Wellington is buzzing with theatre. From amateur to professional, it has the lot. Here is an introduction to some must-see venues and funky festivals happening near you.
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1 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria
BATS have four flexible spaces where edgy, innovative shows are performed as well as hilarious improvisation nights. BATS provides eager youths with the opportunity to take a leap into the crazy life of professional theatre. They offer guidance in the creation of stage-worthy shows.
1 Taranaki St., Te Aro
A little more up-market, but always a crowd-pleaser, Circa is the fancy aunty of theatre venues. If you desire a more traditional theatre experience, with a glass of wine and some nibbles, Circa is the way to go.
St James Theatre
77-87 Courtenay Place
One to visit for a true spectacle, but slightly out of our struggling student price-range. It’s a classic theatre for classic performances.
There are a number of smaller locations such as Toi Whakaari, Whitireia, Hannah Playhouse, and Gryphon Theatre, which host many shows throughout the year!
Festivals to look out for
The New Zealand Festival 2016
This glorious, biennial arts extravaganza has arrived once again and will present a mix of local and international events. Running between the 26th of February to the 20th of March, and with the theme—Kick Up the Arts!—the festival will not disappoint.
If you feel as if your derrière needs this type of theatrical nudge, then here are a few shows we strongly recommend:
The Devil’s Half Acre—Produced by Trick of the Light Theatre and set in the slums of gold-rush era Dunedin, the show tantalises audiences with a fusion of magic, puppetry, and live-music. It portrays a vast array of city-dwelling personas, and perhaps even, the devil himself.
The Woman Who Forgot—Immersive theatre is redefined in this multi-dimensional piece. It contains a combination of smartphone apps, texts, Skype calls and live performers. Follow the journey of amnesiac Elizabeth Snow, whilst you help piece together fragments of her forgotten life.
Dead Dog in a Suitcase (And Other Love Songs): A New Beggar’s Opera—Rated by the Guardian as one of the top ten theatre shows of 2014, this strange and witty musical is sure to please with its range of genres from dubstep to heavy metal.
New Zealand Fringe Festival 2016
The New Zealand Fringe Festival is an agglomeration of imaginative and experimental performances that spread through Wellington’s theatres, streets, bars, galleries, and gardens like a (tasteful) virus. The festival includes family-friendly events like chalk drawing on the waterfront, to more risky works riddled with nudity, vulgarity, and spectacle. There are also forward-thinking pieces which explore themes like artificial intelligence, feminist liberation, New Zealand identity, and even challenge the notion of performance itself. From all angles Fringe provides the goods.
Here are a few of the shows that I eagerly await:
1) Enter the New World—Binge Culture Collective
2) Castles—House of Sand
3) Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong—Barbarian Productions
4) Hart—She Said Theatre (AUS)
5) The Offensive Nipple Show—Jess Holly Bates and Sarah Tuck