SCENE BY JAMES: Resonance and the New Zealand Fringe, Wellington 2019

April 1, 2019
[On the Fringe: Shifting and Singing] Content Notification: Discussion of the Christchurch terror attack, sexual violence, and suicide. But also hope, and joy, and singing, and the rejuvenating potential of performance. Can you take the pulse of a city through the shows performed on its Fringe? Can you judge the heart of a Festival by the visitors who have come […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2018 – A Theatrical Year in Review

December 31, 2018
[Representation Matters] Silo Theatre’s production of Mr Burns presented a vision of theatrical futures. In the play by American writer Anne Washburn, survivors of an electricity-ending event band together to form a travelling theatre troupe specialising in the recreation of classic The Simpsons episodes. I begin with Mr Burns here because, while it presents a bleak image for our planet, […]

Six Degrees of Gender Separation: The Problems with Auckland Theatre Company’s 2018-2019 Programme

October 29, 2018
[Where are the Women at the Waterfront?] During the uproar over the Pop-up Globe’s decision to use an all-male cast while invoking #MeToo in their promotion, Auckland Theatre Company did a Facebook post “Celebrating the amazing women of our 2017-2018 season!” ATC name checked their lead actors – “phenomenal matriarchs of the stage” – Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Alison Bruce and Jennifer […]

SCENE BY JAMES: Stars, Sex, Scares and Sisters: Auckland does NZ Theatre Month

September 14, 2018
[What’s Good Auckland?] Already in the first fortnight of the inaugural New Zealand Theatre Month, Auckland has had a glut of good theatre. Consider, that in the professional theatre alone we have had: Two return seasons of shows that debuted last year in Auckland: Indian Ink’s Mrs Krishnan’s Party and Red Leap’s Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn. Two Auckland […]

SCENE BY JAMES: Why New Zealand Theatre Month Matters

August 30, 2018
[September is for Theatre] New Zealand theatre history can be divided into two distinct periods: Before Roger Hall (BRH) and After Roger Hall (ARH). In the year 0 ARH (that’s 1976 in our usual calendar), Roger Hall’s Glide Time – a close to home satire of the Wellington public service – debuted and was a smash hit for Circa Theatre. […]

The Pop-up Globe ‘Abuse of Power’: In their own words [UPDATED – POP-UP GOES 50/50]

July 21, 2018
[Words, Words, Words] Located in the beautiful gardens at Ellerslie Racecourse, Pop-up Globe will throw open its doors on 16 November to present four of Shakespeare’s masterworks tied together with the common thread of the “abuse of power”. As always, there’ll be a twist! Headlining this showstopper season is the most famous play in history, Hamlet, alongside controversial “battle of […]

REVIEW: 1984 (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 13, 2018
[1984, Today] The world is having a 1984 moment. The world has always been having a 1984 moment. When Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan’s stage adaptation premiered in Nottingham in 2013, the backdrop was all about big data and surveillance anxieties. Edward Snowden’s revelations around NSA spying had many turning to George Orwell’s 1984 for literary parallels. Big Brother was […]

SCENE BY JAMES: It’s a Trial – of the Arts Minister!

March 1, 2018
[A Case for Removing Commercial Imperatives for Artists?] Would you accept public money to make an arts project if you had to return any profit that you generated back to the government? Would you want to live on 200-something dollars a week (plus accommodation supplement) if it meant you could make your art without being forced by Work and Income […]
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