The Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts has released details of four exciting shows from the 2024 programme which are on sale now. I tracked down Creative Director Marnie Karmelita - who is in the midst of moving herself, her life and her very large dog to Tasmania - and asked her for some thoughts about the three events in her programme.
Fergus Aitken has been a performer for over 40 years, working across stand-up, mime, corporate entertainment, children's theatre and as a teacher of physical theatre. One of his most beloved characters, Mr Fungus, famous for being New Zealand's loudest mime, is back this school holidays with a new show, Mr Fungus Dreams.
I stopped by Circa and caught up with Fergus during the last few weeks of putting the show together to find out just what Mr Fungus Dreams is all about, how Fergus and his team have put the show together and the joys (and perils) of performing for children.
Sue Elliott is one of the masterminds behind the Public Art Heritage website that launched recently. With close to 400 publicly accessible artworks across Aotearoa listed, it has been a massive research project for Sue and her co-director Dr Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. The ongoing project has been designed to ensure future generations of New Zealanders have awareness of and access to these cultural treasures, and an understanding of what has already been lost.
I met Sue for a coffee to talk about the site, its purpose and the huge amount of documentation and research yet to be completed.
You can explore the site for yourself here.
Ben Crowder is the co-director of Nightsong Theatre Company and co-director (with Carl Bland) of I Want To Be Happy which opens at Circa Theatre on 6 September. Starring Jennifer Ludlam and Joel Tobeck, I Want To Be Happy is the blackly funny story of a guinea pig called Binka and the lab assistant, Paul, who looks after her. Melding Nightsong's signature visual aesthetics with the preposterous premises of everyday life, this is a thought provoking exploration of both the human and guinea pig experience.
Ben took some time out of his exceptionally busy schedule to tell me all about his theatrical life.
Seminal Australian hip hop trio Hilltop Hoods are touring New Zealand for the first time in four years with sold-out gigs in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. The last time they were here they supported Eminem and played to audiences of over 46,000. This time around they'll be performing songs from their upcoming album, including their latest single, Laced Up. Joined by Tāmaki Makaurau rapper Freddy Reynold, this is a show not to be missed.
I had a chance to catch up with the guys before they hit our shores and had a chat with them about their 30-year career in music, and what they're most looking forward to in Aotearoa.
Justin is a playwright, director and founding partner of Indian Ink. With Jacob Rajan, their productions have won numerous awards including two Edinburgh Fringe Firsts and three Production of the Year Awards in New Zealand and they’ve become one of our most successful theatre companies. In his work outside Indian Ink, Justin has written seven professionally produced plays. He is a graduate of the John Bolton Theatre School. In 2008 he received a Kaupapa Oranga Award for his services to theatre.
Justin's new play, Dirty Work, will be performed at Soundings Theatre (Te Papa) 2-11 August. You can book tickets here.
About Dirty Work:
The computers are down and the big boss in India wants the impossible. A hapless middle manager, his unhelpful assistant and their chorus of office workers are making a mess of things. Which isn’t good news for the cleaner. Workplace hierarchies are shattered, class and culture clash and from the chaos emerges a different way to value one another.
Sharon Greally is a sound therapist whose business, Good Vibrations, helps stressed or unwell people re-tune their bodies and minds. Using vibration and frequencies, her treatments create a sense of harmony and balance in the body and mind. I met Sharon for coffee to talk about her journey to discovering sound therapy and what benefits this treatment can have.
Jerome Chandrahasen performed his first comedy gig in 2003. In 2004 he won the National Raw Comedy Quest. He has performed in the New Zealand Comedy Festival and in the Edinburgh Fringe as well as acting in every season of Wellington Paranormal. Since 2010 he has led the Humorous Arts Trust (AKA Wellington Comedy) which runs comedy gigs around the country, but with a focus on the capital, and are the organisation behind the Raw Comedy Quest.
I caught up with Jerome mid-way through the heats of this year's Raw Comedy Quest and asked a few questions about the business of being funny.
The Wellington RAW Comedy Quest heats run until 28 July in Te Auaha’s Tapere Iti theatre. Semi-finals will be held 3 and 10 August with the final on 17 August at San Fran. You can purchase tickets here.
The First Release Headliners for the 2023 Wellington Jazz Festival (25-29 October) have just been announced and are on sale now. I asked Creative Director Marnie Karmelita to share some insights on the exciting line-up.