New Zealand at Edinburgh Season Announced
A powerful and provocative show reflecting on rape culture, consent and sexual empowerment, a contemporary incarnation of the Maori 'Rat Pack' , a community street-performance where strangers find themselves working together to save a pod of stranded whales, a dynamic line-up of Kiwi writers at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and a new work by one of the most celebrated and award-winning contemporary artists in NZ today specially commissioned by the Edinburgh Arts Festival, are all part of the diverse programme presented this year as part of NZ at Edinburgh 2017 - highlighting the exciting arts scene emerging from this Pacific nation.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will see nine shows performed by a cross-section of some of New Zealand's brightest talents. There will be three productions from performance alchemists Binge Culture, a group of artists working to renew theatre and performance for the digital age. Their spectators are also their collaborators with real stakes in each performance
"Wellington's Binge Culture ... one of the country's most exciting, direct and original theatre companies." NZ Herald
Break Up (We Need to Talk) at Summerhall sees five performers over five hours create one desperate conversation as they lovingly create and destroy an entire relationship from scratch. Audiences can come and go as they please to witness the desperation, negotiation, devastation and emotional blackmail. Break Up (We Need to Talk) won the Auckland Spirit of the Fringe Award in 2015.
The second offering from Binge Culture is Whales, a community-building, street-performance spectacular. Each year, according to the conservation group Project Jonah, around 300 dolphins and whales are stranded on New Zealand's shores. In George Square Gardens, a pod of whales emerge from the city, gliding and diving through streets. They have migrated all the way from Aotearoa New Zealand - but they've lost their way to the ocean, and are desperate to reach open waters. Under the guidance of the Response Team, armed with buckets of water and soothing towels, it's up to the audience to save them. Whales was described as "A remarkable happening" by Theatreview. Best in Fringe (NZ Fringe 2013) and notched up a second Auckland Spirit of Fringe Award 2015 for the company.
What if you could step through a 'digital looking glass' and encounter your city as if for the first time? Binge Culture's Ancient Shrines and Half Truths is an immersive outdoor audio-based theatrical experience which invites the audience to explore a seemingly innocuous urban area as a privileged outsider.
Based on a simple user-triggered app interface, the audience is put in charge of their own journey. Participants take the role of travellers exploring a park and the surrounding area, seeking the 'authentic' story behind this place. Each carries an audio device through which they hear from their guide. This is the voice of the cultural insider, who helps the audience member navigate the protocols of this place, explains what is cool and authentic and what is not, and interprets obscure 'places of interest'. Real world elements, actors, local and objects installed around town contribute the blurred line between fiction and reality. The journey starts at Summerhall and ends at a surprise location.
At Assembly George Square, Jane Doe goes to a student party. She gets drunk. She blacks out. She is raped. This is a theatre show reflecting on rape culture in our communities. One performer leads a public reading of an American rape trial transcript, where audience members act as witnesses and lawyers, a feeding in live responses via their phones. Interwoven with frank and funny documentary footage with young people from the US, UK and Aotearoa New Zealand Jane Doe is a revelatory and carefully crafted discussion on consent, feminism and sexual empowerment which also discusses sexual violence in depth.
Jane Doe is a three-year project that has evolved through 65 interviews with young people and participation from multiple college campuses in the United States. Creator Eleanor Bishop is a New Zealand writer and director who makes socially engaged performances encouraging active participation by audiences. Her pieces often blend classic plays, text from media coverage, documentary interviews, live camera and sustained personal engagement. This performance is led by Karin McCracken, a theatre-maker who until recently has been a specialist educator for the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, a non-governmental organisation that provides primary prevention sexual violence training. She is also a trained lawyer.
Power Ballad at Summerhall is the latest work from Julia Croft, creator and performer of If There's Not Dancing at the Revolution, I'm Not Coming which was well-received at Edinburgh Fringe 2016. ("Julia Croft's exposé of the Hollywood male gaze is bonkers and inspired' - The List.). Part performance lecture, part karaoke party, Power Ballad deconstructs gendered linguistic histories and rips apart contemporary language to find a new articulation of pleasure, anger and femaleness. Created in conjunction with Nisha Madhan.
Julia is a theatre and contemporary performance maker based in Auckland, New Zealand. Her work is pArt Theatre, part dance, part performance art. While mostly working in theatre spaces Julia has also worked in gallery spaces, in video art and in public spaces.
