

Clever direction or choreography pitches us (the audience) against each other. The staging is somewhere between theatre in the round and traverse. Audience opposing each other. None of us sit in the dark. There is no third or fourth wall. We are brought into the drama. We play our part. We are cleaned, war-painted, taught protest stomps, sat on and invited to stir.

Tonight is the final night of a 5 week tour for the performers – Emma Coppersmith, Lauren Carr, Natalie Hona, Tristan Carter and Charley Davenport – and Copland. They have performed 35 shows from a repertoire of 5, some designed for families others for adults, in a multitude of locations through Aotearoa.

Java Dance Theatre is in demand – it’s quite possibly the hottest thing to hit New Zealand audiences. I can’t wait for Java Dance Theatre’s next instalment.


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A playful, imaginative work

Review by Melanie Stewart 18th Oct 2017

Java Dance Theatre has created a work of outstanding artistry. It is a combination of live music, theatre and dance which satisfies all the senses. I taste different cheeses, I smell the divine scent of rosemary and dill, I hear the beautiful sound of cello and violin music and singing, I watch a story unfold through dance and movement and I am hugged by strangers.

As you enter the theatre the very large tarpaulin taped to the floor to act as a stage gives you the beginnings of a clue as to what may be coming. The audience surrounds the stage and have been presented with one of those lovely white hats designed for people working in food preparation. This pretty much puts us all on a level playing field and is a real icebreaker.

The Creamery tells us a story about relationships, rivalry, love and ultimately the making of cheese. It’s told through a combination of well thought out music, mime and movement interspersed with some beautifully executed choreographed dance pieces.

The company are all multi-talented. Charley Davenport and Tristan Carter are both masters of their instruments, and are the composers of the music and soundscape that are integral to the performance. Their skills do not stop there however, as they are very much a part of the story as well, and their acting, singing and dancing skills are often called upon.

Emma Coppersmith, Lauren Carr and Natalie Hona, the other the members of the company, also need to draw on their singing and acting talents as well as their dance skills. They even have their own moments playing the instruments. These three are the creators of one of my favourite moments: a trio involving the manipulation of three bowls.

The skills and talents of the audience are also called upon on several occasions. It is to the cast’s absolute credit that the audience are so comfortable with taking part in the performance. Various audience members create drumbeats, help with the cheese making and taste the cheese amongst other things. I don’t think there is one audience member who doesn’t have a role to play.

Copland has created a playful, imaginative work. This is the third in the Artisans series but the first I have seen. I am so glad I didn’t miss this one. If you get the opportunity, go and see it. 


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Invoking sensation and memory, celebration

Review by Kim Buckley 30th Sep 2017

Whitewashed. And giving the impression of sterile. This is the environment I walk into at The Spiegeltent at 9.30pm Friday night. My previous experience of Java Dance Company has me excited with some expectation. A variety of set and props in strong white light on the centre stage surrounded by seating, are reminiscent of a milking shed/cooking environment. The company, Lauren Carr, Natalie Hona, Tristan Carter and Charley Davenport, are seated and standing bathed in warm light, around a bench filled with bread, cheese, wool, and other interesting looking objects. They speak among themselves, oblivious to their verbally-intrigued audience filling the space.

Emma Coppersmith unlooses a rope and a cowbell begins to beautifully jangle. In my mind, I see lush green grassy hills with big gentle beasties making their way to milking in a soft warm breeze under a blue sunlit sky. It is a delicious image her movements have invoked. So when she starts milking, I am ready. Fully engaged and interested for what comes next.

Sacha Copland has a talent with the use of metaphor to invoke sensation and memory. Her choreography is lighthearted with depth. Simplicity layered with meaning. Her ability to engage the audience, to create an umbilical cord so we are attached to the inside of the work, is remarkable. This time it was gauze food-hygienic bonnets, and salt, and cheese. War paint and competitive rhythm. And dancing in celebration. And a delicious green food fight filling the senses with aniseed, parsley, bay and rosemary.

Charley’s cello and Tristan’s violin create the live music while the entire five members create a soundscape with their voices through headmics. This helps to bind and expand on the relationships created in the storyline. The work is sumptuous and colorful, intriguing and thought provoking.


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An immersive theatrical experience

Review by Ann Hunt 09th Jul 2017

Whey hey! If you weren’t here on opening night, you missed a treat.

The full-house rocked!

This work is the third in Java’s artisan series, all of which deal with cultures of one kind or another. The first two being Rise (about bread) and The Wine Project (wine-making). The Creamery deals with cheese production.

