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May 4, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Magdalena Aotearoa Gathering 2009 — Recharge

My name is Challen Wilson. I am an emerging female artist, who is Maori. Breathing for me is: creating, writing, being a mother, earning a living to pay the rent and honing my craft to an excellent level.

Easter break came alive for female theatre practitioners from all around New Zealand at the Magdalena Aotearoa Gathering 2009—Recharge. It was great to see women in theatre from all walks, such as Madeline McNamara, Jade Valour and Rose Beauchamp alongside emerging artists such as myself, Jaki Trolove and others. Helen Varley Jaimeson tokens the Gathering as being “…a unique environment because of the generosity of everyone who participates; it’s not so much about what you get out of it, as what you put into it.”

Seven practitioners were selected to present their works in progress. Helen says, “Opportunities to share work-in-progress are rare and you often have to organise it yourself; the Gath-ering supports the peer feedback process by providing the space, the audience and a process.”

Among works in progress showings with feedback sessions and panel discussions, this eclectic group of women offered their skills and talents in the disciplines they know well—vocal and physical training, Randai demonstrations, Yoga Nidra and more.

Magdalena Aotearoa quite simply supports women in theatre, so for me, Challen Wilson in conjunction with friend and colleague Cathy Rexford (Inupiaq, Alaska), it was a great opportunity to open our work to a fresh audience. Ironically, the work for us as theatre practitioners had spawned from a place we defined as ‘about men, for men’. It was well received with such comments as “universally accessible” and “representations felt of the vast landscape”. But the best comment of all came from an Anglican minister on sabbatical, likening the work to Proverbs, chapter 8 and Lady Sophia. It provoked me to go search out this lady as soon as I had a chance. For me the Gathering was an interesting and rewarding experience.

9–14 April 2009, Wellington

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