La Vie Dans Une Marionette performed by White Face Crew at the Gilded Balloon is a whimsical story of a Pianist and his Puppet. Drawing from the best elements of physical theatre, clowning, and contemporary and hip-hop dance styles, the White Face Crew chuck in improvisation, spontaneity and good old fashioned fun to create shows for all ages.
Modern Maori Quartet: That's Us! at Assembly George Square are a multi-talented Maori foursome who love crooning their spin on modern and classic numbers in the style of the Maori 'Rat Pack' - the showbands who became the musical phenomenon of the 60s and 70s in New Zealand. Merging the style of Sinatra with Maori strum, bands with names like the Maori Volcanics and the Maori Hi Five, created their own unique genre.
The Quartet create a party like no other, with a mix of off-beat comedy, stage routines and displays of distinctively Maori song and dance. In hearty harmony, they share Maori traditions and tell Kiwi stories through waiata (song) and tongue-in-cheek Maori humour.
"... the new face of Maori showbands, handsome, hilarious and harmonious .. entertainment at its best" - Theatreview
From Trick of the Light Theatre, the makers of the sell-out Edinburgh 2016 hit The Bookbinder comes The Road That Wasn't There at Assembly Roxy, a dark fable combining puppetry, shadow play, and live music with a score by award-winning composer Tane Upjohn-Beatson.
Winner of Best Children's Event Award at both Fringe World, Perth, and Adelaide Fringe 2016, and winner of Outstanding New NZ Play - Chapman Tripp Awards, 2013. this cross-over work for adults and older children in the vein of Neil Gaiman and Pan's Labyrinth, is a story about a girl who followed a map off the edge of the world. In New Zealand there are some 56,000 kilometres of paper roads - streets and towns that exist only on surveyors' maps. Or do they?
"Charming, funny and haunting in equal measure... a storytelling triumph." - Word on the Street, Wellington.
The winner of the 2014 Skinny Fringe Genius Award, Juan Vesuvius, returns to Assembly George Square with a new show: I Am Your Deejay. The calypso comedy legend, created by New Zealand actor Barnie Duncan, brings his turntables back to Edinburgh to deliver the greatest and strangest DJ set you've ever experienced. Exploring the heady days of early 90's House music, find out why he needs so much towelling and what really happened between him and David Guetta. Get in the club with Juan.
Bizarre, sexy and very, very funny... ***** - Broadway Baby
New Zealand at Edinburgh International Book Festival
A strong contingent of Kiwi talent will join this prestigious literary event. New Zealand's presence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival is delivered in partnership with WORD Christchurch and its programme director and writer Rachael King. Full details will be announced on 13 June.
"We are delighted to be working with WORD Christchurch this year and we are very much looking forward to welcoming some of New Zealand's wonderful writers to the Book Festival in August," says Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
New Zealand at the Edinburgh Art Festival
Shannon Te Ao (Ng?ti T?wharetoa)
Commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and Te Tuhi Contemporary Art Trust, Aotearoa, New Zealand with support from British Council Scotland, Shannon Te Ao's With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods, 2017 is a multimedia installation which explores the physical and emotional depths of love, grief, sickness and the complications of healing. Te Ao's selection comes after receiving New Zealand's most prestigious art award, the Walters Prize.
Te Ao's artwork for the Festival draws on a number of historic references including a 1840s waiata (Ma?ori song) immortalising the physiological and psychological repercussions of sickness and grief, and an intimate dance scene from a 1970s film by African-American director Charles Burnett, reimagined between two women. By drawing together various threads, Te Ao creates an entangled perspective of the human condition - both real and fictional - to explore humankind's hopes, its failings, and its potential for transformation.
Edinburgh Art Festival Director Sorcha Carey says "We are delighted to be partnering with Te Tuhi, Auckland and Creative New Zealand to commission a major new film installation by Shannon Te Ao. The project marks the culmination of an ongoing partnership with Creative New Zealand, first initiated in 2014, to share the work of contemporary artists from across New Zealand with festival audiences. Shannon Te Ao's new work for our 2017 commissions programme promises be a highlight of this year's programme."
The NZ at Edinburgh 2017 season is supported by Creative New Zealand, the country's arts development agency, encouraging, promoting and supporting the arts in Aotearoa though funding, capability building, an international programme and advocacy.