Previously a highly successful children’s show called Cheese, that was hugely imaginative and extremely silly (in the best possible way), this is a new adult version, although older children will enjoy it too.

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An immersive theatrical experience

Review by Ann Hunt 07th Jul 2017

Whey hey! If you weren’t here on opening night, you missed a treat.  

The full-house rocked!  

This work is the third in Java’s artisan series, all of which deal with cultures of one kind or another. The first two being Rise (about bread) and The Wine Project (wine-making). The Creamery deals with cheese production.

Previously a highly successful children’s show called Cheese, that was hugely imaginative and extremely silly (in the best possible way), this is a new adult version, although older children will enjoy it too. [More


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The proverbial crème de la crème

Review by John Smythe 07th Jul 2017

A Creamery, it seems, is where cheese gets made – and why not, in a country that calls a suburban grocery store a Dairy. Java Dance Theatre’s The Creamery arises from the same research – undertaken in France and NZ by choreographer Sacha Copland – that produced the playfully wacky Cheese, created for younger audiences and presented at this year’s Capital E National Arts Festival.

It was Java’s 2011 BATS/STAB production, Rise, which gave rise to Java Dance Theatre’s Artisan Series. The second was The Wine Project (preceded by the more child-friendly Dirt and Other Delicious Ingredients) and The Creamery is the third in the series that aims to be five-strong.

By way of becoming ‘immersed’ in the experience we don flimsy ‘factory hair covers’, and some sit at the back and sides of the usual stage area in the Hannah Playhouse while others sit in the auditorium. It is effectively presented in-the-round, then, although the entire space turns out to be the performance area. The frame structures from which paraphernalia hangs and a stretch of butter muslin (Design Aesthetic: Helena Steinmann) means vision is disrupted for everyone at certain points, which only makes us more interested in what we may be missing momentarily.

Initially it is Emma Coppersmith, sensually imbued with seductive delight in her artistry, who works in the artisan space, milking a prosthetic udder, offering a taste of milk, cleaning, wiping, leaping … as the musicians – Tristan Carter and Charley Davenport – ply their stringed implements aloft and intone what I take to be ancient Gallic sounds accompanied by Lauren Carr and Natalie Hona. Thus we are transported to a mystical realm.

As with the processing of dairy products, separation becomes a physicalised theme. When the ‘hicks from the hills’ (that’s how I see it anyway; others may interpret it differently) invade Emma’s territory she puts up the butter muslin barricade and works her patch while the others continue to indulge in musical revelry. Something is steaming on her boxed-in stove …  

For every action there is a reaction, so the separation foments an attraction between Tristan Carter’s vibrant violinist and, despite herself, Emma is drawn to him (excuse my using the performer’s names but they are given no character names, so first names means they are in role). Lauren is especially displeased at this turn of events …

As the business of making cheeses proceeds, the violin changes hands, there is a battle of the bowls … Does Emma cross the line in pursuit of Tristan or cream? There is a heart-stopping moment with a big tub … Emotions run high as lemons are squeezed … There is gasp-inducing sabotage.

We are asked to take sides, signified by whether or not we wear the hair-covers. Emma and Tristan engage in a mutual slapping routine that could end in tears, or not. There is a chase between Emma and Lauren and the one who ‘gets the cream’ is not necessarily the victor.

The means by which Natalie attends to Lauren is, objectively, a splendid example of physical dexterity, enacted with a sense of detachment that belies the precision and trust that must be required.

Despite the ebb, flow and swirls of the tribal interactions, cheese does get made. One of my companions is treated to a taste of lemon Ricotta and declares it delicious.

The emotionally-charged turmoil builds to a climax – then a shocked silence. But can order be restored when someone is wielding a large pair of scissors? I’m not sure how to interpret what ensues but it is visually dramatic. A metaphorical skimming off of a top layer perhaps?

Even more dynamic is the sudden appearance of dripping redness amid the whites, creams and greys of the props and costumes (astutely designed for physical freedom by Meggan Rollandi). Blood? No. Suffice to say the final moments wax lyrical as we join in a slap and clap routine with revolutionary overtones, in competition at first and then achieving unison, which resolves in everyone dancing.

Hard cheese becomes a peace offering and we are all offered a piece or three. It has been a highly experiential hour of varying textures and tastes, much like a cheese board. And – dare I say it? – this Java Dance Theatre ensemble is the proverbial crème de la crème.


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