Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

29/01/2021 - 31/01/2021

Production Details

A Wellington showcase of ‘fierce’ exported Kiwi talent flown home during lockdown  

Rising from the ashes of loss and uncertainty, Unity in Adversity (Te Auaha, 29-30 January 2021) is a fiercely determined showcase of internationally recognised New Zealand talent celebrating solidarity, resilience, and community.

Back at home to wait out the easing of overseas COVID restrictions, a group of stranded dancers, choreographers and vocalists have banded together to meet their new reality head-on, creating a show that honours their losses, celebrates their determination, and strengthens their passion for creative expression.

When the handbrake of global pandemic brought most overseas performance industries to a sudden halt, New Zealand performers working overseas had to pivot quickly. Eddie Brunton, company spokesperson for Unity in Adversity, has no regrets about getting back to Aotearoa, but acknowledges that it’s been complicated. “Deciding to come home was simple, but it wasn’t easy,” says Brunton. “And that’s the way a lot of our cast feels. There’s this sense that we’d been living the dream, working overseas and getting paid to do what we love every day and that’s not an easy thing to just drop, especially when you have no idea how or when you might get it back.”

Not that any of these performers are complaining about where they’ve landed. But they’re passionate professional artists, and they’re not taking things lying down. “Being able to talk to each other about the challenges the industry’s facing and how we’re each dealing with it has made what we want to hold on to very clear. Unity in Adversity has been a really important show for us to make together, because it’s been a way we could lift each other up, come together as a community and feel connected, to each other and to the audiences we’re sharing our work with. The world needs performance and storytellers, especially in uncertain times.”

Tapere Nui, Te Auaha – NZ Institute Of Creativity
65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Friday 29 – Sunday 31 January 2021, 7pm
plus Sat & Sun matinees at 1pm

Variety , Theatre , Musical , Dance ,

All energetically claim the stage with gusto

Review by Greer Robertson 30th Jan 2021

Wellingtonians work well together, enthusiastically carving out a potentially new normal back in their hometown.

Finding solace amongst one another, the fourteen like-minded performers unite to bravely and fervently redirect their lives, having lost their overseas contracts and careers due to the global pandemic. 

With direction and choreography by Eddie Brunton, along with a collection of short pieces by the newly and recently formed company dancers, an eclectic mix of jazz, tap, contemporary, show style, Latin duos, solos and ensemble work intersperses with the occasional well-honed acrobatic skill.

In simple mainly black costumes, they lay themselves bare. The quality of sound recordings is varied however and some pieces are also choreographically stronger and more polished than others. 

But with gusto they all energetically claim the stage to perform and fulfill their common dreams once again. In softer moments, heartfelt spoken and sung words are there to draw us in.

Unfortunately, lowering the tone of any professionalism, the continual, shrill screaming from over-enthusiastic friends and supporters, inappropriate in any intimate theatre, distracted and dulled the audience’s greater connected experience and overall enjoyment.

However, the performers are to be commended for their rigorous drive and commitment, ending with an ardent poignant version of ‘I will survive’.

And I hope they do, as they set about finding their new different. Where there is a will, there’s a way.


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