Why Theatre? Why Now?

The Polish Theatre Director Grotowski reckoned that all you need to create theatre is one spectator, and one performer. That’s theatre. Simple.

Theatre is a survivor. Overcoming radical cultural change, political censorship, mangled Shakespeare productions and the rise and rise of film media, something about the art sees it arriving – still fighting – in Auckland, NZ in 2011.  

And fight it does. Theatre has to continually reinvent itself and demand its relevance. Ancient Athens stopped for days to attend the theatre. The only ‘theatre’ that can stop New Zealand is the Rugby World Cup. It used to be your duty to attend the theatre. Now it’s a luxury. It is just one option in an ever expanding range of choices in how we can spend our precious time and money. Financially successful shows depend on subsidies to top up the box office; truly commercial theatre is a rarity.

So why theatre? Why Now? What can theatre do that other things can’t?

I am starting this blog – Theatre Scenes – to find out.

Auckland theatre is in exciting times. Grounded by the dependable Auckland Theatre Company, a host of independent theatre companies have sprung up offering risky and original theatre. The year is kicking off with a bang with both the Auckland Festival and the Auckland Fringe Festival. This is the time to see live theatre in Auckland.

This blog will offer alternative, independent reviews and commentary of Auckland’s theatre scenes  – be it professional, independent, traditional, or completely unconventional, as well as in-depth interviews with theatre practitioners. I want to know how different artists work and why they choose theatre.  

Theatre cannot exist without an audience. Neither can this blog. Please join me on this journey.

If you have a production you would like to be reviewed, or would like to suggest something to be featured on Theatre Scenes, please email james@theatrescenes.co.nz

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