SCENE BY JAMES: When will Arts in Aotearoa get the Green Light?

November 20, 2021
In the same week Auckland Theatre Company and Basement Theatre confirmed they were closing for the rest of the year, I attended a one night-only performance of Back to Square One? at the Tahi Festival of Solo Performance at Wellington’s BATS Theatre. Back to Square One? is a Covid show, inspired by writer/performer Anders Falstie-Jensen’s conversations with his 95-year-old grandmother […]

WELLINGTON REVIEW: Transmission (BATS Theatre)

April 23, 2021
[Holding Leaders to Account] April 20, 2021: An Air New Zealand cleaner tests positive for Covid-19, despite being fully vaccinated. Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker calls for an elimination strategy to be pursued against poverty-driven health conditions. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends the premiere of Transmission at BATS Theatre. While the 1918 Influenza pandemic shattered families and social life, ultimately infecting […]

SCENE BY JAMES: The Lion King vs the NZ Theatre Industry

March 20, 2021
[Still Working on our Roar] An international production of The Lion King coming to Auckland is a vote of confidence from the world that New Zealand is the ideal place to put on live performance during a global pandemic, but what are the implications for the local theatre sector? As a Musical Theatre obsessed kid in the 90s and early 2000s, […]

TOURING REVIEW: Dakota of the White Flats (Red Leap Theatre)

February 20, 2021
[Gutsy Girls] Ah, how life imitates art. The speed at which the Red Leap Theatre crew bolted out of Auckland on Valentine’s Day to get to Whangārei just before the midnight lockdown – to perform the world premiere of new show Dakota of the White Flats a few days later – must have at least matched the speed with which […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2020 – A Theatrical Year in Review [Pandemic Edition]

December 31, 2020
[Out of the Box and Into the Box: Aotearoa Theatre Enduring a Pandemic, and Dreaming of the Future] Suddenly the opening exchange of Anton Chekhov’s 1895 play The Seagull made sense like never before: “Why do you always wear black?” “I’m in mourning for my life” There on my laptop was Masha (Bronwyn Ensor), rocking the no-longer-care lockdown look. What […]

When the Show Doesn’t Go On

March 19, 2020
When people ask me what I’m into, I struggle to list anything beyond “theatre.” I’m a theatre obsessive. A tragic. I decided long ago to make it a core part of my identity, and I’ve stubbornly stuck to that pact ever since. In those moments when I take a hard look at my relationship with theatre, wondering if it would […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2019 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 30, 2019
[What could we do with sustainable practice?] The challenges of making a living out of the performing and screen arts are well known to the industry, but there is something about seeing the facts in black and white that throws the problem into stark relief. I’m talking about research commissioned by Creative New Zealand and NZ on Air released in […]

Student Drama: Do the Rules Apply?

November 19, 2019
In this guest post, Murray Edmond reports on three recent student productions in Auckland and wonders what rules apply when we think about student work.  Peer Gynt, by Henrik Ibsen, a version by Colin Teevan, University of Auckland 2nd year drama production, directed by Sara Brodie, at The Drama Studio, University of Auckland, 19-22 Sept. 2019. Animal, by Arlo Green, an […]

WELLINGTON REVIEW: ransom. (BATS STAB 2019)

November 2, 2019
Values Held Hostage Was it the moral righteousness? The insistence their way was the right and only way? The absurdity of the camembert argument: that they knew how to pronounce the French properly because they were educated? Over the past week an artefact of New Zealand coloniality went viral: audio from Marcus Lush’s talkback show of two callers proudly defending […]
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