Wellington Cable Car, Wellington

10/02/2021 - 14/02/2021

The Performance Arcade 2021: What if the City was a Theatre

Production Details

The Sensonauts take over the Cable Car to create the most pleasurable ride you’ve ever had. Experiences ranging from lush tunes to delicious morsels, with perhaps an occasional dance party…You probably won’t want to get off! 

How much pleasure can we allow ourselves to experience in life? The Sensonauts love to help people to explore their senses, be present in their body and feel joy. Let’s turn the cable car from what is a more functional journey for some, into an unexpected pleasure dip. Let yourself sink into the adventure. Notice what you hear and see, how you feel, and where you experience it in your body.

Original Sensonaut Katie Martin founded The Sensonauts in May 2019. She weaves together music, sensory experiences and connection. She is inspired by sensual, physical explorations,, the incredible energy of music, and the need to go deeper in life.

She draws on her experience of sensonauting, dance, yoga, meditation, DJing and more. She has a background in the not for profit sector (including the arts), managing projects, events, teams and budgets, and a Masters in Culture, Policy and Management.

She collaborates with all kinds of amazing creatives to develop unusual ideas and turn them into reality: from musicians and theatremakers, to circus performers, chefs, perfumiers and more.

Katie is also a DJ, typically channelling hefty basslines, transcendent melodies and irresistibly dancey beats.

Cable Car, 280 Lambton Quay, Wellington Central, Wellington
Wed 10 Feb, Thu 11 Feb, Fri 12 Feb, Sun 14 Feb 2021
10 Feb, 5:30pm-7:30pm
11 Feb, 5:30pm-7:30pm
12 Feb, 6pm-8pm
14 Feb, 5pm-7pm

WITCWAT performance visitors will receive 20% off on Cable Car Adult ($7.20) and Child ($3.60) Return tickets. A unique promo code has been set up, valid from 5 Feb – 27 Feb 2021. The promo code is: CityTheatreNZ

To redeem, visit the Wellington Cable Car website, Tickets page at
– Choose Adult return or Child return,
– add to cart,
– enter the PROMOTION CODE ‘CityTheatreNZ’ and
– proceed to checkout.

The Cable Car e-tickets will be sent through via email. Customers can scan through the gates. 

wheelchair accessible, sensory, non-verbal, casual

Theatre , Physical , Music , Dance-theatre , Circus ,

About 10 mins per ride

What do we expect?

Review by John Smythe 11th Feb 2021

A couple of decades and more ago, the Cable Car was my commute from Kelburn to the city and back. I became bemused that people would flock from cruise ships and even other parts of NZ to take the 5-minute ride. Of course the view from the top, the Cable Car Museum and the nearby Carter Observatory and upper reaches of the Botanical Gardens add to the attraction. Upgrades this century have seen a tunnel ribbed with fairy lights and a mural painted at the Lambton Quay terminal to improve the tourist experience.

This month, whether you are a regular commuter or a wide-eyed visitor, it certainly sounds intriguing to be promised The Most Pleasurable Cable Car Ride You’ve Ever Had – as one of the ‘What if the City was a Theatre?’ events. The publicity promises “music, sensory experiences and connection” facilitated by Sensonauts founder Katie Martin, with musician Rosie Langaber.  

When I take the first trip up, just before 5.30pm, they are setting up their sound gear. The post-workday commuters are oblivious, variously wearing small earbuds or large headphones and/or scrolling on their smart phones. So far so every-day.  

As a privileged comp-ticketed reviewer, I take three more rides to get the experiences and return to base. (See here for how to get 20% off tickets if you are going specifically to have this ‘most pleasurable ride’.)

The down trip normally has fewer passengers, probably heading into the city for evening work or to meet up for drinks, a meal and/or entertainment. I’d suggest the soothing voice asking us to let go tensions and relax, etc (as if this was the start of a yoga class) and the reverberant spacey music may be more appropriate for the ride away from the city if the target market is office workers.  

On the other hand, the jaunty piano accordion music and tasty treats offered on the ascending journey may be just the ticket for weary nine-to-fivers. Either way, I see no sign of headphones or smart phones. And even the most regular commuter may find themselves more aware of the fairy-lit tunnel or the large wall mural on this trip – not that the performers incorporate them in their activities.

Obviously promising The Most Pleasurable Cable Car Ride You’ve Ever Had is a huge claim to live up to and we would have to be naïve to take it literally. So what do we expect – and will our expectations be entertainingly subverted? What does the word ‘pleasure’ denote anyway?

I guess there are all sorts of things to consider about invading people’s personal spaces – especially when many on board will not be there for the ‘show’ per se. But for those who are there specifically for it, it may feel underwhelming. Yet, on alighting, punters seem happy enough to have had the experience – who knows how to interpret those slightly bewildered smiles …  

By comparison, Java Dance’s Back of the Bus, which started its hour-long journey in 2008 and played the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, set a high bar for in-transit shows on public transport (in their case a trip specifically designated for paying festival customers).  

(Note: Cable Car Duets, which pairs a dancer and musician on each trip, is a weekend event which has elected not to have just one part reviewed as opposed to the whole suite.) 


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