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February 20, 2006 | by  | in Theatre |
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Why You Should Definitely Go To The Theatre

Come on, what are you going to be doing this time next week. My bet is you will be sitting there in your first lecture of the year reading this very reputable magazine (to be fair, if you are at law school you would have read The Listener and the Dom Post first, but you guys have to get up early anyway) and that’s only if you are sober enough to read. Your lecturer is babbling on about quantum mechanics, cost benefit analysis or the role of the Rainbow Pony-Fish in the ocean ecosystem of west-eastern Luxemburg and you are showing your utter contempt of their valuable knowledge, which they are generously attempting to bestow, by paying as little attention to them as humanly possible.

Lets face it, you did not come to university to learn. You didn’t even come here to drink. You came to university in order to put off the inevitable: a job, a husband/wife/civil union partner, kids, a dog, a station wagon and a white picket fence in Karori for as long as possible (or until the bank stops your Visa, Amex, MasterCard and overdraft). Unless of course you are an adult student, in which case you are probably not reading Salient but attempting to shush that rowdy first year sitting behind you chatting to their pregnant thirteen year old girlfriend in Taihape on their cellular phone. The nerve of some people!

And while you are here, at our venerable tertiary education establishment, I bet you have one goal. While you are at university you want to have fun; to drink, party and shag as much as possible with as many people as possible. Study? Stop kidding yourself, that’s the last thing on your mind.

And that’s where theatre can help you. Going to the theatre is most definitely fun; it is outstandingly super fun my young impressionable friends. What’s more going to the theatre is a gateway into having more fun than you could possibly imagine. Firstly it provides a cover, an allure of intellectualism which will protect you from doing work. Going to the theatre makes you look intelligent and as I have found out from a failed three years at law school if people think you are intelligent they assume you work hard. This will invariably lighten the stress burden suffered from your parents, husbands/wives/civil union partners and both born and unborn children. One warning though: it will not soften the blow of four Q’s come May (only alcohol can do that).

And that’s another great thing about going to the theatre; it provides a socially acceptable outlet for the consumption of alcohol. Better yet, if you go to the opening night of a show you get to drink for free. Let’s do the math: a student ticket costs around $20. If you drink at least four drinks the night has paid for itself and everything else is a bonus. Boo Ya!

And do you know what drinking leads to? Parties!

And do you know what parties lead to? Sex!

But just make sure that you are being safe so the sex doesn’t lead to any unwanted repercussions which could land you in Karori sooner than expected…

There is also another ulterior motive for going to the theatre. Going to the theatre will make your life cheaper, at least in theory. By going to plays you are giving jobs to countless actors, writers, directors and stage crew and that means there is much less unemployment in Wellington. As a result of this, (a) you will find it easier to find a meaningless, low paid job with crap hours and, (b) the government will have more resources to devote to subsidizing your education. It’s a win/win situation.

And if this hasn’t convinced you, think of me: if you don’t go to the theatre I will no longer have a job to do here at Salient and as a result will have no real reason for being at university thus pushing me into the mindless drudgery of a job, a husband/wife/civil union partner, kids, a dog, a station wagon and a white picket fence in Karori. Please save me from a fate worse than death: go to the theatre! Start tonight!

Where to go to the Theatre…

Around Town:
Theatre permeates Wellington; you simply can’t get away from it. In light of this fact, the first place you should look whenever you are in need of a truly unique theatrical experience is on the footpath. There is always a busker or two around to lighten up a lazy Sunday afternoon (make sure to throw them a couple of bucks) and if you are really strapped for cash just wander down Cuba Mall and look at the crazies – you might even be lucky enough to see some bums getting beaten up by the police.

BATS:
BATS is the heart of Wellington theatre. It is a dark but cosy little theatre which is situated underneath the great hall of the Wellington Chapter of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffalos (think Stone- Masons but way cooler) at the bottom of Kent Terrace. BATS plays host to some of the more edgy independent theatre in Wellington with both smaller scale professional acts and amateur theatre featuring prominently. Performances and times change quickly at BATS (especially during the Fringe and Comedy festivals) and most shows run for one or two weeks at the most. BATS offers great student deals on all its shows. Give them a ring and tell them you are coming on 8024175.

Circa:
Circa is actually two theatres in one. On your left as you enter is the main auditorium, the aptly named Circa Theatre. This houses the main professional shows that Circa stages as well as the occasional international act. If you continue in past the bar you will find Circa Studio; a smaller, more intimate venue. Circa is located at the bottom of Taranaki Street on the waterfront (just across the square from Te Papa). Circa offers two options for students: if you want to book in advance they offer $28 student tickets (8017992); otherwise they offer student standby tickets at $18, just turn up half an hour before the show!

Downstage:
Downstage is New Zealand’s oldest professional theatre (at a ripe old age of 42) and, needless to say, most of Aotearoa’s most famous and reputable actors have tread the boards here. It is at the very bottom of Courtney Place and the entrance is just around the corner on Kent Terrace. Downstage offers students tickets for $15 (just a tad more than a movie ticket so why not?) and you can book over the phone (credit card only – 8016946) or in person.

(the bar formally known as) Indigo:
Indigo (actually, it is still Indigo but will eventually be turning into the San Francisco Bath House) (Again my dismay must be registered with another pointless editor’s comment- Ed) is located halfway up Cuba Street and for the most part plays host to live musical acts; but on Thursdays at 8pm it transforms into Wellington’s only comedy club and features the best funnies that Wellington, New Zealand and the World has to offer.

The Westpac St James Theatre:
The St James is what you would call a ‘grand old theatre’; on Courtney Place across the road from Reading Cinema, it has been there since 1912 and among other things houses the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Because of its size, it usually hosts bigger, more popular acts such as musicals, the occasional stand up comic and famous local and international touring shows. It will also be the centre of the universe during the New Zealand International Arts Festival (see page x). Tickets to these shows are usually available from Ticketek.

On Campus!

Studio 77:
Studio 77 is the home of the Victoria University Theatre department and regularly shows theatre that is directed, produced, performed, and occasionally written by Victoria’s finest. It is located at 77 Farlie Terrace; what better way to show your support to up-and-coming thespians and dramaturges than to watch them perform? Prices are cheap and the quality of the shows is almost always brilliant; make sure you catch the “Directors Season” in the second semester and watch the cream of the crop (the students of THEA 304 – Directing) perform shows of three different, edgy, one act, student directed plays.

The Memorial Theatre:
The Memorial Theatre is housed on the first floor of the Student Union building and hosts everything from debates to stand up comedy to the annual graduation week review. Keep and eye out, tickets are usually available from VUWSA.

Te Whaea:
This is the home to both Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and The New Zealand School of Dance; it is located at 11 Hutchison Road in Newtown and can be contacted on 389 0996. I have included it in this section as it is another great place to see high quality, student driven work an to support Wellingtons burgeoning artist’s.

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About the Author ()

HAILING FROM the upper-middle- class hell of Havelock North, Jules is in the final semester of a bachelor’s degree in Trenchermanship (majoring in Gourmandry), is a self-professed Anarcho-Dandy and resides in the Aro Valley. He likes to spend his days pursuing whimsical follies of every sort and his evenings gallivanting through the bars and restaurants of Wellington in search of the perfect wine list. He has unfailingly dedicated his life to the excessive consumption of food and drink (despite having no discernable way of paying for it), and expects to die of simultaneous heart and kidney failure at thirty-nine. His only hope is that very soon people will start to pay him for his opinions (of which he is endowed with aplenty). Jules has a penchant for vintage Oloroso.

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