Barbarian Art Hut at diverse public locations, Wellington

15/02/2013 - 03/03/2013

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

Production Details

“Because theatre can be IN TENTS.”  

A free public theatre experience for all ages.

Wig Wam Jam is an interactive street performance which invites children, adults – all comers – as well as more well known ‘guest performers’ to enter into a tent where their improvisations and goof-arounds are filmed. A limited array of costumes and props are available in the tent for use during the improvisations and audience are also invited to bring their own.

The tent will appear at diverse public locations including Newtown, Civic Square, Chaffers Park and Parliament.  Highlights from the tent will be uploaded to a Facebook page and website so that online audiences can follow the tent’s progress around the city.

Thomas LaHood and Jo Randerson lead the project as co-creators and performers with Adrienne Roberts and Emma White (formerly of Cuba Creative) as producers. Barbarian Productions has over ten years experience mounting successful works (Absolutely Positively Walking, Banging Cymbal Clanging Gong, Cracks in the Garden) see www.barbarian.co.nz for more info. 

“This show combines our favourite things about theatre: dressing up and playing around with people in the street.  We can’t wait to see what amazing things people will do!” – Thomas LaHood 

The Barbarian name is associated with fiercely original work and our company has won ‘most original concept at several Fringe awards – most recently in 2006 with our ‘Absolutely Positively Walking’ guided tours.  We are well known for our skill with wigs and outlandish costumes and we look forward to combining these with digital technologies to create a project of great versatility and reach.

Venue: Barbarian Art Hut, more details coming soon (see link below)
Dates: February, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 | March, 1, 2, 3 
Time: 10:00 am
Duration: 60mins
Prices: Free / Koha 

MORE and ONGOING INFORMATION can be found at 

1 hr

Jump aboard the Freedom Train

Review by Nancy Catherine Fulford 17th Feb 2013

There you are strolling through civic square on your lunch break, lamenting never running off to the circus nor being picked up by Hollywood, and presto – you’re stepping out from behind the curtain playing Superman, or Queen Elizabeth, or Babe, with a perfect balance of comedy and pathos.

It takes a little doing. First of all you display curiosity enough to approach the Bavarian Tent set up on the lawn in front of the Art Gallery – creative site of the Wig Wam Jam event. And further, Jo Randerson and her team of encouragers lead you towards costumes and accessories that you might have overlooked at first glance. They also offer prompts to action: ‘What might the Pig do?’ or ‘How about a romance between pig and the superhero?’ 

The action transpires in a small open air tent with a back curtain available for entrances, although the wind is having the last word on that the day I visit.

Some people try on many different outfits, which wis the main activity by and large. There is a good variety of items to work with thanks to the generosity of the Costume Cave who have supplemented the dress-up collection of Bavarian Productions. At times the costumes lead to spontaneous dramas, but for some people it seems to be enough just to look different for a few minutes in weird and wonderful ways.

In a lull, I get kitted up and do a lot of things I just would not have done without the helpful provocations of the directors and the Gorilla mask, which does give license, there’s no doubt about it.  

The event becomes especially dynamic when small groups of people who already know each other participate in a Wig Wam Jam.  There are several such Jams in the hour I watch and some of these are definitely from underrepresented groups in society that have been specifically invited in the Fringe blurb. The energy and playfulness that arises from the combination of personalities, albeit characters, is pretty impressive.

While onlookers definitely find the Jams engaging, this show is for the participants. That’s what makes it so special. Like me, other people appear to find the costumes and encouragement freeing. All up I think the Barbarian Production Company are creative freedom fighters.

The facilitators of the event often capture the participants on camera. This operates to create a focus, as the lens does. The images of those participants who have given written consent will later be available online. There are a few times when I feel, “enough with the camera already. Let’s have some more action from the folks who know all about it.”

I’m sure the balance of watcher, encourager, and recorder will evolve and I intend to revisit Wig Wam Jam again later in its run at various locations to see where things are moving to. And because it is that much fun, I might even donate a few dress-up that rarely get an outing these days. I’d say this is a sign they have fostered a community attitude in me, and that’s one carriage of the Freedom Train. Good on you Barbarian Productions.

Highlights on this day include a dance dual between Mr. Chicken-head in house dress and a rainbow-coloured Ninja (Mr. Chicken-head runs up and down the library ramp first as a warm up) and the transformation of a non-believer into the Queen of Hearts. 

Wag Wam Jam sends us all an invitation in their promotional material, to “be the Fringe you want to see.” I highly recommend you get along and do so.


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