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October 5, 2014 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Year in Review: Theatre

All year, Rose and I have brought you news, reviews and interviews about theatre in Wellington. To fill the gaping hole in your brain that will be empty once Salient’s What’s On page is no longer, here are four events to keep you company over the summer months.

The Two Noble Kinsmen

Between 7 and 11 October, Victoria University’s THEA301 class will undertake a production of William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s The Two Noble Kinsmen.

The little-known play, which is loosely based on A Knight’s Tale by Chaucer, is about two cousins, Palamon and Arcite, who fall in love at first sight with the fair lady Emilia. The pair’s friendship is tested when it is decided they must fight to the death for the love of Emilia. Meanwhile, the daughter of a Jailer falls in love with one of the cousins, Palamon, but loses herself in the woods in the fight to allure her man. In the end, one man gets his bride, but is there really a winner?

The Two Noble Kinsmen will be directed by Lori Leigh, who wrote the excellent Revelations which premiered at BATS Theatre earlier in the year. This production of The Two Noble Kinsmen will be part of Shakespeare’s Globe Centre New Zealand’s 2014 Shakespeare Lives, a celebration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth including performances of the entire canon filmed for YouTube.

To book, email
7–11 October, 7 pm at Studio 77.
$8 unwaged, $15 waged.

Summer Shakespeare

Every summer in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Victoria University stages a production of a Shakespeare play. While many of you might have seen the Sons of Anarchy version of Macbeth this year or the Anthony and Cleopatra last year, next year’s Summer Shakespeare will literally be a once-in-a-century event. Timon of Athens has not been produced in New Zealand for 150 years. The last full production of it in New Zealand was at the Princess Theatre in Dunedin in 1865.

Directed by the Toi Whakaari’s head of directing Bret Adams, Timon of Athens ranks as one of the more obscure plays in Shakespeare’s canon. The story tells the tale of a man who lives a life of opulence, hosting lavish parties and mingling with Athens’ elite and privileged. But the moment his cash runs out, his wealthy friends all turn their backs on him. Exchanging the comforts of the city for the harsh realities of the wilderness, Timon is forced to confront some harsh truths about humanity.

The show will open on 13 February 2015. For more information about Summer Shakespeare, visit their website

New Zealand Fringe Festival

Wellington is home to New Zealand’s finest fringe festival. Fringe is a four-week event encompassing comedians, theatre-makers, artists, musicians and dancers coming together to showcase their work. It is a perfect launching pad for young artists of any discipline. There are no limits in the New Zealand Fringe Festival. You’re welcome to create anything.

Wellington truly comes alive during the Fringe as there are events almost every night. It’s cheap for audience members as well. 50 per cent of the shows at the 2014 Fringe Festival were either free or koha. So you have no excuses.

The 2014 festival was the biggest yet, attracting 120 acts not just from around the country from across the world. Last year’s Tiki Tour Award Winner The Bookbinder has been truly inspiring. They are currently at Melbourne Fringe after performing to SOLD-OUT audiences in Sydney Fringe.

Registrations close on 8 October, and for more information, visit their website

BATS Theatre Flies Home

In 2012, BATS Theatre faced an uncertain future. The original owners of their Kent Tce building decided to sell up, and, unable to raise the cash to buy the building, they were faced with closure.

Luckily, thanks to Peter Jackson, the building was salvaged. However, while their original Kent Tce home was undergoing earthquake strengthening, BATS has been located out of site at the former location of The Big Kumara on Dixon St.

In late November, they will finally move back to a brand-new and refurbished theatre space. Thanks to a generous crowdfunding campaign which raised over $6000 more than their $25,000 target, their new building will contain a newly refurbished black box theatre space, a new performance space upstairs, a new bar and foyer, office, green room and dressing-room spaces.

My Accomplice will be christening the newly reopened BATS Theatre on 22 November with their commission STAB show.

BATS Theatre is a Wellington cultural treasure that we came very close to losing a few years ago. I urge you all to support the new venue so it can maintain the resources to foster new and emerging talent.

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