Orange is the New Red: New Zealand Theatre and Performance under Orange

May 4, 2022
Yesterday I launched a new timeline feature tracking the impact of Covid-19 on Aotearoa New Zealand theatre and performance from 2020 till today. One major milestone was on 13th April 2022, when the country moved into the Orange traffic light setting. For the first time in months (and many months in Auckland’s case), live performance can go ahead without any […]

Launching Aotearoa New Zealand Theatre and Covid-19: A Timeline

May 3, 2022
Today Theatre Scenes is launching a timeline tracking the impact of Covid-19 on Aotearoa New Zealand’s theatre and performance ecology from the beginning of 2020 till today. This is the first public feature of a two-year research project ‘Growing Aotearoa’s Theatre Ecology: Sustainability, Resilience and Opportunities in the Pandemic Environment’. This theatre ecology project seeks to understand the impact of […]

Omicron comes for the Arts: Holding on under Red

January 26, 2022
Aotearoa’s move into the Red light setting immediately and primarily impacts two intertwined sectors: hospitality and live events. While every New Zealander will be affected by a major outbreak of Omicron in the community and have to make changes under the Red restrictions, most industries (for now) are able to continue. But for hospitality and events, the public health gathering […]

SCENE BY JAMES: 2021 – A Theatrical Year in Review [PANDEMIC EDITION YEAR TWO]

December 31, 2021
[Weathering the Storm] On the 20th April, 2021, the Prime Minister, the Deputy PM and Aotearoa’s leading epidemiologist converged at BATS Theatre to watch an uncanny mirror image of our country’s 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. The play was Transmission, created by Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt, which used verbatim extracts of interviews primarily with Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and Professor Michael […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]
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